tv Occupied Cities During the American Revolution CSPAN June 8, 2020 3:06pm-4:55pm EDT
revolution to september 11th. "lectures in history" every saturday at 8:00 p.m. eastern on "american history tv." it's available as a podcast. find it where you listen to podcasts. next on "american history tv," aaron sullivan and lauren duval discuss live in occupied city from the american revolution. life for soldiers, workers, american women and families. the pritzker museum and library and richard c. hess foundation co-hosted this event as part of a three-day international conference. the best part of our job is doing our worst for it in six months and that's the next upcoming months.
some of you exposed your own british occupation, or perhaps liberation in the perspective of many. it's our third year in a row doing sort of what we call flagship living history event. we place about 70 costumed interpreters out on to the streets of old city philadelphia and imagine what life was like under british rule. one of the big agendas of the event is to present the fall of 1777 in a complicated way to show that for many of the people that remained in the city that winter this was an occupation and maybe a liberation from many of their perspectives and they wrote about in the period being liberated from the tire ran cat you certain asians of a tyrannical congress, which is maybe something we can all aspire to some day. so we do this with living
history programming in part because people come to museums to learn in all different ways to encounter the real things of history to have a human experience to connect with it and one way we bring it to life is with living history programming with the new theatrical program where richard st. george storms into the room, guns ablazing and the spoilers at the end of his life, but maybe he doesn't know that yet. we also do the larger living history events and it's a pleasure to introduce these set of speakers because i benefited from a strain of recent scholarship that re-examines what life was like in occupied cities in new york and charleston, boston and philadelphia and as many of you may know the last concentrated work on these subjects is perhaps 40 years old. the most recent work on the philadelphia occupation, john w. jackson's book is almost half a century old and it's aged quite well, but that's an enormous gap in historical scholarships. so folks like lauren duval,
aaron sullivan and kim naft, and recent, young historical work about how complicated life was in these places in the midst of the revolutionary war. and for those people that they study as often as those people might have thought about military occupation and ideology and the big picture of the war, they were almost as often occupied by everyday concerns, by lost cows and lost pocketbooks and blanket seizures by the continental army as you read in the diary of elizabeth drinker, and by the necessities of everyday life made all of the more complex by new populations of soldiers. so here in philadelphia there had never been a substantial military garrison, but in the fall of 1777 10,000 people flee the city and they repopulate the city and transform what it was
like for perhaps nine months. i think it's a great opportunity to introduce these two scholars and to give their work some great attention and they're looking forward to taking your questions and thinking about the complexities of their subjects. and i want to take a few minutes to introduce both of them. dr. aaron sullivan earned his ph.d at temple university here in philadelphia and worked with some of you in this room and others, and he published an absolutely brilliant book they tell people about all of the time because i think the real genius of excellent, historical writing is not just getting the facts right, but somehow constructing something that's hundreds of pages long that lulls you into a sense of security because you think it's about one thing and it sneaks up behind you like the british and some of the battles that we've been talking about and surprises you. so as i read aaron's work i spent the first half of the book thinking that this was a pretty pro-british work, okay?, i
spent the first half of the book thinking that this was a pretty pro-british work, oka i spent the first half of the book thinking that this was a pretty pro-british work, okay?i spent the first half of the book thinking that this was a pretty pro-british work, okay? he's kind of spending a lot of time convincing me that the british were the good guys and this is how it would have looked for some people. and very subtly, about half way through the book, the british arrive in philadelphia, and they go from being this kind of distant and ideological envious party for the subjects in philadelphia to suddenly being present in their lives. and the second half of the book proves to you that the british weren't that desirable a governing force either. and by the time you travel with him through nine mocks of the occupation, you realize the obvious course was not patriotism or loyalty and the obvious course was disaffection which is the title of his book "the disaffected." the most obvious situation was the non-committal middle ground which most people avoided or
flip-flopped or tried to avoid taking stakes with either party. and i think aaron's work just as an enormous amount humanize the british occupation or liberation and presenting it as problematic as it was seen in the period and shows us that by the time the british left in june, people were not very excited about it, but they weren't very disappointed about it either and that helps us think about the rest of the revolutionary war and its legacies in philadelphia and beyond in new ways. our second speaker dr. lauren duval earned her phd at american university in washington, d.c. and i first encountered lauren in the variety of programs in philadelphia and beyond and i'm really excited to see her eventual book project because i'm using it as sort of bootleg conference papers and having it third-generation pdfs and it will explore our understanding especially because it focuses on gender and domestic space. so many of you are familiar of
the figures in philadelphia, elizabeth drinker, a quaker who lived only maybe three blocks from here who spends the winter as the newly independent head of her household, because her husband henry had been compiled to the last place you'd ever want to be compiled, winchester, virginia. a lot of great bed and breakfasts there, but not many in 1777. when you read lauren's incredible scrutiny of the work it makes you reconsider what it meant to be in a city of women that was occupied by the british army that not only included male soldiers, but also german, british and american camp followers and their children and how that aspect and life in this period really mattered. so i should also note that dr. duval's work has an article in the william and mary quarterly
and it won the richard morton award, well-deserved recognition for this exciting strain of scholarship. so with that, i will let you know that it will be dr. aaron sullivan first and then dr. lauren duval. they'll both be accepting questions after each of their programs and i would ask you to join me in welcoming aaron sullivan. [ applause ] >> thank you, tyler. thank you to the museum, not just for putting on this wonderful event, but i am immensely grateful every year when the occupy philadelphia weekend rolls around. i care about that moment in time very much and i'm sure the museum helps other people care about it, too. i feel obligated to begin this talk today with a warning of sorts. you should know that at one point over the next 45 minutes i will briefly be exposing you to images of donald trump and hillary clinton. i will also at one point, not so much advocate for, but suggest
that you consider an act of treason against the united states. all of this will somehow be tied back to the american refer losing and to the british occupation of philadelphia because that's really what i write and talk about. those nine months in 1777 and 1778 when the british occupied the city and made it their headquarters in america. of course, as a historian i use that moment to take simple things and make them complicated because real life is complicated. the real past is complicated. that's what historians do. we complicate things and we like to tell stories. so let me tell you a somewhat complicated story that begins on the eve of the british occupation in philadelphia. tyler gave us spoilers, but i will press ahead anyway. elizabeth and henry drinker. married couple in philadelphia.
they lived up by front street just past alfred sally. they had a beautiful two-story home. they could see the river. elizabeth liked to say that she had room enough in the city and such elegant room. they had a backyard with a stable and well and these flowering trees that every summer would carpet the area in red and white blossoms. they were quakers which is why we have silhouettes. portraits were seen as vain, but silhouettes were okay. like many quakers, they were passivists. when the war broke out in 1775 they did what they could to avoid being involved in any way and their goal was that whichever side eventually won, they would continue on with their family, their faith and their business intact just as they had before. empire or independence, they hoped it really wouldn't make that big a difference.
they're going to find that being uninvolved is more difficult than they thought. on september 2nd, 1777, henry drinker is at work in his front parlor. he's working from home that day because, number one, he's feeling kind of ill. also because his son is his namesake, and it is extremely ill and he's 8 years old and he's sick in a way that involves vomiting and worms and you can say he's deathly ill. so henry is at home on september 2nd when he is arrested as an enemy of the state. three men from the new state government, not to be confused with the colonial government, arrived and arrested henry for, in his words, having evidencing a disposition innick curveball to the cause of america.
