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The American Revolution 250th Update

Graphic by America 250.

Can you feel the excitement mounting? We keep getting closer and closer to the 250th anniversary of the birth of the United States. The anticipation rises. What a glorious day that will be on July 4, 2026. If only we can get past the upcoming presidential election and have a country as we know it to celebrate the event … or if you prefer to commemorate it.

In this blog I wish to present some developments in the 250th. It does not cover everything, but it does touch upon some of the highlights. We should keep in mind that 2024 is the 250th anniversary of 1774. There is no prohibition in having local events this year just as Boston did last year for the Tea Party.

What, to Americans Today, Is the Fourth of July?

By Nancy Spannaus / In American Revolution, News / March 25, 2024

A Report and Reflections on the Virginia250 Conference held in Williamsburg, March 18-20

It was my pleasure to join my husband in attending the annual conference of the Virginia American Revolution 250 Commission last week. Under the title “A Common Cause to All,” the Commission, in partnership with the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, brought together 450 individuals from 37 states and all around Virginia, to discuss plans for commemoration and celebration of our nation’s 250th birthday, July 4, 2026. We were lavishly wined and dined, and able to meet and discuss with individuals devoted to celebrating American history.

This is a big conference. I wonder whether any other state or even national organization is or plans to host a comparable dedicated national conference. Clearly Virginia is thinking big time. Remember the AMC series Turn about the spy ring based in New York? The show not only was filmed in Virginia but was advertised by Virginia with nary an I LOVENY commercial in sight. Virginia takes its American Revolution seriously.

The situation today is quite different from 1826 and 1976.

All sought in their own way to address the problem of how to do justice to this momentous event, and bring national unity, in this time of historic political polarization and documented indifference or even hostility from the younger generation.

These words cut to the core of the challenge facing organizers of the American Revolution 250th. It is a time to strive for national unity as Americans, to recognize that we cannot take the Declaration of Independence or Constitution for granted anymore. The reality is we live in a time when these documents have been weaponized as if they do not apply to all American citizens.

I would argue that the second most stirring presentation during this conference was given by Dr. Danielle Allen, the author of the 2014 book Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality. Dr. Allen’s advocacy for the Declaration has inspired a citizens’ movement to sponsor public readings of the founding document every July 4 – a movement that my husband and I have participated in for the last several years in our small town.    

In a previous blog, I asked what is your ceremony of belonging as an American (What Is Our Ceremony of Belonging? July 8, 2023).  I was referring to local events where the people of a community come together to express their shared identity as Americans. It is interesting to note that around July 4 each year I receive many notices about a reading of Frederick Douglass’s speech and virtually none about the reading of the Declaration itself. True the latter was written as a legal brief and not a rousing speech. Some of the clauses are difficult to hear now out of context, but still it is telling that the founding document gets such short thrift on its birthday.

The most contentious of the discussions occurred during the “Fireside Chat with Jefferson and Early American Scholars,” which featured Professor Woody Holton of the University of South Carolina, and Jane Kamensky, President of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello. Holton took the approach that historians should begin teaching the flaws and contradictions of the American founding to children from a very young age. He resolutely objected to the compromises made by the Founding generation. At the conclusion, he even opined that he would have preferred that we stick with the Confederation government, rather than the Constitution.   

 Kamensky, on the other hand, was at pains to emphasize the complexity and flaws of not only the founders, but those who are judging them today. The United States was born a question, she said, and we must educate our children to participate in our democracy by both celebrating and criticizing its practices. Compromise was and is necessary to the preservation of the Union, which is a positive achievement, she asserted. 

I suspect that history organizations will struggle over precisely this difference. Previously I have written about two types of conferences on the American Revolution (Sense of Place versus the Ivory Tower: The American Revolution 250th July 23, 2022). One is the academic one which tends to be highly critical of the Declaration of Independence and the American Revolution. The ivory tower conferences routinely fail to notice how many countries have been republics and or democracies for 250 years especially as a large multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-religious political entity. You would almost think such countries are par for the course and what makes us exceptional is our failure to match the longevity of such counties around the world.

The other type of conference often at battlefields and not colleges or universities. They focus on how it came to be that We the People won the war against the most powerful country on earth. They have no objection to including how all peoples contributed to that effort but are not judgmental in that the war never should have occurred or that if we have not lived up to the words of our founding that the experiment should be declared a failure. Virginia certainly is promoting the sense of place engagement with the American Revolution where people will come and visit the sites where it occurred just as people did for the Boston Tea Party in December 2023.

The panel on “Approaches to Public Engagement” laid out some of the large challenges facing those committed to the 250th celebration. Speaker Matt Williams works for a firm which does polling, and had been commissioned to carry out a study of Americans’ views of history in late 2022. The firm interviewed 2400 people, 50% of them young, and 50% on the Eastern Seaboard. The “bad” news was that 60-70% said that history made them anxious, and they were tuning it out. An additional survey of teachers produced the disheartening result that it was “very difficult” to engage students in studying history, especially in suburbia. Some potential remedies – the use of museums, primary documents, and digital presentations – were also discussed.

There should be no doubt that schools will be a battleground in the celebration/commemoration of the American Revolution. They already are a battleground. The intensity of the conflict is only likely to increase after the presidential elections. The discourse during our Third Civil War will result in increasing calls for violence depending on the results of that election. The irony is just as we prepare more vigorously to celebrate the birth of the United States, there will be more and more calls to somehow separate into our two houses.

A special treat was the sneak preview of the upcoming film series by Ken Burns entitled “The American Revolution,” which promises to be highly influential. The six-part series was begun eight years ago and will be released in the fall of 1775. The preview was provided by Paula Kerger, President and CEO of the Public Broadcasting System, and Sarah Botstein, an associate of Burns who is working on the film. Botstein described the intensive process of scholarly research involved and the problems of dealing with a lack of physical evidence and images – unlike in Burns’ films about the Civil War and Vietnam. She then showed two short sketches, one dealing with the role of women in the resistance to the Tea Act, and the other to Bunker Hill.

Can Ken Burns save us? Can he obtain blockbuster ratings given the media structure today? Will his film series become the basis for curriculum? Can he wave his magic media wand and bring Americans together? Obviously, I do not know what will happen.


The state of Connecticut highlights some of the issues where the rubber hits road. It brings to a more local level some of the high level concerns expressed in the report on the national conference in Virginia. The recent state conference according to its notice said the following:

America 250 | CT Information:

Commission created pursuant to Executive Order No. 22-2, which instructs it to:

1. promote the documentation, identification, and preservation of cultural and historic resources, including archives, buildings, landscapes, objects, and sites related to the semiquincentennial period

2. assist in ensuring that any observance of the semiquincentennial of the American Revolution is inclusive and appropriately recognizes the experiences and points of view of all people affected by the events surrounding the American Revolution

3. encourage civic, historical, educational, economic, arts and other organizations throughout the state to organize and participate in activities to expand the understanding and appreciation of the significance of the American Revolution

4. collaborate with state and local tourism agencies to promote the state as a prominent cultural and heritage tourism destination for American Revolution history.

 This part could have come from the Bicentennial. Then come the changes.

Other big ideas:

1. By recognizing this moment in our history, the nation has the opportunity to lay the groundwork for a reawakening of civic engagement by encouraging the participation of all residents.

2. The Commission is committed to providing guidance for how to make this inclusive of all people in Connecticut and accessible to anyone who wants to participate

3. Although we are commemorating the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, the Commission goes beyond that to reflect on the last 250 years of history and consider and shape the next 250 years.

Here we may start to observe shift in emphasis from the traditional celebration to a commemoration reflecting what has happened and what may happen. There is the hope that somehow the semiquincentennial will have a magical effect on people.

And they’ll watch the game and it’ll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters. The memories will be so thick they’ll have to brush them away from their faces. People will come Ray. The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it’s a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again. Oh… people will come Ray. People will most definitely come (James Earl Jones, Field of Dreams).

I write this blog as women’s basketball is setting records for is college championship and a team from Iowa is having a magical year including a game against Connecticut.

America 250 | CT Themes

1.Tell Inclusive Stories: Share stories that represent all of Connecticut’s people, past and present; Tell previously untold stories to enable everyone to find a place in our nation’s narrative

2. Power of Place: Creation of a community-based structure will allow each of Connecticut’s towns and cities to define their own programs and ideas about how they can engage their citizens; Commission will ensure the alignment between Connecticut’s 250th activities and those of the greater region and nation, building relevance and aligning the state with other areas

3. Doing History: Public must be invited to participate in the process of doing history; Inviting audiences to engage with the historical method can help them become more comfortable with the ambiguous, contested, and always-evolving nature of history; Focus on the role of Connecticut within the national narrative

4. For the Common Good: Discussions about our democracy and civic intuitions can help strengthen understanding, inspire action, and reveal ways that all of us can participate in and shape our democracy; Reconsider the origins of our government, democratic institutions, and broader civic life, and a chance to reflect on the ways we have changed them over time.

Here is where the hard work really begins. To some extent such conversations already occur. Think of the school board meetings with its calm debates over curriculum and books in the library. While it is a worthy goal to engage the public to do history and have such discussions, the challenge to actually have them is more problematical. Let us not forget that there were Tories and Patriots during the American Revolution anyway so it would be simplistic to think we can have a “Come let us reason together” moment in the towns and villages of the state and country today. And what is “the national narrative”? (Ending the Uncivil War: Creating a Shared National Narrative for the 21st Century  January 28, 2021). There is scarce agreement as to what constitutes the national narrative. Plus such discussions are planned for after a very contentious presidential election year that threatens to rip the social fabric to threads.

