September 21-23, 2018
Fort Ticonderoga hosts the Fifteenth Annual Seminar on the American Revolution September 21-23, 2018, in the Mars Education Center. This weekend seminar focuses on the military, political, and social history of the American War for Independence.
Over 120 participants—people with a deep interest in the American Revolution—join us each year for this weekend seminar. Leading authorities and new scholars on the period share their latest research in a series of presentations. The Seminar provides participants with an opportunity to listen to and interact with the presenters in an informal, relaxed atmosphere. Participation is limited and is by pre-registration only.
“Why does the Almighty strike down the tree with lightning?”: The Sullivan Campaign of 1779, William Tecumseh Sherman, and the Creation of Memory—During the summer of 1879, 50,000 people gathered near Elmira, New York, to celebrate the centennial of General John Sullivan's campaign against western Haudenosaunee communities. William Tecumseh Sherman, Commanding General of the United States Army, served as the keynote speaker. How did Sherman choose to remember the Sullivan Campaign and how did he connect this conflict with his own experiences during the American Civil War? An analysis of Sherman's speech reveals that the echoes of war reverberate long after the combatants are laid to rest. Dean Bruno is a Lecturer in the History Department at North Carolina State University.
The White Sands of Freedom: The Patriot-Spanish Alliance to Capture British West Florida—In 1781, the Continental Army laid siege to a British fort with the aid of a European ally—not in Yorktown, but in Pensacola. This lecture will analyze the Patriot-Spanish effort to expel the British from the Gulf Coast from 1779-1781. Brady J. Crytzer teaches history at Robert Morris University and is the author of six books studying imperialism in North America.
“Live in love with, and in the exercise of kindness to my fellow-soldiers”: The Continental Army as America’s First Band of Brothers—Recovering the lived experience of men who fought in the Revolutionary War, this presentation will explore the sense of camaraderie and friendships forged among members of the Continental Army. What was the significance of these relationships and how does studying them help us better understand the nature and legacy of the American Revolution? Rachel Engl is a Ph.D. candidate in history at Lehigh University and has served as a fellow at the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington at Mount Vernon and the McNeil Center for Early American Studies in Philadelphia.
The Court-Martial of Paul Revere—This presentation chronicles Paul Revere’s only active military service during the American Revolution—a major but disastrous period in his life. Who was Paul Revere and what does his conduct before, during, and after the Penobscot Expedition teach us about the character and human foibles of this iconic figure? Michael Greenburg is a practicing attorney and nonfiction writer living in the Boston area.
A Coat Not My Own: Uniform Substitution in the Revolutionary Era—The popular visualization of the 18th-century battlefield is filled with colorfully dressed soldiers in matching uniforms. During wartime, or due to the exigencies of imperial service, many early modern soldiers found themselves wearing uniforms that were not made for them. Fort Ticonderoga’s Curator Matthew Keagle will explore the surprisingly common practice of adopting the uniform of different units and even different armies by soldiers in the Revolution and how it challenges our understanding of authority and identity.
General Charles Lee in New York: Confronting Tories as well as the Boundaries of Military Authority—When does military action to suppress civilian dissent cross the line into repressing civil liberties? When does military necessity justify this action? These always challenging questions are made even more difficult in revolutionary situations when the military authority does not represent a fully-formed legitimate state. In the early months of 1776, Charles Lee was charged with preparing the Patriot defenses of New York City. He interpreted this mandate to include taking action against local civilian Loyalists. The Continental Congress’s response to Lee’s controversial actions helped to set the precedent for the supremacy of civilian political control over military authority that would become the norm for the American state as it emerged. Dr. Timothy Leech received his PhD in history from Ohio State University in 2017. His dissertation considers the state-formation implications surrounding the establishment of the Continental Army, from 1774 through 1776.
Cook's and Latimer's Connecticut Militia Battalions and the Battles of Saratoga—By studying these often ignored militia units - the only two which fought in both battles of Saratoga - we reveal one of the best documented examples of how militia battalions on Continental Army service were typically ordered up, formed, equipped, and utilized in battle. Eric Schnitzer is Park Ranger/Historian at Saratoga National Historical Park.
John Trumbull’s Revolution in the North Country—Trumbull, a young officer assigned to the Northern Department, became involved in the building of defenses at Mount Independence and across Lake Champlain in 1776. Less than a decade later he began a series of epic paintings devoted to the Revolution, one of which, The Death of Montgomery at Quebec, grew out of his experiences that year. This lecture focuses on his mix of fact and fiction in his pursuit of images that have come to define the Revolution in the American imagination. Dr. Paul Staiti, Alumnae Foundation Professor of Fine Arts at Mount Holyoke College, authored Of Arms and Arts: The American Revolution through Painters’ Eyes.
“This Horrid Trade of Blood”: The Revolutionary Transformation of Anthony Wayne—Far from being the “mad” general of legend, Anthony Wayne was a thoughtful commander who transformed from a young colonel dreaming of fighting alongside Julius Cesar in the opening days of the Revolution to a broken general who, in his last campaign in the forgotten swamps of Georgia, came to know war as a “horrid trade of blood.” Wayne’s transformation during eight years of fighting provides a clear picture of the toll the war took on those who participated in it. Mary Stockwell is a writer and historian whose latest book, Unlikely General: “Mad” Anthony Wayne and the Battle for America, comes out in 2018.
“Convinced of the Necessity of preventing…Anarchy and Confusion”: Benedict Arnold’s Declaration of Principles and Its Place in Early Revolutionary History—On June 15, 1775, Benedict Arnold and 30 other men affixed their names to a declaration Arnold composed at Crown Point at a time when the trajectory of the evolving Revolution was unknown. Does this little-known document deserve a prominent place in the history of the early days of the American Revolution and who were the men who signed this document? Richard M. Strum is Director of Academic Programs at Fort Ticonderoga.
Thanks to generous support from Seminar patrons, Fort Ticonderoga offers scholarships for K12 school teacher who are first-time attendees at the Seminar on the American Revolution. Since 2001, Fort Ticonderoga has provided 53 teacher scholarships for the Seminar on the American Revolution.
Teachers wishing to apply for a scholarship should download a PDF of the application below and send it to Rich Strum, Director of Education. The applicatiion deadline is August 15, 2018.
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Other Conferences and Symposia at Fort Ticonderoga
Fort Ticonderoga offers a series of conferences and symposia throughout the year.