they say he has done no such ming, and even if he has, that is not a crime according to pennsylvania's brand-new state constitution which promises that the people have a right to freedom of speech and of writing and of publishing their sentiments. their objects will go unheeded. henry will be arrested. he will, in fact, never be charged with a crime. he will never have a hearing before a judge or a trial before a jury. at one point the pennsylvania supreme court will issue a writ of habeas corpus on his behalf saying that the government must release him or charge him with a crime, and not only will the government refuse to follow this court order, they will pass a law and say in the case of henry drinker their enforcement will be completely immune from interference including writs of habeas corpus and make that law retroactive. shortly after his arrest, henry and about 20 other mostly quakers and passivists will be
compiled to virginia, to winchester. two of them will die there before they can come home. their families will be left to fend for themselves in philadelphia even as the british invade, occupy the city and make them the seat of war. the story goes on. what happens to elizabeth in the city is fairly fascinating and i can give you quick spoilers. she does get henry eventually. she will find herself in valley forge having dinner with george and martha washington and makes a very good impression on them. you should know that little henry is okay. he gets better. that's not important for this presentation, but i didn't want you to worry. the real question we will talk about today is why does this happen? why does a new independent government in pennsylvania with the full knowledge and support of the continental congress see someone like henry drinker, a neutral pacifist as an enemy and a threat?
the short answer, of course, is that it's complicated because the past is complicated, but we can begin to consider it by asking what do we do with henry drinker in the context of the revolution? how do we define him? how do we categorize him? what categories exist? in the simplest terms this is a conflict in which america tries to become independent of great britain. so there are the americans and there are the british. and if we wanted to re-enact the revolution, you will be here and the british and you will be the americans and there will be the two sides and you can fight it out, but we know right away this is too simple, right? because not all americans opposed british rule. there were those who supported the side of the empire. so come of you americans will actually be loyalists and you will be on that side against this side. but of course, not everyone in america was a british colonist to begin with, and they served on both sides.
so some people on our british side will be the mohawks, say, and over here we have the native americans were on both sides in the war. we should recognize that not everyone who came to america did so voluntarily or from europe and slaves, black men and women would serve both sides of the war. there was an ethiopian regimen on the other side. most of them moved to the british side as the british were the first and most consist tonight offer liberty. you may have heard recently that not everyone in revolutionary america was a man. women -- women also served on both sides. occasionally, also under arms deborah sampson being the most famous example.
and none survives without the support of hundreds and thousands of women so we have women on both sides as well and if we want to be feature complete, some people over here will need to be french and some people over here would need to be haitian and we have a number of roles to play and we could put them on each side and this is what we tend to do, both we as historians and we as americans. >> we encounter a new category of people from the revolution and we ask ourselves which side do we put them on? in the past we've been very slow to look at people who didn't belong on either side, who rejected both sides, neutrals, pacifists and the apathetic, people like the drinkers. so i refer to them here and in my book as the disaffected. people who lacked an affection for either of the two sides in the dispute. and you might understandably ask yourself at this point, are they really worth thinking about? they're definitely there and most quakers fall into this category. if you take this historical
literature as a whole, you'll come away with maybe 30% fall under this category through most of the war. so they're definitely there, but if they're not committed to one side against the other do they matter? yes, they do. i wrote a book about them, so i am pleased to say that you think they matter and you can find traces throughout the exhibits downstairs often referred to as the people between. and explaining why they matter and why we should look at them and care about them. i like to reach for an analogy from the more recent past so i want you to think back with me to a more recent time when the fate of america was being contested, forces in red and blue went to battle with one another to control the future of this nation. see? i warned you this was going to happen.
come all of the way back. all of the way back to the 2016 election. we all know that politics and the discussion of the revolution never goes badly, so it will be great. so we had an election and the democrat won the popular vote, the republican won the electoral college and thus the presidency and we spent a great deal of time looking at graphs like this one. and we talked a lot about who are the people who voted on this side and who were the people who voted on that side and especially, who were the people we thought would vote on this side and actually voted on that side and on and on and on. we spent much less time working on graphs that looked like this and the green bar in the middle. those were not votes for the green party. this represents the plurality of eligible voters who did not vote for either major party candidate. in most cases they did not vote
at all and they sat out the election and they were the nonparticipants and if we look at these people, i think we can get some window into the mindset of the disaffected in the revolution. it's not a perfect analogy, but gives us a place to start. so let's talk about these people. we can recognize that they are diverse in their reasons for sitting out the conflict. some of them were just apathetic and could not be bothered to get involved but some of them weren't. they carried very much and were deeply involved in the questions of the time and yet they hated both options presented to them so much they couldn't get behind either one. these people were not unified, right? there was no single third party candidate in 2016 who could have united that plurality of americans, and there was no single vision and part of not being unified mend that their voices were relatively quiet and
there are certain banners you can get people to rally around, right? give me liberty or give me death. god save the king or make america great again, but it is very hard to get people to rally around the cry of i don't want to be involved, right? these ball caps are hard to sell. we can recognize that when we talk about these people we're not just talking about neutrality as if they all weighed the two options and said they're exactly even and i can't decide. what we are talking about are people who were not willing to make any significant sacrifice for one side or the other. in an election that sacrifice is you have to get up and you have to go vote. for the sacrifices involved in
one side or the other in the 1770s could, of course, be much, much higher. maybe most importantly, we can recognize that in both cases these people are pivotal to understanding the outcome of the conflict and to understanding what it was like to experience it, but you cannot understand the election of 2016 and why it went the way it did without looking at the people who did not vote and why. you can't understand what it was like to experience that election without talking about the experience of the plurality of americans who didn't vote. and we should not try to understand the revolution without seriously considering the experiences of the people who tried not to be involved in it. so let me tell you about some of those people, specifically, in this case, two men both named benjamin and neither of them named franklin, you've heard of him. you may have heard of our first benjamin, benjamin chu. i think we've all looked at this painting a lot. there is his house off to the
right-hand side there and the depiction which as has been noted is almost, but not quite entirely unlike actual clifton. they're doing a battle re-enactment tomorrow. so when you need more history when you're done here you can go there and see them fight at clifton. chu, an anglican, the chief justice of the supreme court of colonial pennsylvania. arguably one of, if not the most influential men in the state. he was a friend of george washington and john adams. he was an outspoken opponent of taxation and from the tamp act on he made it clear that he did not think that britain was constitutionally empowered to do what it was doing to america. he was also a tomorrow believer in lawful authority and in one of his last cases of the supreme court, he stated that an opposition of force of arms to the lawful authority of the king is high treason. you cannot take up arms against the established government.