I applaud Connecticut for setting these goals but am frightened that the world of the Third Civil War will prevail.

New American Revolution 250th Logo during the Current Civil War

New logo from Chermayeff&Geismar&Haviv

Chermayeff&Geismar&Haviv has designed a new logo for the Semiquincentennial. The company also was involved in the creation of the logo for the Bicentennial in 1976. For this event, C&G&H operated on the basis that America250 goal was to create the most inclusive commemoration in American history on July 4, 2026. Events which occurred after July 4, 1776 through Evacuation Day, November 25, 1783, when England withdrew from New York City after seven years of occupation are not included in the national event.

For the 2026 anniversary symbol, Chermayeff&Geismar&Haviv once again used a ribbon-based mark. The red, white, and blue ribbons “signify commemoration, celebration, and purpose,” according to the New York-based brand design firm.

The number 250 is formed from a single continuous sweep of the three ribbons, “suggesting unity, cooperation, and harmony,” C&G&H continues. Aiming to form a “dynamic, vibrant icon,” this is coupled with “elegant” serif lettering spelling out ‘America’.

The title for the release in the print copy of The New York Times was:

Challenge for the Semiquintcentennial: Unite the country with a logo: That was a design studio’s almost impossible mission 12/10/23 print).

The challenges facing the U.S. Semiquintcentennial has been the subject of several previous blogs. Besides Congress excluding seven years of the actual fighting on the ground, the national commission was wracked with internal problems. These were summarized by the NYT:

The commission lost a major sponsor, Meta, and its original chairman was replaced after a lawsuit from employees accused the commission’s supporting foundation of sexism and mismanagement of funds. It is still wrestling with how to commemorate a nation’s complex history at a time when Americans are deeply divided.

The logo will first be displayed at the Boston Tea Party on December 16, 2023.


The first big 250th event that would be known nationally was the Boston Tea Party on December 16. A prelude to the event occurred on December 13 with a talk hosted by the American Revolution Institute by Benjamin Carp Brooklyn College.

On the day and location in question, there were a series of events

250th Anniversary of the Boston Tea Party: Faneuil Hall & The Boston Tea Party, A Protest in Principle A Retrospective on Revolution

Faneuil Hall Boston, MA, United States

The 250th Boston Tea Party Anniversary & Reenactment begins with a dramatic look at the Boston Tea Party throughout the centuries. At Faneuil Hall, 250 years ago, the citizens of Boston resolved to “prevent the unloading, receiving, or vending the detestable tea sent out by the East India Company.” These efforts would ultimately result in the Destruction of the Tea and propel America down the road to revolution. In the years following, citizens would return to Faneuil Hall to reflect upon the Boston Tea Party and seek inspiration from its legacy as they discussed the pressing needs of their time.

December 16 @ 6:15 pm – 7:15 pm

250th Anniversary of the Boston Tea Party: A Reenactment of the Meeting of the Body of the People

Old South Meeting House 310 Washington Street, Boston, MA, United States

At Old South Meeting House

Join Revolutionary Spaces in the room where it all happened—Old South Meeting House! This building hosted a number of meetings about the East India Company Tea sitting in Boston Harbor waiting to be unloaded and taxed. On that fateful night, 5,000 men gathered for a final meeting about the controversial tea tax, resulting in Samuel Adams giving the signal that would start the Boston Tea Party. Colonists then marched from the meeting house to Griffin’s Wharf and dumped 340 chests of tea into the Boston Harbor! Led by multiple fife and drum corps, the general public is invited to march from Old South Meeting House to the Harborwalk where Griffin’s Wharf once stood. Along the way, those marching will encounter a regiment of Red Coats in Post Office Square.

250th Anniversary of the Boston Tea Party: Huzzah for Griffin’s Wharf! A Rolling Rally

December 16 @ 7:30 pm – 8:00 pm

Atlantic Wharf adjacent to the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum 8:00pm-8:30pm

The general public is invited to watch a grand-scale reenactment of the Destruction of the Tea from the Harborwalk. Watch as the Sons of Liberty storm aboard the brig Beaver and ship Eleanor to destroy wooden chests of East India Company tea in the very same body of water where the Boston Tea Party occurred exactly 250 years before.

The event received great press coverage. Here in New York, the NYT had in on the front page of the Arts section and most of page 2 (print). The less celebratory title of the article was “Does Tossing the Tea Still Earn Our Sympathy?: A 250th anniversary raises questions relevant today about violently destroying property in the name of a cause.” Jennifer Schuessler wonders how to celebrate a fight for liberty when many Americans including in Boston were not free. “And how do we really feel about protest, violence, and revolution today?”

We now live in a time when even the date 1776 has become a divisive symbol (Nathaniel Sheidley, president and chief executive of Revolutionary Spaces. According to Jonathan Lane, executive director of Revolution 250, the Massachusetts umbrella organization for the 250th in the state, “The idea that what happened in Boston could now happen in any of the colonies is really what brought the American people together.”

Schuessler observes that scholars today see the Boston Tea Party as part of a global event. It linked tea growers in China with British sugar plantations in the Caribbean along with proper Bostonians. As Benjamin Carp stressed in his pre-Tea Party talk on December 13, one had to have sugar when drinking coffee or tea. She reports how the tea party imagery has lived on most famously with the Tea Party in the time of Barack Obama (which became the Freedom Caucus now in the House of Representatives).


There are local ramifications to the Boston Tea Party. It means that 1774/2024 is a big year for the 250th.even if you live in a municipality far from Boston. The Town of Rye, where I live, just had its kickoff meeting to plan for the 250th here at home. The problem is that 1774 marks the first year of civil war in the United States. In response to the Boston Tea Party, Britain instituted the Intolerable Acts. The colonies held a joint meeting called the First Continental Congress on September 5, 1774. So while the Boston Tea Party was a local event, hence the name, the Continental Congress was in response to the Intolerable Acts which applied to all 13 colonies. So before there was a July 4 in Philadelphia, there was a September 5 in Philadelphia.

That Congress was followed here on September 27, 1774, by people signing or choosing not to sign a loyalty oath to King George III. Many of the names on that petition are familiar not because their families still live here but because streets have been named after them. That means in the fall of 2024 right smack in the middle of the presidential campaign we will be asking students to debate loyalty to the crown or the patriots just as people in the community 250 years ago did.

In 2024, we will not simply be remembering 1774, we will be reliving it. One presidential candidate already is compiling loyalty lists, of being dictator for a day, and expressing his admiration for dictators around the world in the present. The second candidate will be touting freedom and the Constitution. It won’t be difficult for even elementary school students to make the connection between the events of the past and today.

In addition, 2024 marks the beginning of the bicentennial of the return of American Revolution hero Marquis de Lafayette. The American Friends of Lafayette will be celebrating that event starting with his arrival at Staten Island on August 15 followed by a Broadway parade on August 16. The Westchester County Executive and now Congressional candidate has designated August 18 as Lafayette Day in Westchester (I have the framed proclamation). So just before the school year begins in Rye, there will be a celebration on behalf of Lafayette who obviously was not loyal to King George III. From Westchester, Lafayette continued along the Boston Post Road to Boston.

The celebrations on behalf of Lafayette who was wildly popular will be occurring just as Americans today are divided in third civil war and commemorating the events during the first one. This means that Lafayette’s visit in 1824-1825 to promote unity in a divided country during that presidential election year will play out just as the country comes to blows during the upcoming presidential year and its aftermath. By coincidence, on January 6, 1825, Lafayette was in Washington, D.C. and that is where he will be on January 6, 2025, perhaps even at Lafayette Park.

Advocacy in 2023 and Beyond: Are You Ready?

Governor Announces $25 Million Investment into State Historic Sites for the Semiquincentennial

Funding Will Go Towards Revitalization of the State’s Revolutionary War Historic Sites in Anticipation of Nation’s Semiquincentennial Anniversary

TITUSVILLEGovernor Phil Murphy today (11/29/22) announced a $25 million investment towards New Jersey’s Revolutionary War historic sites in preparation for the United States of America’s Semiquincentennial anniversary. The Semiquincentennial anniversary, which will take place in 2026, will mark the signing of the Declaration of Independence and our nation’s 250th year of independence.

“New Jersey’s contribution to our nation’s independence is undeniable. From the battlefields where the tide of the American Revolution turned, to the many other sites where our nation’s identity was forged, New Jersey was arguably more deeply involved in the cause of independence than any other state,” said Governor Murphy. “As we celebrate our nation’s 250th anniversary, it is important that our historic sites are prepared to welcome the hundreds of thousands of visitors that will undoubtably [sic] travel from around the world to witness these sites in person on such a momentous occasion. This investment will allow us to revitalize our historic sites and make sure we are prepared when they come.”

