Adams, Abigail (1744-1818) Wife, Mother, Home

Adams, Abigail (1744-1818) Wife, Mother, Home-maker: Abigail Adams received no formal education, but was
taught at home. Although she was never a published author, much of her private correspondence with her
husband, John , and her many friends survives to this day, and represents the thoughts, attitudes, and lifestyles of
at least some women during the Revolutionary Period. Like many women of her time and socio-economic status,
Adams was concerned about the social and political issues of her day. Like her cousin, the historian Mercy Otis
Warren, she felt that women were not given sufficient status and rights. Adams felt that girls should receive a
formal education similar to boys, so that they could be prepared for their vital role as republican women. She was
also an opponent of chattel slavery. Her husband, John Adams, was the first vice-president and the second
president of the United States. Her son, John Quincy Adams, was the fifth president of the United States. Her
grandson, Charles Francis Adams, published her letters in 1840.
Adams, Samuel was born in 1722 to a prosperous brewing and land owning family. Adams’ career was fulfilling
and tremendously exciting. He developed an early passion for politics, one which would prove to be the driving
force in his life. Initially, he was active in small political clubs where he challenged the aristocratic and
conservative government that was then in power, and emerged as a defender of populist interests. Angered by
the Sugar and Stamp Acts of 1764 and 1765, he became a driving force behind the formation of the secretive Sons
of Liberty, a militant, anti-British group.
Arnold, Benedict (1741-1801) British General: Benedict Arnold began as a successful merchant in New Haven,
Connecticut. He served in the Continental Army, working with soldiers such as Ethan Allan to bring about the
capitulation of Fort Ticonderoga in 1775. The next year, he led one of the two columns invading Quebec. In
October of 1776, Brigadier General Arnold stopped Guy Carleton at the Battle of Valcour Island. As a major
general, he was an important part of the American victory at Saratoga. After that point, his career began to
disintegrate. Arnold's debt grew after his second marriage; He was unfairly criticized by political adversaries, and
felt that he was unappreciated by his fellow Americans. Possibly for these reasons, he made a secret deal with
Major John André to surrender West Point to the British in exchange for a royal military commission and a large
monetary payment. When his plan was discovered by the patriots, he fled to the British and was made a brigadier
general of a loyalist legion. After the war, Arnold worked as a merchant shipper in England, where he died.
Banneker, Benjamin (1731-1806): African-American Astronomer, Almanac writer: Born into Maryland's free black
community, Banneker was educated at home and in a Quaker school, which allowed him to develop his gift for
mathematics. He farmed land his parents left for him, spending his free time in independent study and
correspondence with other scientists and mathematicians. In 1770, he built a clock that chimed all the hours, the
first of its kind to be made in America. Banneker had such a high reputation that he was asked to be a member of
a commission to survey the boundaries of the country's capital. He studied astronomy with books lent to him by a
neighbor, becoming so proficient that he was able to publish his own almanac in 1792. Banneker supplemented
the astronomical tables with writings by himself and others on pacifism, Christian love, and the abolition of the
slave trade. He even proposed a "Peace Office" to be established in addition to the already existing War Office.
Banneker put out an annual edition of his almanac every year until his death in 1806.
Brant, Joseph [Thayendanegea] (1742-1807) Leader of the Mohawk Iroquois: Brother of Mary (Konwatsi'tsiaienni)
Brant, he was educated by missionaries among the Iroquois because of the patronage of his sister's companion,
British Indian Superintendent Sir William Johnson. Brant also studied with Eleazer Wheelock in Connecticut.
Brant's sister ordered him to return home at the outbreak of Pontiac's Rebellion, and he worked as an interpreter
for visiting missionaries for about ten years; by 1774, he was interpreting for the British Indian Department as
well. The next year, he traveled to London, was presented at court, and even dined with Boswell. After his return
to America in 1776, Brant and his warriors supported the loyalists. Brant worked with Iroquois Mohawks in both
Canada and what would become the United States, resisting American invasions of Native American homelands.
He was a skillful leader but, although he was once called "the most ferocious being" ever born, he was never a
butcher. Described by Daniel Claus as "sober, quiet, and good-natured," Brant was actively involved in the
political, economic, and religious life of the Canadian Mohawks from 1785 until his death.
Burgoyne, John (1722-1792) British General and Politician: Although Burgoyne was in Boston during the Battle of
Bunker Hill, he was without command. He traveled to Britain, then returned to America in 1776 with
reinforcements for Sir Guy Carleton in Quebec. He returned to Britain, then came back to America again in 1777
to command an army that was directed to enter New York via Canada and join Sir William Howe's troops at
Albany. In the midst of this mission, however, Burgoyne and his troops were defeated and taken prisoner by
Horatio Gates at Saratoga. It is not clear to what degree Burgoyne was responsible for the British defeat at
Saratoga, one of the major turning points of the war. Although he earned the nickname "Gentleman Johnny,"
implying a casual attitude toward his military responsibilities, modern historians feel that Burgoyne was a
competent and innovative leader. When he was released in 1778, Burgoyne sailed to Britain, where he took a seat
in Parliament and spoke out against the war.