by definition that's treason. and yet in the same case he also said that in the moment when the king and his ministers shall exceed the constitutional authority vested in them by the constitution, submission to their mandates becomes treason. it's treason if you will, treason if you won't. chew finds himself stuck in the middle and what is he to do? in this case, he is briefly arrested much as henry drinker was exiled to new jersey and even as he was released shortly thereafter he chooses to disappear and steps back into the shadows and goes to being one of the influential, powerful men to almost no one. he keeps his head down throughout the rest of the war. let's talk about another benjamin. benjamin towne. i don't have his picture, but i do have a picture of the newspaper. he published this three times a
week almost every week and benjamin towne believed in quality over quantity. he was a man of remarkably flexible politics. he founds the post of 1776 as a pro-independence anti-british newspaper and this was a good call in 1776. by the end of the next year all of the papers who were loyalist his either been burned down or out of town. christmas 1776 he publishes this extremely long poem of george washington and how great are the wonders of liberty. but in 1777 the british march in and philadelphia they pack up their presses and flee and they don't want to be tried for treason against treason of britain so they leave the city except for benjamin towne. benjamin towne stays behind and experiences a sudden and total change of heart realizing that this revolution is wrong, so very wrong and that deep inside
he's always been a loyalist. and so he continues to print "the pennsylvania evening post" now as a loyalist newspaper and since every other press has fled the city all of the official proclamations from the army and all of the advertisements from businesses left in the city, and everything from people who have lost goods or had them stolen or had to find one another, all of it flows through the evening post, and towne makes a great deal of money. christmas of 1777 rolls around and he publishes a long poem to serve william howe, but in 1778 the british leave the city and the patriots return. and the loyalest presses that have come down pack up and leave not wanting to be arrested by the patriots, except for benjamin towne. he realizes he's been deceived by the king and minister, but he was right the first time and independence is the way to go and he maintains the publication of the evening post as a fiercely pro-independence
newspaper. and again, he is the only game in town for weeks and makes a great deal of money. so we can see, there's no one script for disaffection and you can, like benjamin chew care so much about the constitutional, political and moral issues at stake that you cannot bring yourself to be lying to either side. you can like benjamin towne not really care at all about the questions at stake and enjoying one side, the other side or both sides, whatever serves your interest in the moment. neither of these people seem terribly threatening and especially not chew and drinker who tried to back away to not be involved. so again, why are they targeted and arrested like enemies? we need to understand how the revolutionaries answered some key questions about what they were doing. when i sort of divided this up for re-enactment we ended up with people who did not pick a
side. is that an option? can you really not pick a side in a revolutionary conflict? is this one of those cases where not picking a side is really picking a side? we don't need to go into another modern, political issue and i leave it to your imagination where thinking of questions where choosing not to speak out and not to get involved effectively puts you against one side and the other. the revolutionaries will answer these questions in the negative. no, you cannot be neutral in this fight. if you are not for us, you are effectively against us. and we can see them express this answer in a host of different ways. if we go back to before the war began we find the british protesting taxation, the boycotts. and if we look at the language that they used to describe people who refused to join those
boycotts, it's very telling. they describe them as foes to the rights of british america and enemies of the american liberty. and these are not loyal to those who stood up and said rah-rah taxation and this is for anyone who chooses to view the boycott. from the very same merchant. you've bought it from three years, but today that makes you an enemy of american liberty. james madison famously writes that this boycott movement is the method among us used to distinguish friends from foes. you can see there's not a lot of wiggle room. there's not a lot of wiggle ground in that dichotomy. you're a friend or you're a foe. we can see it in places like pennsylvania that did not have a universal militia tradition. by the 1770s, militia service was clearly representing a violent resistance to great britain and yet militia service was not optional.
it became mandatory and the fines placed on those who refused to serve were intentionally meant to be burdened and back breaking and it could spend a third of the income just paying the fine for not serving in the militia. those who did serve in the militia almost universally looked at those who did not as tories and traitors. most starkly, we can see it as an attempt to control speech. in 1777, the government of pennsylvania will pass the test act, a law which requires every adult white male to renounce king george pr as king and swear allegiance to the independent state of pennsylvania and the third, swear that you will basically inform against anyone who is opposed to the united states. if you refuse to swear this oath, you may not serve in a jury. you may not use the courts to sue someone who cheats or
defrauds you. you may not buy, sell or transfer real estate and you may not bear arms. if you persist in your refusal to swear the oath, you could be banished from the state. so the patriots are very clear here. they do not like to tolerate neutrality. they need you to pick a side and really they need you to pick their side. but again, why? why not just accept neutrality? and that is wrapped up in the nature of what they're trying to accomplish in america. they are trying to create a new nation through force of arms. what gives them the right to do that, and the right to use violence in that way? and their ideology says that what gives them the right to do that is that they represent the will of the people because the will of the people is the only legitimate source of political authority. we can hear that in the phrase, no taxation without representation. the point is not that taxation is bad. the americans will tax each other much more heavily than the british did. the point is that you have to
have the consent of the people through their representatives in order to do that. the patriots will say that britain does not, cannot represent the will of the american people and by implication they will say that their governments do and can represent their will, but that's a shake proposition and here's where we get to the treason part. join me for a moment in a hypothetical and treasonous thought experiment. i want you to imagine that i had decided in light of all of the chaos in washington, d.c., today we should be done with the united states, right? over. instead, we, those of us right here in this room, we're going to form our own independent nation. conveniently, i've made us a flag. so i propose the museum and democrat republic of the american revolution.
[ laughter ] now let's suppose that when i gave you this proposition, the number of you who stood up in support of this new nation greatly outnumbered the number of you who stood up in support of remaining in the united states instead. right? we have a situation rather like this, and of course, being a strong believer in sovereignty of the people i will declare that by the authority of the people, this museum will be free and independent. can i get a huzzah? now i can get a group, maybe a large group who can speak out for or against my plan, and possibly you thought that a museum on the third floor was not realistic. possibly thought give it time and things will get better in the u.s. possibly you thought that i as a historian would not do a better job than the current government. if that's the case, i am
somewhat offended, but regardless, whatever the reason, doesn't the existence of these people give you pause? does it make you think that maybe my declaring independence on behalf of the people was a little bit rushed? a little premature? certainly it will slow down how quickly france recognizes our independence and wouldn't those of you who were my loyal revolutionaries, wouldn't you just feel better if we could get these people visibly, explicitly accept the steps we've taken toward independence? this is the position of the american revolutionaries. if i ask you, do you support the american revolution and independence and you say yes, then you support the whole movement that it is built upon. but if you say no or if you say i don't really care or if you say please go away. i'm working an 18th century farm and this is really hard.
all of that undermines the moral foundation that this whole movement that this war is built upon. britain is constantly accusing the patriots and forcing the revolution on the people against their will and the patriots were sensitive to that. and so from their perspective, disaffection is not neutral and it makes you the enemy and since they do sincerely believe themselves to be on the side of american liberty disaffection makes you an enemy of american liberty. this bring us back to men like the drinkers and chew. persecuted and arrested not so much for picking the wrong side as for not picking a side at all. what does the revolution do with people like this? i mean, in a perfect world you would persuade them and convince them to join your side, but if you can't do that, you need to
at least get resources from them to fight this war because remember congress goes to war with no army, no money and they desperately need people to get involved or it will be a really short conflict. you want to get their resources and somehow you have to quiet their disagreements or at least convince people that their voices don't really count. so what do you do? we've talked about some solutions. you can pass laws, right? you can say, you have to participate and you have to be on our side. right? you don't want to join the militia? you have to join the militia. you don't want to join the boycott movement and you have to swear allegiance to the independent state. it's the law. and second, you can make sure that the punishments you come up with for people who defy you more or less gets you what you want anyway. so you don't want to join the militia, or we will confiscate your guns and we will find you
and take away your money to create other militia. you don't want to take the test act and swear allegiance to the state. fine. we'll take away your right to vote, to serve on the government and use the courts. your voice won't count because you don't have a voice anymore. contemporaries refer to this as civil excommunication. and the ultimate solution is that we banish you from the state altogether. then your voice doesn't count because you're not here anymore. in doing all of this the patriots were very careful to always leave a way back, though. and it's remarkable if you look at people refusing to support the revolution and the number of times in which the fines against them would stop and the threat of imprisonment or violence would take it away, if they
would just stand up and swear allegiance to the state and say they support allegiance to the state. it didn't matter if they had a change of heart and their point was that they added the point to the common cause and thus prove that it really was a common cause. henry drinker is in this position after he is arrested. he is repeatedly offered opportunity to take the test act and be released. he and most of his fellows will choose not to swear allegiance to a state which has just unlawfully arrested them and it is possible that given enough time the state would have found other ways to convince them short of banishment. of course, pennsylvania doesn't have time. the british are coming and the banishment of henry drinker to virginia is a desperate measure taken at a desperate time and this brings us to the occupation and why the occupation is so important. under normal circumstances, it can be very hard to find the disaffected in history.