The $25 million investment from federal American Rescue Plan funds will be allocated to the New Jersey Department of the Treasury and distributed to Revolution NJ, in partnership with the New Jersey Historical Commission and Crossroads of the American Revolution, to help in the restoration of the following Revolutionary War sites:

  1. Washington Crossing State Park
  2. Trenton’s Old Barracks
  3. Battle Monument in Trenton
  4. Princeton Battlefield State Park
  5. Monmouth Battlefield State Park
  6. Proprietary House in Perth Amboy
  7. The Indian King Tavern in Haddonfield
  8. Wallace House in Somerville
  9. Boxwood Hall in Elizabeth
  10. Rockingham in Kingston 


“The 2nd reading of the Declaration of Independence in New Brunswick, the Battle of Monmouth, and the Crossing of the Delaware just a few steps from here which was pivotal in turning the tide of the war; New Jersey was indeed the crossroads of the American Revolution. I’m proud of my work on the Semiquincentennial Commission and passing the American Rescue Plan to ensure New Jersey’s contributions are recognized during the upcoming celebrations and that New Jersey received the funding it needs to tell its story,” said Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman. “This includes the contributions of Black and Indigenous soldiers during the war.  It was an integrated regiment who ferried Washington across the Delaware on Christmas 1776. By the end of the war a full quarter of the American soldiers marching to Yorktown were Black or Indigenous. Their contributions must be remembered as we celebrate the 250-year history of the Greatest Nation on earth.”

“We are proud and grateful that Governor Murphy is making this unprecedented investment in New Jersey history. These 10 state-owned sites are centuries old and this funding will ensure that visitors today, tomorrow, and for centuries to come, will be able to engage with and appreciate the Revolutionary stories these locations help us tell,” said New Jersey Secretary of State Tahesha Way.

“New Jersey’s role in the American Revolution is unquestionably significant,” said Assembly Speaker Craig J. Coughlin. “The Battles of Trenton and Princeton singularly re-energized the fledging effort at perhaps the most crucial point of the war. Today’s sizable $25 million investment in capital upgrades across ten critical, state-owned sites marks a big step in the leveraging the full civic and economic potential of our state’s consequential revolutionary war history, not just in preparation for 2026 but for the years that lie ahead.”

“New Jersey has a wealth of historic sites, many of which are located here in Mercer County where the ‘Ten Crucial Days’ of the American Revolution unfolded,” said Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes. “This investment allowing for much-needed improvements to our state’s historic treasures will help spotlight for the rest of the country the central role that New Jersey played in America’s fight for independence.”

“Hopewell Township played an important role in the rich history of the founding of our country. With the 250th anniversary upcoming, this investment is critical to making New Jersey, and Hopewell Township, a heritage tourism destination. We are grateful to Governor Murphy for his leadership in ensuring that our historic sites keep their proper place in American history for the next generation,” said Mayor Courtney Peters-Manning.

“Crossroads of the American Revolution National Heritage Area is grateful for public funding for these key visitor readiness projects at sites which will serve as the initial core for Revolutionary War heritage tourism.  This historic investment is only the first step in raising New Jersey’s profile as the acknowledged Crossroads of the American Revolution. As the fundraising arm of RevolutionNJ,  Crossroads will be working to secure the participation of private donors to build on this crucial investment – to bring vital economic activity to our local communities by supporting and sustaining heritage tourism in New Jersey for the 250th anniversary and beyond,” said Carrie Fellows, Executive Director, Crossroads of the American Revolution Association.

“The Department of Environmental Protection’s State Park Service is grateful for and celebrates this financial investment, which will allow for important and needed improvements to state-owned historic sites in preparation for the 250th anniversary of the founding of the United States,” said John Cecil, Assistant Commissioner for New Jersey’s State Parks, Forests & Historic Sites. “This significant investment will greatly improve the visitor experience, allowing visitors to learn about, marvel and cherish New Jersey’s treasured history and contributions to our country’s founding.”

Will your Governor issue a press release like this?

As a new year begins so do new legislative sessions. This means it is a time for the history community to create its list of asks.

What are the history community asks for 2023 in your state?

What are your advocacy plans for 2023?

Will you advocate on a statewide basis or just for your individual site?

Will your state history conferences include a session on advocacy for state history?

Is it already too late to plan and organize a state advocacy effort for 2023?

Will you at least prepare for 2024?

Happy New Year.

The Battle of Saratoga and Local History: Lessons from Zelenskyy and Putin

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky gives a battle flag signed by members of the Ukrainian military to U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Vice President Kamala Harris as he addresses a joint meeting of Congress in the House Chamber of the U.S. Capitol on December 21, 2022 in Washington, DC. Anna Moneymaker/ Getty Images

Voldymor Zelenskyy and Vladimir Putin, two historical figures in the present, have given the United States history lessons about our own past. In one case the action was deliberate: Zelenskyy’s deliberate reference to the Battle of Saratoga. In the other case. It was through his actions and not a speech. Together they present the American history community as well as the American people with lessons to be learned and/or ignored.


Putin has been raining a barrage of missiles on the Ukrainian nation. A lot of the media focus here has been on the infrastructure which has been destroyed. Putin’s goal seems to be, if I may draw on an historical reference from General Curtis LeMay from the Vietnam War, is to bomb Ukraine back into the stone age. He seeks to decimate the ability of the country to provide electric power and water to its people. By now we have all seen eerie shots of people walking darkened streets save for a flashlight or a candle.

What struck me about the historical significance of what Putin was and is doing is an article in The New York Times from December 29 (print) with the title “A Culture Under Fire: Russia’s invasion has systematically destroyed Ukrainian cultural sites, a Times investigation found” (with a followup article “Cultural Heritage as a Battlefront: Tallying the damage to museums and Cathedrals during the war in Ukraine,” December 31 print)  We know about recent efforts by both ISIS and the Taliban to destroy the non-Islamic objects unacceptable to them. We also know about the genocidal actions by Russia in Ukraine. But this article forced me to come face to face with the cultural assault on the country as well.

Pay attention to what Putin is choosing to destroy as reported in the article.

It [the barrage] has also dealt a grievance blow to Ukrainian culture: to its museums and monuments, its grand universities and rural libraries, its historic churches and contemporary mosaics. 

Now think about the American counterparts to the items listed above. Imagine their destruction even with no people being destroyed. How would we react?

The article continues:

Libraries, architectural treasures, statues, churches, houses of culture, museums, cinemas, sports facilities, theaters and archaeological sites have been damaged or destroyed. 

Put aside the pontifications of academics and eggheads and recognize the truth of what Putin is doing. He has targeted the Ukrainian culture and heritage for destruction. If something has not been bombed, then it has been looted. The 5-page article identifies many of the locations by name and includes many pictures. The Ukrainian memory of its own heritage is being dismantled. One day the infrastructure will be rebuilt. The people will once again have electricity and running water. But the same cannot be said for books, artifacts, paintings, and statues which have been destroyed. It will be like rebuilding after an earthquake where everything before 2022 has been destroyed.   

Nothing comparable is happening here. I do not mean to compare Putin’s actions to the toppling of statues and renaming of streets. Instead I am referring to something more insidious – the budgets for culture and the arts; the teaching of history and the humanities in public schools; the visiting to the local history sites in your own community. These items tend to be first on the chopping block for “saving” money by reducing the budget. They are peripherals not essential to the well-being of a community or the development of a child. Putin knows better. He knows how important all the things listed above are for the health and well-being of a community. His scorched earth actions to obliterate the cultural heritage of Ukraine is not an accident, it is not collateral damage. It is a targeting of a people.

In looking at what Putin has targeted, we should think about what we need to preserve, what we need to teach, what we need to visit to sustain a healthy community … and to educate newcomers to our country, our states, and our municipalities about what it means to be an American. We need to keep expanding our history markers, and museums to include the history which has happened and the new history which is being created even as these words are being typed. Putin has told us what is important through his efforts to destroy it in Ukraine. Let it be a lesson to us.


By contrast, Zelenskyy has reminded us very specifically what should be important to us. Standing in the chambers of Congress, Zelenskyy said the Ukrainian fight today was like the Battle of Saratoga to us. Those words reminded me of the Gettysburg Address when Lincoln linked the war in his present to an action four-score and seven years earlier. He could take for granted that his audience knew he meant the Declaration of Independence.

We know what the Battle of Saratoga means to Zelenskyy. What does it mean to Americans?

It was somewhat amusing in the talk show discussions after Zelenskyy’s speech, to listen to people draw of their knowledge of what the Battle of Saratoga meant to the founding of the country. When did they last come in contact with that battle? A book they read? A site they visited? A class they took in college? A class they took in high school? A class they took even earlier?

A quick review of the more than 200+ sessions at the annual conference of the American Historical Association going on January 5-8, 2023, in Philadelphia showed none related to the American Revolution yet alone to the Battle of Saratoga. True there are other conferences more focused in time which may include sessions on the American Revolution and possibly even on the Battle of Saratoga.

Now considered these two lectures:

“How Indigenous People Helped Start and Win the American Revolution” by Woody Holton (December 16, 2022) at the Native Americans Study Center


“The Compleat Victory: Saratoga and the American Revolution,” Colonel (Ret.) Kevin Weddle, Ph.D. at Marist College (April 13, 2022), a college with close ties to nearby West Point.

The second lecture comports with what Zelenskyy meant; the first one subsumes Saratoga into a larger talk about the role of Indigenous people with the battle being secondary.

Drilling down, if one were to take a course in American history in college, what if anything would be taught about the Battle of Saratoga?

If one takes a(n elective?) course in American history in high school, what if anything would be taught about the Battle of Saratoga?

If one takes a class in American history in middle school (as one typically does here in New York), what if anything would be taught about the Battle of Saratoga?

One cannot help but wonder if all the members of Congress are even familiar with the Battle of Saratoga. They recognize from Zelenskyy’s speech that it must have been an important battle but beyond that what do they know about it?

As we approach the 250th anniversary of the Battle of Saratoga, what should we do?

