recent recap (3 of 6) of the recent American Revolution Reborn conference at Penn, Liz Covart covers the session on the Revolution as a civil war. The panel featured Barbara Oberg, Travis Glasson, Michael McConnell, Kimberly Nath, and Aaron Sullivan. Here is a taste of Covart's coverage:
Biggest Takeaway: Historians
need to get at how civilians experienced the Revolutionary War. They
also need to include the largest demographic in their war narratives:
Biggest Question: How can scholars get at the civilian and disaffected experience
Glasson would like to know more about the civilian experience during
the Revolutionary War. In Newport, R.I., civilians lived alongside
several thousand British and Hessian troops for 3 years and among
several thousand French troops prior to Yorktown. Civilians and soldiers
befriended each other, offended each other, & formed grudges
against each other. Newport had a lot of people who did not fit neatly
into the patriot or loyalist camps. Scholars need to place more emphasis
on the people in the middle, the disaffected and show how people’s
political opinions changed throughout the war.
McDonnell sees the Revolutionary War as a civil war. Historians
generally leave loyalists, Native Americans, African-Americans, and
other opponents of the patriots out of their Revolutionary War
narratives. They also leave out Americans who tried to take a middle
path. Invariably divisions among Americans prolonged the war. The war
and disaffection gave rise to new divisions between the states and
between state and continental officials who felt that they had given
more than others to the war. The Revolutionary War heightened localism
rather than nationalism.
Read the rest here.