Clark, George Rogers (1752-1818) General: Clark received little formal education as a child, but eventually
pursued became a surveyor. During the Revolutionary War, Clark worked to protect Kentucky and frontier
settlements from British attacks. He was appointed Lieutenant-Colonel, and captures Kaskaskia and Vincennes
from the British, without firing one shot. Although the British recaptured Vincennes, Clark captured it again, along
with its commander, Henry Hamilton. In 1781, as a brigadier general, he led a final expedition against the loyalist
Shawnee tribe of Native Americans. Clark was able to achieve a significant advantage for the patriots in the
western war, despite insufficient financial assistance and supplies. After the war, Clark's reputation was tarnished
by his 1786 unauthorized and unsuccessful attack on the Wabash tribe of Native Americans. Near the end of his
life, he became seriously ill, both mentally and physically, due to alcoholism and strokes.
Goddard, Mary Katherine (1738-1816) Printer: Goddard learned about printing from her parents in Rhode Island,
then assisted her brother in producing the Pennsylvania Chronicle in the late 1760's. In 1774, she became the sole
editor and publisher of the Maryland Journal. Goddard was appointed postmaster of Baltimore, one of few
women to hold public office, and remained in office for 14 years. She is best known, however, for having printed
the first copy of the Declaration of Independence that included the names of all the signers, in January 1777. She
even paid the post riders to carry it throughout the rebellious colonies. Goddard was removed from her job as
postmaster in 1789, under President George Washington. Samuel Osgood took over the position, claiming that
the travel involved in the job would make it too strenuous and inappropriate for a woman. Nevertheless, Goddard
continued to work as a printer and bookseller until her death in 1816.
Hamilton, Alexander (1757-1804) Statesman: Hamilton wrote pamphlets supporting the patriotic cause, and
joined the army in 1776. Hamilton became General Washington's secretary and aide-de-camp in 1777,
demonstrating his administrative ability. He supported a more powerful central government and a broad program
of economic development. After the war, he planned and wrote a great deal of The Federalist, in an attempt to
help the ratification of the new Constitution. In 1789, Washington appointed Hamilton Secretary of the Treasury.
Hamilton retired to a lucrative New York legal practice in 1795, but remained involved in public affairs. He plotted
against the election of John Adams, and tried to influence members of Adams' cabinet behind his back. In 1800,
he used his political power to deter the election of Aaron Burr. This, along with other unfriendly actions, caused
Burr to challenge Hamilton to a duel in July 1804, which left Hamilton dead.
Johnson, Sir William (1715-1774) British Official: Johnson was born in Ireland and emigrated to America in 1738.
He managed his uncle's estates in New York and began trading with Native Americans and making frontier land
investments. His business became so lucrative that the Iroquois named him Warraghiyagey, or "he who does big
business." During the French and Indian War, he commanded troops to victory at Crown Point and Niagara. He
was made a baron, commissioned "Colonel of the Six Nations," and eventually appointed British Indian
Superintendent for the Northern Department. Johnson was an ambitious man and, although his achievements did
not rival his aspirations, he played a key role as a negotiator in Iroquois affairs and as a shaper of royal policies
dealing with Native Americans.
Knox, Henry (1750-1806) General: Knox taught himself military science so skillfully that, despite his lack of
battlefield experience, Congress appointed him a colonel in charge of the Continental Artillery in 1775. He then
proceeded to transform the small artillery into a major force in the Continental Army. Knox's artillery supported
the infantry at Trenton and Princeton, Brandywine, Germantown, and Monmouth. The gunners later displayed
their proficiency with siege warfare at Boston and Yorktown. In recognition of his achievements, Congress
appointed him a major general in March 1782, retroactive to November 1781. After the war, Knox worked to
establish a strong central government and effective military for the emerging United States.
Marion, Francis (1732-1795) General: Marion grew up in South Carolina. He became a wealthy farmer, although
he dreamed of seafaring. During the Revolutionary War, Marion served in the state and federal forces, and was
eventually appointed a colonel in the Continental Army and a brigadier general in the South Carolina militia. He
became known as "Swamp Fox" because of his mastery of guerilla strategy and his intimate knowledge of the
terrain. In addition to winning numerous battle victories, Marion was remarkably willing and able to coordinate
his state forces with the Continental Army's activities.