The American Revolution 250th Commission created at the federal level will be out of existence by the summer of 2027 when the 250th anniversary of the Battle of Saratoga occurs. The Commission’s focus is July 4 in Philadelphia. Someone needs to inform the Commission (again) of this shortcoming especially now that Zelenskyy has made a point of emphasizing its importance. The end date should be extended.

New York State, where the Commission does extend beyond 2027, should invite Zelenskyy to attend whatever festivities and events will be held in conjunction with the 250th anniversary.

At least one of the national history organizations (SHEAR?) should considered holding its annual summer conference in Saratoga in 2027 perhaps in partnership with Skidmore College.

There should be a review of the social studies curriculum and teacher professional development programs to ensure that American students are as familiar with the Battle of Saratoga as the President of Ukraine.

Putin has shown us in his destructions what we should maintain here in the United States as part of our cultural and historic heritage.

Zelenskyy has shown what we as Americans should all know about our past. The United States of America will be much better off if Americans are at least as familiar with the Battle of Saratoga at the birth of the country as it is with Gettysburg when it divided.

Queen Elizabeth and the American Revolution 250th

It's not a movie or TV series. It's the real thing. (USA Today)

Queen Elizabeth dominated the news for several days if not longer. For a brief moment, the world saw Great Britain at its best. We saw its palaces, churches, and chapels. We watched its processions. We witnessed its people stand patiently in astonishingly long lines for hours on end for their turn to glimpse and pay their respects to their Queen. Truly it was an inspiring series of days that highlighted the good with which people are capable. Perhaps once could say it was Great Britain’s finest hour since its last finest hour in far more troubling times.

Simultaneously, I was attending two history conferences in New York State with sessions devoted to the American Revolution 250th. The first was in Buffalo where the annual national conference of the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) was held partially in person with a separate on-line conference to follow. The second was the annual state conference of the Association of the Public Historians of New York State (APHNYS) held this year in Kingston.

During the American Revolution, Kingston was a settlement burned by the British as part of the ill-fated campaign of John Burgoyne to sever the states. At that time, Buffalo was located beyond the range of American colonial settlement. The Seneca who lived there were allies of the British even to the point of fighting their fellow Haudenosaunee Oneida who were America’s first ally. As part of the conference, I signed up for an optional tour of the OnÖhsagwË De’ Cultural Center better known in English after the English name of the famed Roman orator.

The unexpected juxtaposition of these events provided an opportunity to think historically and politically about them.


Obviously during the American Revolution, the British were our enemy. Even as we honored the life of the British Queen at her death, we remember that here in New York, an iconic symbol of the American Revolution is the toppling of the recently-installed statue of King George III at the Battery in lower Manhattan.

We also recall the prison ships offshore in the Hudson River where arguably more Americans died at the hands of the British than did on the field of battle.

We remember the city where we were meeting as a city the British had burned. The burning of this one-time capital of New York State was a preview to the burning of the national capital in the next round of conflict between the two countries.

We remember that for seven years, the British occupied the city of New York. They continued to do so throughout the war even past the fighting at Yorktown. The reason George Washington spent more time during the American Revolution in New York than in any other state was precisely because of his fear that the still-present British might try something. We should remember Benedict Arnold in that context.

And finally we remember when at last after seven years, the British evacuated the city on November 25, 1783. Loyalists including Africans who had fought on behalf of the British left for Canada. The day would be become a holiday enthusiastically celebrated in New York City into the 20th century.

Eventually, of course, the United States and the United Kingdom became friends and allies. Their culture became intertwined with our culture. From Sherlock Holmes to 007 to the Beatles to Middle Earth to Harry Potter, it often became difficult to determine where one culture began and the other ended. (Americans would not wait patiently for hours on end without a squabble for anything yet alone a funeral procession.)

One driving force in this new-found friendship was the sharing of a common enemy – Germany in World War I, Nazi Germany in World War II, and the Soviet Union in World War III, the Cold War. In this face of common enemies that threatened us, the bloody differences of the American Revolution and the War of 1812 become secondary, part of the past we could move beyond. Now the same issue faces the members of the British Empire now Commonwealth.


In the United States, Frederick Douglass famously asked what the Declaration of Independence should mean to him. Yet despite the horrors of slavery in the United States, he never abandoned his American identity. A similar situation arises now for individuals and countries which once were part of the British Empire but are no more or which have the British monarchy as the nominal head of state but contemplate leaving.

Prince Charles recently experienced some of this feelings in his own visits to the lands/islands of the British Empire. Undoubtedly, once the hoopla of the Queen Elisabeth funeral fades, as King Charles III, he will have to face the new world order within the lands once ruled by Great Britain. He will have to deal with the human cost of imperial rule. The numbers vary tremendously from the 18th-century conflict with the United States and the 19th and 20th century conflicts with the global colonies. The differences in firepower from the former to the latter and between the British and their foes led to the deaths of far more people than in our American Revolution.

Similarly, there was a vast difference in the economic relationships. Back in the 18th century, the United States had little to plunder in comparison with other parts of the Empire especially the sugar from the Caribbean. The opportunity for exploitation was limited.

So today when individuals and countries challenge the British legacy, they have ample grounds to do so. We are at the beginning of a process that may or may not end in healing. As king, there are limits to what Charles III can do. Even beyond his institutional power, he lacks the international appeal of his children and their spouses. Nonetheless, collectively they have an opportunity to re-cast the relationship between the countries of the former British Empire. Whether they will try and whether they will succeed if they do try remains to be seen.


As the United States entered the global arena, it found it had shared interests with the Mother Country. Those interests continued to develop and strengthen over the course of the 20th century. It reached the point that one took for granted that the American President would attend the funeral for the Queen whose country fought us twice.

A new enemy may bring together the countries of the British Empire in ways no one anticipated. Pakistan was part of the Crown Jewel of the Empire, the Indian subcontinent that caused the Suez Canal to be built. Unfortunately, Pakistan has been in the news for all the wrongs reasons in recent weeks as well. The unimaginable damage and destruction from flooding makes sheer survival the number one challenge for country. Other parts of the former British Empire especially islands similarly are facing catastrophes on an unprecedented scale.

Truly it may be said in a time of climate change, we are all in this together. While not everyone has heard and absorbed the message, the high temperatures, droughts, and floods make it increasingly necessary for people both to live in the real world and to work together. Just as We the People learned to live with and become partners with our former adversary, so too it will become necessary for the countries of the former British Empire to learn to work together. I predict that when we celebrate the declaration of our independence from Great Britain, the latter will participate in the ceremony just as the President of the United States did in the funeral of Queen Elizabeth. One hopes that in the face of this new global threat, the same will be true for the lands Britain ruled and the country that ruled them.

Sense of Place versus the Ivory Tower: The American Revolution 250th

Saratoga County has a funded American Revolution 250th Commission

There are multiple ways through which one can approach the American Revolution. In this blog. I wish to address the sense of place in contrast to the ivory tower. The sense of place approach draws on the fact that we are physical beings with a sense of touch. Being connected to the land, a community, and place in history is important. If you ever have as seen a person make an effort to take a picture of history marker all by itself, then you know what I mean.

Whereas sense of place programs are based on the place where it happened, the ivory tower program is not. It does not even need to be in-person except for the fact that we are physical beings and the need to be in contact with other people is essential to who we are. That being said, an ivory tower conference can be anywhere. Think of how many conferences on peoples from around the world and in ancient times can be held at a location far removed from where those people live or lived. American Revolution conferences frequently are held in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia because of their role in the American Revolution and they have colleges and historical organizations without attendees visiting a fort or a battlefield.

In this blog, I wish to cover three current sense of place programs and one ivory tower program:

1. Fort Plain Museum American Revolution Conference in the Mohawk Valley last month which I did attend
2. Fort Ticonderoga Seminar on the American Revolution in September which I am planning to attend
3. Battle of Saratoga “America’s Turning Point,” the new 250th commission created by Saratoga County about a battlefield where I have had multiple teacher programs in the past
4. Unrepresented Voices of the American Revolution, an ivory tower conference in Boston which I was unable to attend and which was not on-line.


For this conference, I am going to draw on the conference report written by Nancy Spannaus of the Alexander Hamilton Awareness Society. I met her at the conference and did not know she would be writing a ten-page summary of the presentations. Wouldn’t it be great if someone did that at all history conferences? To read her report click here.

The conference did tend to focus on the military and the bus tour was to sites where American Revolution battles were fought. Although the Oneida, America’s first ally, and the Seneca were involved in these battles no presenters were from these or any Haudenosaunee people. There will be a conference this fall on William Johnson.

The conference is an extraordinary event. In boxing terms, Norm Bollen and Brian Mack of the Fort Plain Museum are punching above their weight. In addition to creating this annual conference and tour off the beaten trail, they have successfully created on-line book store focusing on the American Revolution. They have ambitious plans for expanding the museum and are dedicated to bringing tourists into a part of the Mohawk Valley people tend to drive through without stopping. They deserve a great deal of credit for what they have been able to accomplish. One hopes that if the National Commission gets it acts together and if there is a viable New York State commission and if there is real funding including for events after 1776, they will get the institutional support they deserve. The small communities would benefit enormously from increased tourist visitation.

In the meantime, the conference organizers plan on following the timeline. Each year’s conference from this point forward will focus on the events of that year 250 years ago. I have suggested that approach in a couple of blogs and of the need for national history organizations to help show the way but so far to no avail.