people who don't want to be involved often don't want to be found. it is in their interest it take the heads down and take the path of least resistance and they do whatever they need to do so the patriots will leave them alone and let them live with their families and let them live their lives. people who don't care taht much about independence and maybe think it is a bad idea will go along with the revolutionary flow, as long as doing so is the path of least resistance. they don't want to draw attention to themselves. they believe in the cause and someone who joins the militia because they don't want to be fined. how do you tell the difference between someone who joins the boycott because they believe in the cause and somebody who joins the boycott because they don't want to be called an enemy of american liberty? you look at how they behave in moments of change in times of transition and this is why the
occupation matters. it is a time of tremendous transition. consider philadelphia. it begins as the capital of a british colony in america. but a year later it's the de facto capital of the united states of america at war with britain. a year later it is the headquarters of the british army in america fighting a war against the united states, and a year later it is the capital of the united states as an independent nation. with each of these transitions the path of least resistance dramatically changes. words and actions that would have had you in major stead with the good powers are with deadly treason the next year. and between each transition of power, there are moments when neither the british nor the patriots can actually exert control over the people. times when the people are more or less free to make up their own minds without fear of
persecution so those are the key moments and when the british first march into the state, break the power of the patriots there but have not yet established their own authority. what do the people do? what does the militia do? do they rally together to resist the british army? do they all defect and join loyalist regiments, or do they drop out and go back to their homes, their farms and their families? those are the moments when you see who people are really loyal to or if they're loyal to anyone at all. so what do we find when the british invade pennsylvania? we find that the revolution is on the verge of falling apart. let's talk about the militia. when the british first invade congress tells the state to give washington 4,000 militiamen to defend the capital. 4,000 militiamen and the state of pennsylvania dutifully begins calling them up. now the response rate up to this point has been about 50%, about half of those who they called to duty actually show up or hire a
substitute. it's not great, but you can get by with 50%, but once the british invasion begins, that response rate drops to 15%, the lowest rate of the entire war. and one in four of those who do turn out to serve will desert before the term is over. they will go back home. so rather than fielding 4,000 militiamen, pennsylvania is able to deploy 2,000 militiamen in september. by mid-october, pennsylvania is down to 1,200 militiamen. by january 1778 the number's about 450. on february 15, 1778 the main force consists of 60 men, in a tavern 17 miles away from the closest british detachment. the militia are not the only people who show us this. if we look at washington's
papers at valley forge alongside the experience of hunger experienced by the continent el army, you will find report after report of flour, produce and livestock, flowing from the country side from valley forge. these are provisions that the army desperately needs and they overwhelmingly chose to sell their to the british. despite the desperate efforts washington took to stop this. we can see the same thing if we look at the test act and oath of allegiance. almost from the moment the british arrived people stopped taking the test act. the patriots will constantly be revising the deadline and changing the punishments to get people to swear this oath, but they will not do it. so the occupation shows us a pennsylvania that is rife with the disaffection. at least in 1777.
this is a real problem for them. washington needs those militiamen and he needs those supplies at valley forge. fortunately, for the united states. the people who were not committed to the revolution were also not committed to the british empire. this is a case of disaffection and not loyalism. it falls away and falls apart and those men do not join the regiments and pennsylvania is planning to put together at least 5,000 loyalist troops to help him defend the capital. he can't even get 1,000 at the end of his time in america. those farmers who were eager to trade with the british army. the british themselves make it very clear, they know, these people are not here because they're loyal to the empire. they want money and we have the gold and silver. while the people of pennsylvania refuse to take the test act, they utterly refuse to swear allegiance to king george.
overwhelmingly people will not swear that oath. while washington can never get enough support to drive the british out of the state, the british also cannot get enough support to expand their hold of pennsylvania and ultimately this occupation will end not in some sort of epic battle, but when the british decide it's just not the british decide it's just not worth the effort anymore and they will take the army and go to new york. ultimately, we know the patriots will win this war and america will become independent and they will start writing the history books and as you expect, they are not eager to include dissenting voices. they want to show an america that was unified and people consenting together to support this war of independence and for much of our history, we follow this model. we assign people to their various sides. the consenting, unified a republic.
outsiders, loyalists, traders, peoples whose voices who don't really count. let me tell you about one more disaffected family. this is the whitall house in new jersey. it was there for the battle. it's still there. you can go visit it, and you should. they were quakers, pacifists and with the exception of one or two family members strove to avoid involvement in the revolutionary war. job is the oldest son of the family and he keeps a diary from 1775 to 1779, right through the middle of the war here. and he makes an entry in that diary almost every single day. now, i've read that whole diary, every entry. and let me tell you, the most remarkable thing about job's diary is how incredibly boring it is. 1775 to 1779. the battle of lexington, the siege of boston, the declaration of independence, the invasion of pennsylvania and occupation of philadelphia, the retreat from philadelphia, washington crossing the delaware before
that, the battle of monmouth not far from the home. none of that is in his diary. instead, he writes about cows. a lot about cows. and fences and his work on the school board and when family came to visit and when they got sick and got better and who came to quaker meeting this week and who did not come to quaker meeting this week and on and on. and it is, i admit, unfair to call that boring. if you're trying to understand the life of a quaker farmer at the time, this is a rare treasure. it really is. if you go there looking for an action-filled account of the revolutionary war and the political debates that surrounded it, you will be sorely disappointed. now, if you look very closely, you can find hints of the war. when soldiers were actually on job's property, he wrote about it. if they confiscated his stuff, he wrote about it. there was one time when he was almost arrested for not joining the militia, he wrote about that. and he wrote a very little bit about one revolutionary battle
because it happened in his parent's front yard. but overall, this is the diary of a man who isn't really interested in the revolution happening around him. even when he writes about soldier's confiscating his stuff, he almost always refers to them as, soldiers. and it's up to you to figure out, are they british soldier, continental soldiers, malitia men? he doesn't say. you get the sense he doesn't care. what he cares about is they were soldiers and they took him stuff. we have a family disinterested in the war. and as fate would have it, an enormous battle was fought on their front yard. this is johan's map of ft. mercer there along the delaware river. ft. mercer was built on the property of james whitall property. there's the fort the middle. that used to be the whitall orchard. before there was a fort there, the patriots came, chopped down
the orchard and built a fort. they did not ask permission or offer the family any money for it. on october 22nd, 1777, haitian forces will assault ft. mercer and bloody battle, 1,500 casualties. the family watched the whole thing from their house. that's their house up there. according to family tradition ann whitall is upstairs in the house as this is happening there working on her spinning wheel, look out the window and see this battle going on. a rogue cannon ball shoots through the gable over her head, ricochets around in the attic and rolls down the attic steps and stops next to her at which point she presumably says, huh. takes up her spinning wheel and all of her work and goes to the basement of the house and continues spinning for the rest of the battle. interesting woman. when the battle is over, the whitall home is a place of broken bodies and blood. a field hospital taken by the patriots. they will evict the whitalls.
while they're there, ann and james go around and do what they can to tend to the wounded on both sides. nursing them as they can, binding up wounds. years go by. and we can ask, how does history, how does america remember the whitalls? james, job's father tends to be remembered as a loyalist when he's remembered at all. not because of anything he did but because he refused to join the war for independence and because he never quite forgave the patriots for taking his land and cutting down his orchard. he constantly tried to get money back for that. ann, job's mother, on the other in hand, is now known as the r
heroine of red bank. 1905 they named a chapter in woodbury after her and declared she was a patriots nurse who assisted in establishing american independence. everybody has to be on one side or the other. there are the americans and the british. this is how we tell the story. over time we make room for native americans, loyalist, slaves and free blacks, women soldiers and women camp followers. but all too often that comes down to asking, what side were they on? and we sometimes overlook the people the middle. right? and these people are important. these are the people who could see the war as disturbing and tragic. not as this glorious cause to be won or rebellion to be crushed but as this disaster that had to be endured. they are the people who could see the revolution as complicated. and we should not, we dare not lose that perspective. and i hope we don't. thank you so much for listening to me.
