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Virginia D. Anderson
University of Colorado, Boulder (Boulder, CO 80302-7046)
The Martyr and the Traitor: Choosing Sides in the American Revolution

My book explores the question: How did colonists choose which side to support in the American Revolution? Focusing on a largely unexplored link between subjective experience and contingent political events, I argue that the kinds of social networks to which individuals belonged not only shaped personal identity but also influenced political sympathies. The book focuses on two Connecticut men--one Whig (Nathan Hale) and one Tory (Moses Dunbar)--to demonstrate that the argument applies equally well to both sides in the conflict. For both Hale and Dunbar, the train of events that culminated in their choice of opposite sides commenced with their ties to social networks that initially had nothing to do with politics or war. No one could have predicted how the Revolution would politicize familiar social relationships, propelling lives that seemed to be following a similar trajectory in different directions.

[Grant products][Media coverage][Prizes]

Project fields:
U.S. History

Fellowships for University Teachers

Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
8/1/2010 – 7/31/2011