Fort Ticonderoga is holding its 18th American Revolution Conference this September (they prefer the term “seminar”). The fort itself recently passed its own bicentennial as a non-fort site when William Ferris Pell purchased it in 1820. In olden days, I attended conferences there in a giant (heated) tent. I then watched the construction/archaeological excavation of what is now the Mars Education Center, a sign of the money that has been behind some of the changes with more to come.

The conference this year is overwhelming military. There are sessions about tactical prowess, raids, armed camps, and imperialism. Women are present but in a military context:

“Jane McCrea, Women and War: Gender and Violence in the Revolution’s Northern Front”

“The Infamous Conduct of a few Abandoned Miscreants”: Sexual Violence committed by Continental Soldiers towards American Women.

Fort Ticonderoga does conduct battle re-enactments. For example, this weekend:

Battle Reenactment: 1759 Siege of Carillon

 Don’t miss the epic two-day 1759 Siege of Carillon Battle Reenactment, July 23-24, as Fort Ticonderoga recreates this dramatic 1759 battle for the first time since 2011! Through a combination of demonstrations, vignettes, and battle reenactments, visitors will experience the British advance for Lake George, pushing through stiff French resistance to gain a foothold upon the previous year’s battlefield, overlooking the French-held fort. Become immersed in this 18th-century siege; featuring the constant roar of cannon, beginning on the actual day French guns began firing from Fort Carillon in 1759.

 Each day tells a different story as visitors see the burning fuse of the Fort’s destruction, the final French sortie at the British lines, and evacuation by water in an action packed Sunday.

A sense of place is very much a part of the American Revolution and French and Indian War programs at Fort Ticonderoga.


Saratoga is different from Forts Plain and Ticonderoga in that it is a battlefield and not a fort. In fact it isn’t even in Saratoga today. In the past IHARE has had weekend Teacherhostels/Historyhostels at the location as well as including it as part of a more extended program on Forts of the Empire State. Outside the town visitor center there was/is a statue to Solomon Northup but back then his name did not mean anything to me.

The IHARE program combined talks on the Battle of Saratoga and its place in the American Revolution. Then we would walk (and drive) the grounds of the battlefield itself. I ended with a canal/river cruise not because it was directly related to the American Revolution but because it was a nice way to end the program. We disembarked from Schuylerville after visiting the NPS Schuyler House and climbing the Arnold-less Victory Monument.

As best I recall, The National Park Service did not have an annual Battle of Saratoga conference comparable to those at Forts Plain and Ticonderoga.

However, things may be changing for the American Revolution 250th. The County has just launched a program called “America’s Turning Point” in recognition of the battle there.

Never before in world history had a British Army surrendered until October 17, 1777 when General John Burgoyne and his army, cold, starving, and battered from their defeat at the Battle of Bemis Heights, surrendered to General Gates and his Patriot army at Saratoga in what is now known as the Turning Point of the American Revolution.

As part of the effort, the County has created an appropriately numbered commission of 13 people. The Commission will be responsible for making it happen. Members include the County Historian Lauren Roberts – Yes, Saratoga County is one of the New York State counties with an historian! Various other representatives from the history community are included on the Commission. Politicians are not ignored either: Town of Saratoga Supervisor, Town of Stillwater Supervisor where the battlefield is located, Saratoga County Administrator and the Chairman of the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors. I hope one of the remaining two openings will be filled by a teacher or someone from a school system.

The Commission launches its public face this July 19th through 24th with a tent at the Saratoga County Fair. There will be a parade August 7th in Schuylerville and a living history teacher workshop October 28th. To support this effort, the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors committed $150,000. This is in one county! Clearly Saratoga is hitting the ground running now in 2022 and not waiting for the state or federal government to get their acts together.

Massachusetts Historical Society: Underrepresented Voices of the American Revolution (July 14-15, 2022)

The lead up to the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence offers an opportunity to highlight the latest scholarship on underrepresented voices of the American Revolution. This conference will bring together scholars to explore the broad themes associated with those not traditionally considered in discussing the American Revolutionary Era. Additionally, this conference will serve both scholars and K-12 educators by providing a platform to consider how the classroom serves as a key site of historical representation. Teachers will be invited to attend the traditional academic sessions, and scholars in turn will be invited to participate in a concluding teacher workshop at the end of the conference (July 16).

As the title of the conference suggests, this conference by America’s oldest historical society is not one based on a sense of place. It is an intellectual conference intending to give voice to those voices not traditionally heard. I was unable to attend the conference in Boston in-person and it was not on-line. The settings for the conference were an historical society and college in Boston, a quite different setting from the forts and battlefields in the New York State programs.

The panel sessions attest the fulfillment of the vision stated above. It includes sessions I would have like to have attended and I don’t know if any of the presentations will be available to non-attendees. The Massachusetts Historical Society does have a robust schedule of programs on an ongoing basis and does an excellent job of making the recordings available on line.

To illustrate the focus of conference, here are the non-military sessions:

1. Underrepresented Voices in the Archives
2. New Perspective on Loyalism – there will be a NYC Loyalist militia presentation at Fort Ticonderoga
3. The Non-Human Revolution
4. Gendered Loyalties
5. Imperial Borderlands – there will be a borderlands presentation at Fort Ticonderoga
6. Southern Revolution Worlds – it is not about white people
7. Claiming Exodus: Jews, Black Protestants, and Revolutionary Religious Freedom
8. Indian Sovereignty and the Revolution – earlier this week I participated in a two-day NMAI webinar specifically on the subject of Indian Sovereignty but not on the Revolution
9. Reconsidering Revolutionary New England.

If the schedule had been different or the Boston conference was available online, I would have attended both the sense of place and ivory tower American Revolution events. I wonder how many other people would have attended both. We may have a “failure to communicate” here. During the 250th, it is easy to imagine a slew of silo events and programs speaking to separate audiences who do not interact. One group will not be current with scholarship and the other will ignore the fact that a real war was fought at real places that can be visited today.

The Meanings of Independence: A Conference by the American Philosophical Society

This review of the state of the American Revolution 250th continues with a free conference held by the David Center for the American Revolution at the American Philosophical Society.

The conference aims to be unlike a traditional scholarly conference. Instead of scholars presenting scholarly papers to a scholarly audience, we hope to bring together public intellectuals, scholars, leaders of cultural organizations and government agencies, and other thought leaders who have an interest in the Revolution and its commemoration in 2026. We plan to draw a large in-person and online audience that represents this cross-section of individuals along with members of the public and educators. Our hope is that by bringing this diverse group of people together, attendees may be able to network with others and perhaps lay the foundation for collaborations that will bear fruit in 2026.

In the session entitled “Slavery, Race & Revolution” the following paper was presented with printed copies available to the registrants.

“’Cruel war against human nature itself’: Understanding the American Revolution’s Impact on Slavery within the Context of Imperial Governance” by Holly Brewer (University of Maryland)

The importance of this paper is the effort to place the American Revolution within the context of the British imperial system. Britain had 40 colonies and slavery was legal in all of them [Note – other presenters used other numbers.] The slave population reached 80% in some cases. Yet as we know, only 13 colonies rebelled.

Brewer examined the legal policies regarding slavery throughout the empire. She referenced a project which now can be accessed at Slavery, Law & Power.

SLP (Slavery, Law, and Power) is a project dedicated to bringing the many disparate sources that help to explain the long history of slavery and its connection to struggles over power in early America, particularly in the colonies that would become the United States. Going back to the early English Empire, this project traces the rise of the slave trade along with the parallel struggles between monarchical power and early democratic institutions and ideals. We are creating a curated set of documents that help researchers and students to understand the background to the fierce struggles over both slavery and power during the American Revolution, when questions of monarchical power, consent to government, and hereditary slavery were all fiercely debated. After America separated from Britain, the United States was still deeply influenced by this long history, especially up to the Civil War. The colonial legacies of these debates continued to affect the course of politics, law, and justice in American society as a whole.

The following day the session on “Contesting Power & Authority in the Age of Revolutions” again with printed copies available to the registrants included:

“Sigenauk’s War of Independence: New Indian Leadership and the Struggle for Autonomy in the Revolutionary Borderlands” by John Nelson (Texas Tech University)

Sigenauk is probably not a name familiar to most students of the American Revolution. One reason is because of the variations in his name in the French, Spanish, British, and American sources. His very inclusion in multiple archives attests the multiple peoples both Indian and European with whom he came in contact both peacefully and violently. He challenged British authority in the Great Lakes region and dealt with factions among his own people. He reminds us of the geographical range of the American Revolution beyond the eastern coastal area, a theme to which other presenters would return. Whereas the previous paper sought to place the American Revolution within the context of the global British Empire, this one situates it among the range of peoples present in the interior of the continent and of the need to know their names, that is, not make blanket stereotypical assumptions about the positions of two-dimensional beings but to recognize that individuals and peoples need to understood in their own right.

The final paper I saw that day was

“the disagreeable situation in between the Civil in the Military’: Prisoners of War and Local Governance in the American Revolution” by Susan Brynne Long (University of Delaware).

This paper focused on one of the more disagreeable aspects of war, in this case, the prisoners of war. The traditional focus on battles often obscures what happens afterwards. Both sides took captives. This paper was not about the infamous prison ships in New York harbor that caused more deaths than the battles but on the reverse, the prisoners held by the Americans. The people captured by the Americans tended to be scattered among small isolated communities which acted on their own or under conflicting authorities.