[ applause ]. so i think i'm allowed to take questions for a little bit. if we can find microphones. >> so, since you touched on the present day, for most of my life the number of disaffected presidential voters has been between 40 and 45%. and quite frankly i would love it if those 45%, or some high majority of them, joined me. but i would also love it if they would just choose a side. okay, one side or the other so that the rate of disaffected voters in what should be the greatest democracy in the world might be 5% or 10% instead of 40
or 45%. so, given your view of disaffected voters, how do we -- is it important to get those people to make a decision? and if so, how do we do that? >> well, that's a good question. i'm extremely hesitant to dabble any farther into modern politics, so let me just say i don't think we should go about it the way the patriots often did, of fines and threats to force people to vote one way or the other. but i'll stop there because the modern day is not my field. you're right this 2016 election is not unique. it's somewhat typical. in the back. >> hi, thanks. that was super interesting. i have a question about the disaffected in terms of native americans. so, you know, there's a lot of talk about the can't sit it out as being fought over their ground.
but i'm assuming that the american revolutionaries, they see the ones who are proclaiming neutrality as the enemy as you stated and they will wage war on them regardless of what side they choose. but was there any kind of at least begrudging acknowledgment that these tribes were sovereign and that they had the right to proclaim neutrality? was there any kind of discourse about that going on? thank you. >> if there was, someone standing up and proclaiming that the native american tribes had a strong right to be neutral and independent because of their sovereignty, i'm not familiar with it. and they were in many ways forced to be involved on one side or the other. the exhibit downstairs i think actually touches on this. as you can go and hear the different perspectives from the different people groups there as they weigh, can we be neutral or not? should we be allied with our friends?
should we be concerned about american expansion and ally with the british? so they certainly had an interest in neutrality of not being involved and not being killed, often they felt they had an interest in the war. that in most cases deciding that the british empire offered them more safety and more access to the land they were on than the americans did. >> thank you for the presentation. the question i will pitch to you, your most available answer may be toing out and buy the book, but it's a small detail. how on earth did he manage to dance on the head of a pin? did he have ties to both camps, say both, for example, joseph galloway and joseph reed? >> so you should definitely buy the book. yeah, so town is this
fascinating figure. so he gets away with it to the extent that he does because first he's there when the british come in. and most of the printers have fled because they're afraid of being persecuted by the british. it turns out that the british were much slower to persecute people at that point than the patriots did. they really had to see you as a threat to pick on you in the long-term. and town tried very hard not to be threatening to them. he made that complete reversal of loyalties very obvious. and to an extent they kind of needed him. they needed at least one printing press in the city because there were all of these royal proclamations that had to go out. so he was able to take advantage of that. the patriots, of course, are in a similar position when they come back to the city. having and operating printing press is very helpful. he is accused of treason by the americans when they come back into the city. but he benefits from changes in
the war that have happened between 1777 and 1778, most notingly saratoga and the french alliance. there is a different attitude when the patriots come back since that this war is at least for this area won, the british aren't going to come back to philadelphia, they think. we're secure now in ways we weren't before. and they begin a process of being more and more tolerant of neutrals and disaffected after the occupation. so he is in danger of being tried for treason for a while, but eventually it just sort of drops off the map. they choose not to follow it up. he does not have a successful business career as we move into the 1780s. so while he's not ever arrested or imprisoned for what he's done, many of the people in philadelphia don't forget about it. and the pennsylvania evening post struggles in the 1780s. >> thank you so much. [ applause ]
all right. hello. so before i begin, i just want to thank again the museum, the american revolution for hosting us and all the other sponsors for helping put on this amazing conference. so i want to start by looking at this picture. and this is clifton. you may not recognize it because we have been seeing very different depictions all weekend, but this engraving is created around 1830 and depicts
the battle of germantown during the revolution which took place on the outskirts of british occupied philadelphia in october of 1777, exactly 242 years ago. during the battle, clifton became a literal battlefield. british troops fortified themselves inside the mansion as american forces descended upon the house in unsuccessful attempt to evict the british soldiers within. it now operates the historic house museum. to this day the marks of the battle remain memorialized. bullet holes and damaged doors are integral parts of the tour. every october red coats soldiers descend upon clifton to reenact the battle on the ground where it was fought. in the experience of war at clifton, depicted in this engraving, is very much in line with how we typically think of battlefields, the american
revolution. you have soldiers standing in straight lines firing muskets, some have bayonets affixed. there's an officer on horse back directing the men forward. the smoke near the house signifies fighting but there's little evidence of physical destruction going on in this engraving. while there's a few injured soldiers limping away from the scene and bodies in the distance, overall it appeared relatively bloodless. and it re-enforces narratives that depict the revolution as a war fought over ideals rather than a violent military encounter. yet this image is also notable for its depiction of clifton as a domestic space and one that's threatened by war and battle. and so this image is quintessentially how we might battlefield during the american revolution. and during the war, houses like clifton did indeed become battlefields in the traditional sense. and for people throughout britain's north american colonies, the revolution brought violence and destructions to their homes, threatened danger to their families and their property.
and this violence was something new for urban inhabitants. unlike settlers in the back country, urban dwellers were unaccustomed to violence. but american homes also became battlefields in unexpected ways during the war. and this was especially true in cities under british rule where british occupation brought not only violence but also profound destruction of traditional authority in unexpected ways. as urban dwellers encountered british forces not in the battle field but in their homes and streets. during the american revolution, the british army captured and occupied six cities for varying lengths of time. boston, new york, new port, rhode island, philadelphia, charleston and savannah. with the exception of savannah, the other remaining five cities constitute the five largest port cities in colonial north
america. and there are important similarities that run through all these similarities speak speak to brittic. urban dwellers experienced the violence of war through the lens of domestic concerns. and so british occupation presents this really productive and fascinating moment to examine the power dynamics of the revolutionary household. because due to the circumstances of war, american men were often absent or they wielded limited power within their households loyalist men excepted, of course. some men enlisted in the continental army or served in malitias. others were prisoners of war and others fled for safety before the arrival of the british army trusting their wives would protect family property in their absence. in cities under british military rule, civilians thus had to not only negotiate interactions with these new occupying forces and they had to renegotiate their relationships with one another, within these destructive wartime households.