McGinn, Sarah Cass (b. 1717) Loyalist supporter (worked with many Native Americans): When she was a child,
McGinn was befriended by the Iroquois, who took her as one of their own people. She got married, but was
widowed in 1755. Her family's property was confiscated once the Revolutionary War began, since her family was
Royalist. McGinn was often interrogated, and was offered money and security protection to work for
independence and to gain the support of the Native Americans for the patriots. After she refused, she escaped to
join the British forces in Fort Stanwix. McGinn was sent to Canada to secure Cayuga loyalty to the British. Since
the Iroquois nations were matrilineal, and matrons held positions of authority, McGinn was able to speak and be
heard in tribal councils. McGinn was politically active and influential to a degree that was impossible for women
living in European-American colonial society.
Revere, Paul (1735-1818) Silversmith, Engraver: Born in Boston, Revere studied the silver trade with his father. He
took over the family shop in 1754, and soon was one of the leading artisans in the city. After the passage of the
Stamp Act in 1765, Revere joined several patriot organizations, using his artisan skills to engrave political
cartoons. He became a leader of the Sons of Liberty, and took part in the Boston Tea Party of 1773. Revere also
rode as a courier for the Massachusetts committee of correspondence and printed money for the provincial
congress. His most famous action in service to the revolutionary cause, however, was his midnight ride on April
18-19, 1775. Revere rode to Lexington, Massachusetts to warn the colonists that the British were marching to
confiscate munitions stored at Concord. During the war, Revere founded a powder mill in Canton and was a militia
officer, although both the expeditions in which he participated were unsuccessful. After the war, Revere became a
prosperous businessman, and, in 1791, established the first copper rolling mill in America.
Salomon, Hayim (1740-1785) Financier: Salomon immigrated from Poland to New York at the age of 32. He set up
business as a bill-broker, purchasing and selling currencies at a discount. When the Revolutionary War broke out,
Salomon moved to Philadelphia and began to negotiate the sale of Continental currency for hard French and
Dutch bills. Asking for a nearly negligible commission on transactions, he made himself available for Congress,
which appointed him official Broker to the Office of Finance of the United States, The French consulate appointed
him Treasurer of the French Army in America. Salomon was able to maintain a thriving private business in addition
to his official duties, despite his interest-free personal loans to such government officials as James Madison,
Thomas Jefferson, General von Steuben, and General St. Clair.
Steuben, Friedrich Wilhelm Ludolf Gerhard Augustin (1730-1794) Prussian General: Born in the Prussian fortress in
which his father was an officer of engineers, Steuben joined the Prussian Army at the age of 17 , serving as an
infantry officer, a corps staff officer, and an aide to Frederick the Great. In 1764, he left the military for political
reasons and became chamberlain of a petty German court. He went to Paris and, in 1777, offered his services to
Benjamin Franklin, who sent him to America. Steuben had inflated his credentials, however, and his journey to
America was perhaps the only thing that would have saved him from debt and obscurity. In 1778, Congress
accepted him as a volunteer without rank in the Continental Army, and sent him to Valley Forge. Four months
later, he attained the rank of major general, and trained troops with a new system of drill that consisted of
European practices modified to American needs. The next year, Congress authorized the publication of Steuben's
Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the Troops of the United States, known as the "Blue Book." Although
Steuben helped the patriot cause in many ways, his major contribution was increasing the professionalism of the
army. After retiring in 1784, he settled in New York.
Warren, Mercy Otis (1728-1814) Poet, Playwright, and Historian: Warren was born into a leading patriot family;
her brother was the pamphleteer James Otis, and her cousin was Abigail Adams, wife of patriot leader John
Adams. She emerged as a literary talent in the late colonial period, with plays such as The Adulateur of 1773 and
The Group of 1775. Although she wrote poetry and essays on patriotic and other subjects, her magnum opus was
the History of the Rise, Progress, and Termination of the American Revolution, published in 1805. She wrote this
three-volume tome out of concern that the post-Revolution generation was forgetting the ideals of the revolution
in its voracious desire to obtain wealth. Although Warren was much more publically active than most women of
her time, none of her writings dealt with issues of women's rights. She seemed to adopt the attitude that men
were and ought to be the major players in history, but that women could affect events indirectly through their
influence on husbands, fathers, and other male relations.
Wheatley, Phillis (1754-1784): African-American poet: Born in West Africa, Wheatley was brought to North
America and sold in a slave market in Boston at the age of six or seven. John and Susannah Wheatley, her owners,
originally intended to train her to be a domestic slave, but decided to educate her at home with their children.
She was a gifted child, and this soon became apparent. Wheatley wrote her first poem, "To the University of
Cambridge," in 1767, and her work commemorating the death of George Whitefield was published in 1770. The
Wheatleys made great attempts to foster her literary talent, and she became an internationally-known poet by
the time she was 20 years old. Members of the emerging abolitionist movement in America often referred to
Wheatley as evidence that Africans and African-Americans were neither inferior nor congenitally stupid and lazy,
contrary to popular belief. Although Wheatley was a devout Christian and strong supporter of the patriot cause,
she never used her poetry as a platform to speak against slavery. In 1778, Wheatley married John Peters, a black
lawyer, and had three children, although two of them died at an early age.