One particular area of interest to me not in this presentation is for the prisoners who chose to remain here after the war. I am referring to the Hessians held in ethnically-German areas in Pennsylvania. They intermarried, became patriotic Americans, and created descendants with conflicting stories to tell about their ancestors being on the wrong side on the birth story of the country they now call home.

Opening Keynote: Meanings of Independence

This one hour and 12 minute session can be viewed by clicking here. The participants included:

Scott Stephenson (President and CEO, Museum of the American Revolution)
Anthea Hartig (Elizabeth MacMillan Director, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution)
Christy Coleman (Executive Director, Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation)
Moderator: Patrick Spero (Librarian and Director, Library & Museum of the American Philosophical Society)

The questions posed by the moderators to the panelists included:

When you think of the Declaration of Independence what one word comes to mind?

One answer by Anthea Hartig that stood out for me was considering the meaning to people outside the United States. I would add that when we think of the image of the country as a city on a hill that eyes of the world are on, the words Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1776 never occurred to John Winthrop in 1630 when he wrote them. Like thinking of the many colonies of Britain which did not revolt, we would be remiss in our attempt to understand the Declaration if we ignore its impact on the rest of the world as well as to generations to come in the United States.

She also noted the concerns raised by teachers vising the National Museum of American History over what they are allowed to teach now given state regulations.

What does success for 2026 look like?  

Hartig drawing on her inner Benjamin Franklin replied a democracy if you can keep it. In this regard the 250th faces a challenge the Centennial and Bicentennial did not. This anniversary is occurring as our latest civil war threatens to tear the country apart.

As Christy Coleman said in response to a question from the audience, the framers did not expect their creation to last for 250 years. In response to the moderator question, she mentioned Spanish and Sephardic Jews as people who have been let out of the narrative. She added that there is nothing wrong with talking pride in what the founders accomplished while simultaneously recognizing not to stop there. In her answer to the previous question she noted the wonderful concepts at our founding and referred to the American experience as a journey meaning not a fixed point in time.

The next day began with a panel on Experiences of Revolution with:

Adrienne Whaley (Director of Education and Community Engagement, Museum of the American Revolution)
Lauren Duval (The University of Oklahoma)
Michael Galban (Curator for the Seneca Art & Culture Center at Ganondagan State Historic Site) [unable to attend]
Moderator: Robert Parkinson (SUNY Binghamton)

This two hour session is available online by clicking here.

Again, I am not recapping the entire session but highlighting some ideas that stood out to me.

Richter observed that there were multiple wars of independence. By this he meant that besides our American Revolution there were multiple Indian nations also seeking independence from European rule. Other presenters expressed the same idea.

Whaley brought up the importance of telling stories through individuals. She returned to that theme in the Q&A by commenting that teachers on the ground are hungry for these stories as are their students. She said our stories are civics meaning they touch on ideals as well as personal lives. Since we are a storytelling species, it seems logical to me that one of the most effective ways to reach the public will be through stories about individuals. People relate to stories.

The Q&A raised some pertinent questions:

1. Where is military history? – this theme has been raised before in my blogs and will be again so I am just noting that it was asked for now.
2. What resources will be available in 2026? – this topic was the subject of a previous blog on the state of the National Commission. It will be addressed in a forthcoming blog on a report just issued by the AASLH on the state of the 250th.

Whaley responded with the critical point of the challenge to smaller organizations that do not have the resources to get their message out. I have mentioned this concern several times as well. I will return to it in a blog on a national history organization census just completed by AASLH. It highlights the number of small volunteer history organizations throughout the country.

3. A community college teacher commented that she was shocked at what must be happening at the k-12 level given the knowledge of her students.

The next session was War and the Revolution. The panelists were:

David Waldstreicher (The Graduate Center, CUNY)
Rebecca Brannon (James Madison University)
Kieran O’Keefe (George Washington University)
Moderator: Brendan McConville (Boston University)

The one hour and thirteen minute session can be viewed here.

There are multiple points of interest to recount from this session.

1. the participants in the American Revolution referred to it as a civil war.
2. the local fighting was often out of control of the national armies.
3. the question of the impact of photographs [the internet, disinformation] was asked if that technology had existed [as it did during the Civil War].
4. the shock of the French fleet appearing in New England as our allies to people who remembered the French and Indian War.
5. the issue of how do we (northerners) include the South in the story?

This last item is one of particular interest to me. Typically people refer to marginalized peoples in the national narrative as told by white men. What this simplified vision ignores was that in the 19th century these white men tended to be from Massachusetts — does the word “Harvard” ring a bell — so there were plenty of white men left out of or minimized in the “Harvard” version of the American Revolution.

The next session was The Revolution Beyond its Borders with panelists:

Andrew Jackson O’Shaughnessy (Saunders Director, Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello)
Kathleen DuVal (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)
Ashli White (University of Miami)
Moderator: Eliga Gould (University of New Hampshire.

The one hour and five minute session can be viewed here.

Duval noted that boundaries were not clear then. 13 was not yet a magic number and there was no sea-to-shining-sea country. The frequently-overlooked Spain had increased its colonial holdings and defeated the British in battles such as at Mobile and Pensacola. She, too, observed that multiple wars of independence were occurring including among competing Indian nations. The maps that show only a sliver of the continent in 1783 are deceptive.

Duval presented other information that is directly relevant. Spain and the Indians now had a joint enemy – the need to stop the “plague of locusts.” She said the Cherokee national leaders also wanted to be recognized as a nation.  They were aware of the actions taken by the United States. She quoted Onondaga Clear Sky in 1794:

… we are of the same opinion with the people of the Unite States. You call yourselves free and independent. We as the ancient inhabitants of this country and the sovereigns of tis soil say we are equally as free as you or any nation of nations under the sun.

One could add that recent Supreme Court decisions attest the continued issue of authority and the tribal nations. As a reminder the centennial of the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924 provides a needed opportunity to revisit the questions of sovereignty (What Are You Doing for the Indian Citizenship Act (1924) Centennial?  August 6, 2021). Personally, I would welcome a conference on this topic.

O’Shaughnessy commented on the academic blind spot to doing military history. In so doing, we ignore the significance of a counter-insurgency. One implication of his observation is that if we recognized our own origins in a successful counter-insurgency we would be more likely to recognize its effective potential elsewhere today. Along those lines he compared the failure of the people who told LBJ and King George III that their respective wars were being lost: these leaders only heard what they wanted to hear.

Both O’Shaughnessy and White commented on role of the Caribbean. Why didn’t they rebel too? What about the future revolutions in France and Haiti? One might add the revolt in Jamaica. Another consideration is not just the Loyalists who evacuated New York on November 25, 1783, for Canada, but the southern evacuations to the Caribbean. While we focus on the settlers from England in the 1600s we tend to overlook the settlers from Barbados to the Carolinas and that the Caribbean was their homeland.

At this point, I raised a question in the Chat function about the presenters’ use of the term “America” to mean the United States. Don’t scholars from Central America and South America also use the same word without limiting the meaning to the United States? That led to additional comments in the Chat about when “America” was first used to refer solely to the United States. One registrant referred to a speech in the Nova Scotia Gazette published on May 2, 1775 on this usage. Another chimed in that is interesting that Canadians used the term this early. Another traced the reproduction of the speech back to a London newspaper.

The next-to-last session of the conference was education oriented: Commemorations and Classrooms. The panelists were:

Cindy MacLeod (Superintendent, Independence National Historical Park)
Shaquita Smith (Social Studies Curriculum Specialist, School District of Philadelphia)
Ismael Jimenez (Social Studies Curriculum Specialist, School District of Philadelphia)
Robert Allison (Revolution 250/Suffolk University)
Moderator: Kyle Roberts (Associate Director of Library & Museum Programming, American Philosophical Society)

The one hour and seven minute session can be viewed here.

MacLeod observed that people think history is names, dates, and places. I note this observation is frequently made. On the one hand, it contributes to the high trust people have in museums and organizations presumed to present names, dates, and places. On the other hand, it can be boring too. MacLeod alluded to this perception with her call to make history come alive. As just noted we are a story-telling species hungry for stories about individuals. Does the name Hamilton ring a bell?

Smith put a physical dimension to history. Don’t just put textbooks in front of students. Visit museums. See artifacts. I would add visit the actual sites which was the basic theme of IHARE’s Teacherhostels/Historyhostels.

Smith deplored the current battle with the internet. Students go online first. They do not know how to fact check. They do not know how to analyze multiple sources. We are not winning the battle.

Jimenez reiterated the point: to students history is facts and dates. He added the many Americans could not pass the citizenship test which is an indictment of our education system. His students are shocked that the BOSTON MASSACRE was five deaths – more than that can occur at a high school [or July 4 parade] today! His Philadelphia students do not know why the local professional basketball team is named the 76ers. He sees America as unraveling and the need for a new narrative. He states we are not winning the conversation with older adults on history research. Given the emphasis by the national commissions on celebrating the 250th in Philadelphia mentioned in previous blogs, these comments by a Philadelphia teacher on the disconnect between his students and the American Revolution are disturbing.

Allison was just as disturbing. History is an inquiry into the past but we are not doing a good job of informing the public. He pointed out that 8th grade may be the last time students learn about American history in a school environment. He does not say so, but what exactly are the thinking skills in an 8th grader anyway? The maturation process continues to age 25 on average but the cutoff for history classes requiring thinking is at age 13!