and so my book project examines this british military occupation during the revolution through the lens of the urban households. i look at things like family letters, civilian and military diaries, petitions, military papers, court records, newspapers, basically anything i can get my hands on to try to understand the interdynamics of the household. in order to understand how daily interactions and common domestic space were really intertwined with this broader experience of war during the revolution. so to do this, i analyzed the household as a site of conflict, not only between soldiers and civilians but between civilians themselves in various races, genders and states of freedom . and some of these contests, of course, precede the war. but i found that the experience of occupation really exacerbates these conflicts and enhances the power struggles within wartime households. occupational is not typically portrayed in military history a
positive war. it was a relocation in war, a relocation that had drastic consequences for women, their families and their households. so i want to suggest that we reconceptualize the home front as a battle front, one where primarily female civilians encountered war, not in the abstract, but on their doorsteps and in their living rooms british officers residing in their houses and a total disruption of their household and the world they inhabited. and these previously overled to wartime encounters have widespread and deeply personal ramifications for american households. and so perhaps the best way to illustrate the dynamics is to turn to their households themselves. so i would like to share four examples with you today to trace how households functioned as sites of conflict in british occupied cities between apothecary, between enslaved women and slave holders in charleston. and between two sets of husbands and wives in philadelphia. and then i'll conclude by considering how americans re-imagined these contested
domestic spaces in the post-war years along shifting cultural ideas about the private household. and so taken as a whole, these episodes will demonstrate how fully occupation disorder domestic power hierarchies and suggest that these wartime struggles contribute to new understanding of the home and its role in american life. all right. so at its broadest level, occupation disrupts urban environments routines. the sheer number of soldiers, camp followers, refugees, livestock associated with the british army, not to mention civilian inhabitants, taxes the surrounding regions. civilians require passes to leave the city within they're forced to adhere to curfews timed to military schedules. soldiers crowded the streets. troops routinely drilled in public spaces. men were encamped throughout the city in tents and barracks,
confiscated stores, churches, houses and schools. drunken and rowdy soldiers were a constant presence. for female civilians of all social classes, traversing city streets took on new and immediate dangers. and yet, interior spaces weren't safe refugees either. inhabitants were often victims of robbery and plunder and frequently were confronted with officers seeking quarters or provisions. anything made of wood was susceptible to being torn down to be used for kindling. occupation brought the war into the home of american civilians. and in so doing it presented a fundamental challenge that basic premise that governed daily life in revolutionary america, that men would rule over their households and all who inhabited them. so conflicts often emerge in instances between british officers and american civilian men when both are trying to claim the same domestic space. and this is happens in the case of apothecary joseph tweety and john campbell of the core of engineers.
in the incident arose over tweety's treatment of campbell's enslaved servant, a young boy about 8 years old. tweety insisted that he had playfully threatened to throw the buy off the wharf and dipped his legs in water as he and campbell often done before. this reveals presumptions about racial bodies and the limits white men could take with them. and in suggesting that he and the captain regularly amuse themselves in this way threatened to drown a child, tweety reveals the racial dynamics that are operating within revolutionary newport. captain campbell conversely insisted that tweety's intentions were much more malicious and that he had been trying to drown or injure the child. captain campbell interpreted this as a personal attack. and so he began beating tweety and threatened to send him to the provost. tweety recalled throughout this
incident he, quote, repeated demanded satisfaction as a gentleman. but that captain campbell refused to duel, simply silencing him and ignoring his requests. and so this incident was at its core a power struggle between these two men with the enslaved child caught in the middle. although tweety insisted that the two men were on, quote, intimate footing as the ensuing trial, he was frustrated by the quartering arrangements. he felt disrespected and disempowered within his own home. tweety complained that in the wake of his brother's death captain campbell had shown little sympathy. he invited company over to the house, played music and ignored tweety when he saw him in the entry way. campbell conversely denied that the men were friendly. disavow that he felt no obligation to offer comfort in these circumstances. campbell also significantly defended his behavior by insisting that he had entertained company and played music in, his, quote, own quarters. so parsing these statements gives us a sense and glimpse of how each man interpreted his
claim to their shared domestic space. as the head of household, tweety expected the captain campbell to adhere to certain standards of behavior that aligned with the needs of the family. for this reason, tweety's framing of the men's relationship is significant in presenting its friendship rather than a forced billet, it's an implicit assertion of social equality between this newport apothecary and british officer and also enabled tweety to maintain this illusion of power over his household even though in reality he is quite powerful to control anything that captain campbell does. campbell, other the other hand, was aware he inhabited tweety's house and was not oblivious to the family's loss. yet his disregard for these circumstances and insistence he could do as he wish in his own quarters suggests that campbell saw his
rooms as his own private space, fully under his control and separate from the rest of the family. more over, in his refusal to acknowledge tweety's demands for gentlemenly satisfaction, campbell suggests he did not see these two men as social equals. only gentlemen could duel each other. his elevated class puts him above the rest of the household and he is not subject to tweety's domestic authority and implicitly re-enforces notions that british officers can disregard american authority and a position, in fact, the british court-martial will reinforce by finding in campbell's favor. so given the context, his treatment of the enslaved boy brings into sharper focus the power dynamics of this household. right? his actions represent not only a rebuke to captain campbell, but it's also an assertion of tweety's own domestic authority. the boy's presence in this house tweety's actions imply, gave him the right to threaten the boy and treat him with such familiarity as if he were his own servant.
here is new port. as if he were his own servant. and by enacting this display on a dependent member of campbell's household, tweety's targeted retaliation actually flips the power dynamics of their original dispute, right? now it's tweety who feels entitled to defy another man's authority by acting as he pleased within his own space. and this isn't an incident indicates many instances british challenges to american men's patriarchal authority were common place, they were enacted in personal slights rather than formalized strategy. this is a striking difference from the british army's approach in charlestown where the army attempted to subvert norms as a strategy of governance. in charlestown, their ability to govern their property, their enslaved members was contingent on allegiance to the british crown.
if men endorsed the crown's authority, they regained their status and property. if not, they remained prisoners. denied the right of british subjects, their property sequesters their families evicted and enslaved labors put to work raising crops for the british army. but patriarchal norms are not only embedded in property, they were also entwined with charleston gender familiar practices. british attempts to subvert these norms directly and indirectlied offered the fabric of the city's social relations. as the army curtailed the power of patriot slave holders and denied them access to the houses markers of their status, enslaved women in charlestown seized upon the city's power dynamics to claim new space in ways that temporarily realigned power relations within elite households and transformed the spaces within. so in january 1782, haggard, isabel and mary, three women who
were most likely formerly enslaved refugees behind british lines organized and hosted a ball in charlestown for, quote, officers of the army and female slaves only. and this event reveals how british policies and enslaved women's own actions worked in tandem, albeit for different reasons but to challenge white men's mastery within occupied charlestown. the ball was held at 99 meeting street at, quote, a very private house. british officers, quote, dressed the women up in taste with the richest silks and false rolls on their head, powdered up in the most pompous manner. the women arrived at the ball in carriages escorted by british officers, and festivities lasted until 4:00 in the morning. this ball was not entirely unprecedented. charles town has a long history of interracial sex and socialization including dances and charlestown's enslaved community like wise gather in the kitchens of empty townhouses
when white slave owners retired to the plantations. but this january 1782 ball boldly moved such interactions into the predominantly white rooms of 99 meeting street. where enslaved black women may previously have been present as servers or slavers but certainly not as ballgoers or hostesses. in addition to the city's precedence, this ball is also reminiscent of afro caribbean tradition which merged creole africa arn carnival traditions with the christmas holiday. the celebration varied among plantations. but it was a festive inversion of the plantation hierarchy. contempt accounts describe slave people dancing through the street ace companied by the white faced character of john canu. after 1790, this tradition evolved to include set girl dancing entertainments the other