In the Q&A, some of the comments were:

1. what do we do when we are not a wealthy history museum?
2. scholarship is not trickling down
3. getting a state commission passed for the 250th is difficult and there are grudges in the state history community (Jonathan Lane, Massachusetts)
4. historians do not necessarily know how to talk to people (meaning non-academics).

Closing Keynote: Reflections on the Past; Ideas for the Future

Alan Taylor (University of Virginia)
Mary Beth Norton (Cornell University)
Moderator: Serena Zabin (Carleton College)

The one hour fifteen minutes session can be viewed here. Each panelist spoke separately followed by a Q&A.

Norton recalled that on her first visit to the Yorktown battlefield it was a Civil War site. Now it has become an American Revolution one. She also recalled her own pioneering work on women in the American Revolution and noted that the segregated study of women exists. As for her own students at Cornell, they would have been Loyalists!

Taylor joined the chorus of scholars realizing that we are not connecting that well with the general public. He said this was a fraught moment for the Republic. Historians need to contribute positively to overcoming the danger. He said the assumption that the next generation of Americans could be shaped through government mandates has created a burden for teachers. He, too, noted that the national myth is unraveling and he didn’t know what to do. Most distressing, don’t you think to hear this from a leading American historian?

In response to the question of the moderator, Taylor elaborated on his presentation above. He said scholars need to listen and not just tell people which is a turnoff. The other side doesn’t expect us to listen to them since to them we are elitists. Compromise was not possible. Purism has become the goal … and it can get worse.

One question from the audience was a statement: if you wanted to have the South in the Union then the United States had to have slavery, an issue noted in a previous session (above).

That statement about slavery is historically accurate but unacceptable to many people today. As we get closer and closer to 2026, more and more people will say the Great Compromise that made the Constitution possible should have been rejected – the compromise with slavery should not have been accepted. We should have been “pure.” It would have been better if the country had failed and divided into its constituent parts. Then there would have been no Civil War since the Union and the Confederacy already would have existed. Then the third civil war would not be fought today since the red and blue states already would have been divided into the Blue and Grey countries.

So far at least, all the planning for the 250th, however meager it may be, is still based on our being a single country in 2026.

Controversy at the United States Semiquincentennial Commission

Semiquincentennial Commission (Wikipedia)

In my last blog, I began to explore the current situation regarding the American Revolution 250th.  I laid out certain parameters and begin to write about them one-by-one. The response was pretty good as I think the history community wants to know what is going on with the 250th.

However, my proposed sequence has been upset by an expose on the fighting at the national level about the event. The article will be published in Philadelphia Magazine in the July issue as “The Battle for America’s Birthday.” I was sent a web link to the online version posted on the magazine’s website June 27, 2022, with the title “The Ugly Philly Centric Feud at the Center of America’s 250th Birthday Celebration” by David Murrell. The article was a shock which is why I am sharing it with the history community


Readers of my blogs generally are aware that Congress established a national commission in 2016 called the United States Semiquincentennial Commission. Since that time, the Commission has operated generally below the radar. Few people have had much contact with it or know what it has been doing.

So far the primary consideration for history organizations has been that it will be the dispenser of funding through the conduit of state organizations. This is partially why the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) has been so adamant about tracking and promoting the creation of state commissions throughout the country. Besides being a good idea anyway, they will be essential for federal funding at the state and local level.

Two national concerns have been expressed by me and others in relation to this approach.

First, the Commission has an expiration date following the July 4, 2026, celebration. For many states, such as in New York, the 250th anniversaries of events in our states will just be beginning then. For example New Yorkers only toppled the statue of King George III after the Declaration was read in what is now lower Manhattan. The British then occupied the city for seven years until Evacuation Day on November 25, 1783. In other words, the Commission concludes just when the story is accelerating.

Second, many American Revolution events are not bound by state boundaries today. Think of Rochambeau’s March from Rhode Island to Virginia involving nine states and opportunities to work with France today. Note – a sixth generation descendant of Rochambeau already has visited the Odell House in Westchester County where I live, the site where the decision was made to march south instead of trying to evict the British from New York City. The state-based approach is not geared to multi-state events.

In short there were a lot of questions about the operation of the Commission even before this article appeared.


In 2011, Andrew Hohns founded USA250. It was and is a non-profit dedicated simultaneously to a nationwide celebration of the 250th and that it be based in Philadelphia, his city. He envisioned not simply a party but a massive investment worthy of a summer Olympics. Instead of sports venues, the funding would be directed towards infrastructure improvements and historical preservation with longterm benefits. He estimated a minimal budget of $2.5 billion but would have preferred $20.26 billion. Clearly he thinks big!

Philadelphia certainly seems to be a worthy choice for an historic anniversary celebration. It is where the Declaration of Independence was written, approved, and declared. It has buildings and a bell from that time. It hosted the Centennial in 1876, the Sesquicentennial in 1926, and the Bicentennial in 1976 which some of the readers of this blog may have attended. The Centennial cost $300 million in current dollars and had an attendance of 10 million people equal to 25% of the population of the country. Imagine 80 million people pouring into Philadelphia today! How would they travel to the city and around the city? Where would they stay? What would they see?

It is reasonable to understand why a local Philadelphian would dream big about 2026, but that is not the same as operating a national history commission today.


In 2014, the USA250 had a fulltime executive director. It had provisional funding commitments from major corporations like Walmart and Johnson & Johnson. As a private non-profit, it seemed on its way to bigger and better things. So when the Commission began in 2018 to search for the official non-profit partner, Hohns expected his entity would be the chosen one.

Wrong. Instead the Commission chose the American Battlefield Trust. I get their emails. It does just what its name suggests – it seeks to acquire, restore, and maintain battlefields. Traditionally these battlefields are from the Civil War. There is nothing in its history that would suggest it is the right organization to steer the celebration of the 250th either in Philadelphia or nationally. Apparently, the organization soon realized it and bowed out. This led to the creation of the American250 Foundation and it and not the USA250 remains the partner as of today.


The article details the members of the voluntary Commission. The appointees tended to be white males as one might expect even in the Obama era. They also tended to be from Pennsylvania. Then in 2019, the aforementioned America250 Foundation was created as a non-profit tasked with running the day-to-day planning for the 250th. According to the article the story of the American250 Foundation is not a pretty one. This foundation operates without effective supervision, no one is in charge, has contentious on-line meetings where the mute button is used prominently, awards non-competitive contracts to “consultant” friends, to say nothing of a sexist and toxic work environment. And this was only with the first $20 million of federal funding. Naturally, there have been lawsuits.

In 2021, Anna Laymon who had been executive director of the federal commission of the women’s suffrage centennial, took the position of Vice President of programming and planning. She had heard that the American250 Foundation “had a reputation for being a total disaster” as quoted in the article.  She soon learn the warnings were justified as detailed in the article as well.

According to Commissioner Noah Griffin who had been appointed by House Speaker Nancy Peolosi, “The whole thing has basically been a sham.”

Rene Burchard who was hired in April 2020 as the chief administrative officer without there being a coherent organization to administer, said absent leadership changes at the Federal Commission, “I do not see any way that this is going to be what the vision was in the beginning.”

Later in 2021, Joe Daniels who had been the CEO of the 9/11 Memorial in New York City (and on my NYC distribution list), became CEO.

According to the article Hohns worries that the Semiquincentennial risks being still born years before it’s even set to begin. That comment signifies a lack of concern for the events prior to July 4, 1776, as well as afterwards. I guess the Boston Tea Party and Lexington and Concord are not part of Hohns thinking either. There is no sense of addressing what the national narrative should be for the 21st century. There is no sense that what increasingly is understood as America’s first civil war is relevant today as we fight the third one. Who knows if there even will be a united United States of America with the current 50 states on July 4, 2026, anyway?

My suggestion that Joe Biden name George Bush and Barack Obama as co-chairs of the federal commission seems better and better. For now, local and state organizations should think about Plan B. Nationally, it seems like we are on the Titanic with the iceberg dead ahead in broad daylight and we are aimed at it.

Day 4 The House Select Committee and the American Revolution 250th

Don't throw ketchup on my wall! - The true testimony of President Harrison Ford

The actions of the House Select Committee have ripple effects beyond the simple “who done it?” investigations. Before turning to its meaning for the American Revolution 250th, I must digress to an image from the sixth and most recent session. When you heard the story of the President of the United States grabbing for first the steering wheel of the car and then the clavicle of the Secret Agent sworn to protect him, what images crossed your mind?

The first image that came to my mind was not of the immature child-president who throws ketchup on the wall but the heroic President Harrison Ford in Air Force One. He memorably says “Get off of my plane” as he dispatches the Russian foe who had been aided by a traitor Secret Service agent. The other image was of Clint Eastwood wrestling with a renegade Secret Service agent who placed loyalty to the President over loyalty to the Constitution in Absolute Power. I know The Godfather was mentioned numerous times by commentators. When I wrote my first political thriller blog back on January 3, 2021, I had no idea what was to happen.


Another movie image which has been mentioned was the comparison to Jimmy Stewart in Day 4 of the hearings. The actual person testifying was Rusty Bowers, Republic Speaker of the House of Representatives in Arizona. He came across as a tall dignified taciturn person who delivered the plain-spoken truth. His delivery was to the point of the questions posed to him. He spared no one and nothing in his answers.