picture up there which slave owners dressed african women in european costumes. the set girls pranced on the balls of their feet and swinging their hips provocatively. and so the january 1782 ball in charles town, although it predates the set girl dances the longer caribbean traditions of interracial socialization and canu particularly the timing around christmas are suggestive of the influence of these island traditions on charleston's ball. a sign not only of british military presence in the caribbean throughout the american war but also charleston's caribbean connections. and significantly the charleston ball reinforces the significance of military balls and socialability as sites of gender power during the american
revolution. the fact that such balls often took place within civilian homes further underscores how social events subverted domestic spaces and challenged household hierarchies and white man's domestic authority over those spaces. and there are fascinating parallels between this charles town ball held right here in philadelphia. during an outskirts of the city in 1778 to celebrate the retirement of british general howell. american women attired in turkish clothing watched british officer costumed knights joust for their affections. and women's presence at the ball, validated british honor and sacrifice in the war thus symbolically placing american women at the center of this american conflict between american and british men. similarly at charleston's ball, british officers performed power and challenged the authority of american men through their interactions with civilian women. right? from a legal standpoint, carolina slave owners owned enslaved bodies including their sexuality. and so british officers socialization with enslaved
women undercut these rights, usurped american's men perogatory to be the sole master and beneficiary of their enslaved property. and they did so within the very homes that epitomized this authority. and so they control of enslaved women's body was a metaphor for the broader military conflict and revealed the virility of british officers and patriots' men's enfeebled authority. three weeks after this event writing from continental headquarters outside of charleston, daniel stephens, a lieutenant in the artillery condemned the ball, british officers interactions with, quote, our female slaves. omitting any mention of the city's precedence, steven instead proclaimed general white american male ownership of the bodies and denounced the ball as an example of british barbarity and notably stephens erased male
slave owners from the narrative of that evening's event whether because of their actual absence from the occupied city, unlikely in charles town which was taken as a siege, perhaps unwillingness to concede the reach of their power, stevens focussed on charles town's women, asserting that, quote, many of these wretches were taken out of houses before their mistresses faces. so it's not only an affront to female slave owners who british officers overlooked in preference to their female slaves but challenged their authority to govern their households. stevens framing also significantly however overlooks enslaved women's own agency in this event. right? enslaved women departure for the ball upended power racials. white women stayed at home while the enslaved women departed for the ball in the arms of gentlemen. the meanings within homes to the labor and white socialization owned by men but presided over
by women. and appropriating these spaces for their own entertainment, enslaved women denied white slave holders in white charles town's exclusive rights, places of leisure. thus enframing the event as indictment of british officers stevens implied it was they, not enslaved women who challenged white man's authority, who had the audacity to subvert domestic spaces for their own use. so stevens account of this ball reveals just how layered and complex contest over domestic space were in british occupied cities. charles town elite homes were sites of conflict between american men and british officers each claiming and legitimating their authority by asserting control over enslaved women's bodies. and yet amidst these conflicts enslaved women created spaces for themselves. by social idesing with british officers and charles town elite homes, enslaved women rejected the rights to their bodies.
even so, because women's actions were inextricably linked to the british army and the broader military conflict, contemporaries easily minimized dangerous ramifications of this event and implied such threats would vanish once the british army left. and this is an important incite -- insight because it exposes how contests over domestic power during the revolutionary era were fundamentally racialized and engendered. we see that elite and middle white women asserted their power to order the space of their home, ininhabitants and surprisingly british officers respected their ability to do so. and so these exchanges really bring to sharp relief how differently british officers regarded white women's domestic authority and demonstrate the
gender dynamics of occupation how they manifest themselves in relationships between husbands and wives. which brings us back to this couple. you can see downstairs a recreation of their household with some of their furniture they would have had. if you haven't seen it yet, you should go check it out. so the experience of the drinker family provides an illustrative example and suggests how differently husbands and wives thought of their home and responded to the challenges of occupation. life in occupied philadelphia as you heard has been difficult for elizabeth drunker. her husband was in exile. british officers were asking for blankets and other provisions. soldiers in search of firewood tried to tear down for british interventions. they settled for the fence instead. perhaps most alarmingly in november of 1777, ann kelly, one of the family's domestic
servants, ran off with a british officer. the incident ended with elizabeth and her five children locking themselves away in the parlor while the man drunkenly ranged throughout the house, swinging his sword, swearing, and knocking on the parlor door insisting that the family let him in to drink a glass of wine. eventually male neighbors convinced this man to leave. when the family emerged from the parlor, ann kelly was gone with the man. and so all of this must be on elizabeth's mind when she confided to her diary in december of 1777, i often feel afraid to go to bed. later that month, elizabeth drinker agreed to quarter a british major in her house. this decision was a practical one. despite the disruption of the previous weeks, she wasn't seeking protection. she in fact gone to great lengths to avoid having officer quartered on her house in the previous months. but reading the signs and the occupied city, realizing that
quartering was probably inevitable, elizabeth chose it would be better to choose an officer than have one forced upon her. and significantly elizabeth drinker interviewed james four times before accepting him as a lodger. in these meetings, she negotiated the terms of the quartering in these meetings and made clear her expectations for his behavior while he resided under her roof. and agreeing to these terms, his revenue consisted of livestock and enslaved member took up residence in december of 1777. three haitian men accompanied the officer. although they didn't live in the house, they were often in the kitchen awaiting his orders. and by their very presence, these men altered the drinker households. they made it more permeable, servants, orderlies, officers constantly rotated in and out of the home carrying goods and messages back and forth to headquarters.
the major, for his part, slowly spread throughout the drinker household, taking over two parlors, upstairs room, the stable, as well as having shared access to the kitchen. but he mostly adhered to elizabeth's rules. he amended his late hours at her requests. he refrained from swearing and he glam bling and drinking in the drinker home and limited his business and entertaining to his private rooms. and in fact, in february 1778, captain john peeles 42nd regiment recorded dining at the drinker household. she recorded in her diary the group broke up in good time. he was less satisfied with the evening quoting, it was a showy dinner but not much drink. peebles also recorded notably that after dinner the men departed to play whist. evidently he upheld her boundaries against gambling. structuring the dinner to minimize the vices and noises
she abhorred. so the drinker family and the major settled into a routine. they kept their supplies separate which both believed to be a successful arrangement and in order to avoid confusion and crowding in the kitchen, his servants prepared their meals after the drinker family finished theirs. elizabeth's exiled husband henry, however, as you can imagine, was far less comfortable with this arrangement. upon learning of his quartering he wrote to elizabeth demanding to know, quote, who is it that could urge to be received into my house? how many such intruders are there? what part of the house do they occupy? do they demand food, firing et cetera as well as house room. and as the occupation progressed, henry continued to worry about his presence in his home. elizabeth took measures to calm her husband's fears. underscoring the propriety of this argentinament, she characterized her interactions with the major as neighbor's fair.
and she insisted she avoided the major when possible. but she admitted, quote, now and then he drinks a dish of tea with us. he behaves like a gentleman, a man of sense is not easily avoided. and yet, drinker's diary suggests otherwise. her frustration and her struggles over the major's hours are noticeably absent in her letters to her husband and the violent incident when ann kelly ran away with a british officer. the letters minimize the frequency of elizabeth and the major's social interactions. from her diary entries, it's clear they regularly shared coffee and tea and on a daily basis and the major participated in social gatherings with the drinkers, her friends. in march 1778 after an evening of socializing, he walked her home suggesting he not only became a valued aacquaintance among the drinker's social circle but a surrogate male protector from the quaker women who husband's were exiled from the community. he integrated into the drinker family life and social circles.