Bowers did prove the value of bringing a gun to a gun fight rather than a plastic spoon as the Democrats do. One of his exchanges involved Rudy Giuliani, one the people sure to be indicted by the Department of Justice for his role in the insurrection. Giuliani professed to have information about voter fraud in Arizona. Bowers calmly replied words to the effect of “Show me the evidence.” Bowers called for Giuliani to present the names of the alleged fraudulent voters. Needless to say, Giuliani never provided such evidence because there is no such evidence.

This exchange illustrates the exact technique Democrats should deploy against every claim of a stolen election. Democrats should be challenging every individual Trumpican to “show me the names” every time any of them say the election was stolen. Then they should repeat the charge the next day. Everyone who claims the election was stolen and who is an elected official or running for office should be challenged every day to “show me names” until they shut up or decide to name names as Trump did twice in Georgia.

Bowers elicited two unexpected responses in his exchange with Giuliani. The first is the destined to be repeated in legal and political circles for years to come:

We’ve got lots of theories, we just don’t have the evidence.

The second is one that has been overlooked as far as I can tell. The President then urged his lawyer to comply with the request of Bowers. Why did he do that? Did he think that Giuliani really had such evidence and that it would be routine to provide it? In other words, had he fallen for his own con and convinced himself that such evidence really existed? Was he completely susceptible to every claim Giuliani made whereas he repeatedly rejected the words of Barr and everyone else who told him truth? I think a case can be made that by that time he had drunk his own Kool Aid and had become a permanent resident of Coo Coo Land.

One other comment of Bowers stands out for non-legal reasons. Bowers believes the Constitution is “divinely inspired.”

I do not want to be a winner by cheating. I will not play with laws I swore allegiance to.

For Bowers to be asked to violate his oath to this sacred document was “foreign to my very being.” Even though Donald Trump asked him to violate his oath to the Constitution, Bowers still said he would vote for Trump in 2024 (although he apparently hopes he has an alternative in a robust primary).

Back home, local papers reported on the reaction to the testimony by the Republican Speaker of the House.

Thank Rusty Bowers, but remember these Arizona politicians who tried to thwart democracy
Laurie Roberts Arizona Republic June 21 2022

On one hand, Bowers has been the recipient of cheers in the airport for standing up to Trump. In Arizona the politicians who were complicit in the fake electors scheme and who support Trump’s effort to steal the election denounce him as a RINO. As we just saw in elections last night in Colorado and Mississippi, in some districts at least there still are enough Republicans to outvote Trumpicans in primaries. We will have to wait and see if Arizona is an insurrection state that will rig the vote in 2024.


In a blog on the American Revolution 250th (American Revolution 250th Update June 24, 2022), I wrote about “Foundations of Independence Protest and Communication in Revolutionary America, 1770-2020” conference by Iona College and the Institute for Thomas Paine Studies. I reported that one concept gaining traction is to view the 250th as a time of commemoration and not celebration. There is a need to include the negative aspects of the American Revolution that have been marginalized. What is not clear is why living in a society that can face negative aspects in its history and revise a national narrative is not cause for celebration as presenter Zara Anishanslin, University of Delaware, had suggested. Exactly how many countries do this anyway – expand this national narrative to be more inclusive? The story of the American Revolution should be contextualized. It would be disappointing if the 250th ended up only being a series of parades according to one speaker.

One hopes that part of the contextualization will include comparing the United States at its birth with the rest of the world. How many large multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-religious countries with no slavery and where all adults could vote and live freely based on their sexual orientation were there in 1776 or 1787 or today? How much did the Declaration of Independence contribute to the very words and ideals later expressed in subsequent social and political movements?

At this point I am drawn to the comments of Bowers. He referred to the Constitution as “divinely inspired.”

Did any of the presenters as this conference share that perception?
Do academics have any sympathy, empathy, or sensitivity for Americans who share such views?
Are academics more likely to refer to the shortcomings in the American Revolution? That America was born in sin? That America needs to redeem itself?

As best I recall, in all the conferences I have attended online or in-person or lectures I have heard both by individuals and history organizations including national ones, there is no one who is reaching out to people who think the Constitution is divinely inspired. My prediction is that the 250th will be weaponized into another culture war conflict between the Woke who disparage America and the Trumpicans who abuse it with the people on Team Normal being ignored.

American Revolution 250th Update

Is there a place for a "divinely inspired" Constitution in your 250th?

I have returned from the American Revolution in the Mohawk Valley conference run by the Fort Plain Museum and am preparing for the July 4 parade by the Lower Manhattan Historical Association. This seems like a good time to catch up on what has been going on in the world of the American Revolution 250th.

There are four different tracks to consider:

1. American Revolution scholarship – this refers to academics talking to academics about their work on the Revolution.
2. 250th Institutional Conferences – these are meetings which may or may not involve academics but are primarily geared to the institutions which will be offering public programs in conjunction with the 250th or are teaching it in k-12 schools.
3. 250th Public Conferences (and programs) – the Mohawk Valley conference I just attended is an example with presentations by scholars to a general public audience.
4. Tours – these are physical events involving American Revolution sites such as the bus trip as part of the Mohawk Valley program.

This blog will begin to survey some of the programs which I have attended in person or online within this rubric.


One example of this type of program is the “Foundations of Independence Protest and Communication in Revolutionary America, 1770-2020” by Iona College and the Institute for Thomas Paine Studies. I mention it because this past weekend besides Juneteenth there also was short symposium by the Thomas Paine Historical Association and ribbon-cutting for their building approximately one mile from the Iona campus.

Some of the topics discussed and the subsequent Q&A touched on areas which may of interest to the general public:

1. the lack of press coverage then of British atrocities on prisoner of war ships
2. the differences in speed in the dissemination of information then versus today
3. classification of death as due to lunacy and not suicide which was a criminal act as a way for the family to maintain the estate – the position of coroner was an unpaid lawyer and not a doctor who participated in a money-making scheme for the crown.

This blog is not intended to report the entire conference proceedings but sometimes certain items really caught my attention in unexpected ways. One technique employed by presenter Jacqueline Reynoso was to give students a packet of curated newspaper articles on the failed military campaign to capture Quebec at the onset of hostilities. The students then followed the news as the colonists did one article at a time but without knowing the ending. Needless to say, the same teaching technique could be used for the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The newspapers provided the students with the opportunity to think through, speculate, and explore contingencies.  In the Q&A, mention was made of students enjoying the actual touching of replica newspapers versus the more sensory removed digitized newspapers.

Even though this was an academic conference, in the plenary, Zara Anishanslin, University of Delaware stated there was a need to tear down the walls between the academy and the public including historical societies if we are to survive. She also mentioned the often-repeated warning of Benjamin Franklin about our having a republic if we can keep it. These words are eerily relevant as only a few days ago Judge Luttig in his testimony to the House Select Committee claimed there was a clear and present danger resulting from the unprecedented constitutional crisis in the attempt to overthrow the government which had occurred. He warned that it could be repeated in 2024 with 2020 ending up as only a trial run. It is quite possible that the focus of historical attention may shift from the American Revolution period of winning our independence to the period immediately afterword in preserving it. George Washington stepping down from power as a military leader and then as president may become a figure of importance for what happened after 1783 beyond what happened before then.

Anishanslin ended her talk on images of Betsy Ross and Lady Liberty with a musket by urging the audience to think about how we use art and architecture to celebrate, a reminder of how fast images become national given the change in technology.

Lauren Duval, University of Oklahoma, added that the 250th presents a moment to include scholarship on the memory of the American Revolution and an opportunity to reshape how we remember it. On paper the sentiment seems valid. The challenge is how exactly the scholars are to do this without becoming caught up in the culture wars.

That challenge was expressed during the Q&A when the question was asked if it is possible to tell an honest story of the American Revolution that is still celebratory. Anishanslin replied that it is a more exciting story by expanding it. True but here is where the words used and way it is done is critical to determine whether or not the audience will accept the changes to the narrative being expressed by the scholars.


The conference session on the 250th highlighted this challenge. One concept gaining traction is to view the 250th as a time of commemoration and not celebration. There is a need to include the negative aspects of the American Revolution that have been marginalized. What is not clear is why living in a society that can face negative aspects in its history and revise a national narrative is not cause for celebration as Anishanslin suggested. Exactly how many countries do this anyway – expand this national narrative to be more inclusive?

New York State historian Devin Lander observed that New York should not just congratulate itself for the abolition of slavery in 1827, Seneca Falls, and Stonewall. Instead it should ask itself why these events needed to happen in the first place. The story of the American Revolution should be contextualized. It would be disappointing he said if the 250th ended up only being a series of parades.

One hopes that part of the contextualization will include comparing the United States at its birth with the rest of the world. How many large multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-religious countries with no slavery and where all adults could vote and live freely based on their sexual orientation were there in 1776 or 1787 or today? How much did the Declaration of Independence contribute to the very words and ideals later expressed in subsequent social and political movements?

At this point I am drawn to the comments of Arizona State House Speaker Rusty Bowers. In the fourth session of the House Select Committee hearings, he referred to the Constitution as “divinely inspired.”

Do any of the presenters as this conference share that perception?
Do academics have any sympathy, empathy, or sensitivity for Americans who share such views?
Are academics more likely to refer to the shortcomings in the American Revolution? That America was born in sin? That America needs to redeem itself?

As best I recall, in all the conferences I have attended online or in-person or lectures I have heard both by individuals and history organizations including national ones, there is no one who is reaching out to people who think the Constitution is divinely inspired. My prediction is that the 250th will be weaponized into another culture war conflict between the Woke who disparage America and the Trumpicans who abuse it with the people on Team Normal being ignored.