so it was throughout occupied he cities during the war, women dined, they socialized, drinked tea and smoked pipes with the british officers quartered in their houses. the physical and spatial proximity of the home transformed british officers presence from that of an intruder to that of a neighbor. and these changing relationships are evident in the possessive language used in the letters from women diaries referring to our major our officer. taken as a whole, elizabeth drinker's apparent luck of qualms about correcting the major's behavior suggests there's an intimacy to their relationship. and the frequency of their social interactions suggests that perhaps she didn't mind this as much as she led her husband to believe. and in fact, her representation of these events is tiresome, tells us more about henry
drinkerages -- drinker's anxieties than her actual relationship with james. her portrayal of her household thus reveals not only the daily lived experience of occupation for civilian these senders but gender expectations of the household and husband and wive's authority over it. and like henry drinker, many american men worried about british officers presence in their households. the letters of the american men reveal anxiety that they would be displaced from their home by another man. and one particularly memorable exchange sara roadwood fisher considered renting out her exiled husband's office space. notably, she did not consult her husband about this. but instead turned to female networks of support. myers fisher, having been informed by his sister of his wife's plan, wrote to quash the idea and lay claim to the space. he expressed his concern. that the arrangement would endanger the house, warning sara, the person who takes it will have command
of the front door. which will expose all the staircase and every chamber day and night to great danger. unwilling to subject his wife and his young children to the mercies of unknown potentially violent stranger, myers tried to protect them from afar by insisting on their isolation. no amount of financial strain, his response implied, was worth the danger of allowing another man to occupy his space, either literally or figuratively and these worries were most explicit in myers's last argument. he instructed sara not to change the layout of his office nor even to handle his papers. to do so, quote, would in all probability do me more injury than double the rent they would have for it. if they were to disturbed, it would employ a month of my time to get them in a state i could readily find any paper that might be called for. these reasons and others induce me to wish it not be let. myers's papers are staking his claim within the household and his insistence his wife not touch them perhaps reveals
lurking fears another man's presence in the house might erase his own. men's attempts to govern domestic life from afar suggest they found their absence disorienting. these worries undoubtedly expressing a real concern for the safety of their wives and children also reveal for how these men their conception of themselves as fathers and husbands, as providers and protectors as patriarchs, was linked to physical domestic space. absent men worried they were unable to fulfill their duties as husbands and fathers and worried their childrens were to forget them. they represented incursion of the british state most intimate domains their presence underscored american men's powerlessness. abigail adams perhaps best articulated this connection between masculinity of the home
and authority in the fall of 1777 british army advanced on philadelphia. she declared if men, quote, will not fight and defend their own particular spot, if they will not drive the enemy from their doors, they deserve the slavery and subjection which awaits them. adams articulates a marshall masculinity and the right to political legitimacy rested upon the defense of their particular spot, their home. this notion became increasingly pervasive in the post-war years. as the idea of the private home came to epitomize american independence. after eight long years of war, property confiscation, disrulted households, billeted soldiers, american men reclaimed their homes clarg that households would never again face the disruption of the war years.
george washington's return to mt. vernon the american retiring to sit under his own vine and fig tree embodied the sentiment. emerging cultural discourses and the early republic linked the private households to the civic virtue ungendered the fledgling -- undergirded the fledgling nation. untainted by public life, the home was the repository for republican virtue and fostered moral citizenry and fortified the nation and individual citizens against tyranny and oppression. many ways in the post-war years the private home was intwined with the idea of the nation itself. so, in the late 18th and 19th centuries, or early 19th rather, in art, literature, in newspapers and correspondents and other forms of discourse, americans re-enforced and reproduced this vision of the american home by trans posing american years backwards onto the war years.
these portrayals erased the revolutionary potential of the war by overriding the ways in which white women and enslaved people negotiated, claimed and remade domestic spaces during the conflict. instead, post-war re-imaginings memorialized white women as the vulnerable icons of domestic virtue, virtue threatened by tyrannical, cruel and lascivious british soldiers. and so this painting painted around 1811 depicts rebecca mott who during the british occupation of charleston agreed to the burning of her house to house the british soldiers there. in fact, she actually provided the arrows they used to set the house ablaze. and you can see the painting entitled mrs. mott directing them to burn the house. but her pose itself suggests mistress. she's actually standing on a literal pedestal in front of her home dressed all in white, her hair cascading down her back, she looks like a saint preparing
for martyrdom than a woman preparing for bat million post-war visual and transformations reasserted racial and gender hierarchies within the house and re-enforced domestic privacy by illustrating the vulnerability of american virtue and the need to fortify it against future innovativasii. this phenomenon in evidence, daniel wallace recording his memories for a friend, wallace described an incident in south carolina patriots led an attack on his loyalist sister's house and he inadvertently killed her. wallace encouraged his friend to use this incident in the forthcoming novel yet posed a minor alteration, quote, as fix admit liberties to be, give her fictitious name and make her the hero win of the
tale and let her death with be them. wallace's suggestion reveals how literary portrayals provided spaces for americans to reshape and re-imagine war-time conflict in ways that flattered the patriot cause and the new nation. literary form loyalist rather than a patriot who so heartless to kill his own sister. who disregarded both the bonds of family and the rules of war. who patriot home invaded, the patriot woman killed at her own doorstep, a martyr to liberty and illustration the principles the war had been fought and won. no longer would invading armies attack american homes. no longer would defenseless woman be forced to quarter soldiers or face war within domestic realms. wallace's reimagining of this tragic incident is suggestive of how novels and cultural discourses served as tools to reinforce and reproduce ideas about the sanctity of the private american home. and so, with this in mind, i want to return to this image of clifton and think about it within this context.
19th century depiction of the battle of germantown. and it does indeed gesture the new levels of violence that many urban dwellers encountered in their households during the war. and like many other depictions of 19th century wartime homes, this image of clifton invokes at once the violence of war and vulnerability of american households. it's occupied by british soldiers, surrounded by armed men the house is partially obscured by smoke, shots explode around the building and frightened horses flee the scene. the smoke draws the viewer's eye to the house, underscoring the precariousness, though notably there's still no signs of damage. handful of soldiers approach the door. most of the men are tucked away in the shadows, encroaching darkness that threatens to take over and engulf clifton. despite its violent subject, it is surprisingly peaceful. the soldiers are dwarfed by the mansion and the grandeur of the
estate. it's the focus of the image. the battle seems to be imposing on idyllic and tranquil setting. with the benefit of hindsight, we know that although the americans lost at germantown, they won the war. they quite literally reclaimed clifton from the enemy's clutches. reading this victory back into the image, it becomes both a visual assertion of both the steadfastness and fragility of the american household. and this re-imagining of the battle by attempting to simultaneously portray both the violence of war and the tranquility of domestic space reveals the tensions that emerge win the in congrou schs discourses of wartime invasion in private domesticity and detentions shaped americans both then and now attempt to make sense of the revolution and its significance. and the early 20th century historian carl becker famously declared two fundamental questions under lay revolution and politics the question of
home rule and who should rule at home. and the american revolution as becker astutely noted, is not only about political separation but more broadly the nature of authority. yet, becker's declaration many ways replicates this 19th century idealizations of domestic space suggesting the revolutionary household was separate from the political and military conflict. however, this was not the case. in occupied cities, the home either self became a battleground. and for american families, occupation was profoundly disruptive and disconcerting precisely because of how it disordered established power hierarchies within the most intimate domains. to fully understand the revolution and its consequences, we must amend becker's statement and look to a third home, the actual american household as a genderered, racialized and deeply contested space. thank you. [ applause ]
be happy to take some questions. >> lauren, i might -- i might just exercise my prerogative as the person to introduce this talk. i would love to know if you could see one vignette brought to life that told the story of a gender, racialized complicated city of philadelphia in the fall of 1777 as part of our living history program, what's the sort of moment of street theater or evocation that you would choose? >> that's a good question. you know, i think in a lot of ways -- not having had the opportunity to see the occupied philadelphia exhibit and also building off of aaron's presentation to involve the drinkers i think really would kind of pull a lot of these themes about the chaos of these occupied cities. the contested nature of the households, the gender dynamics,
and even the drinkers themselves they have a domestic servant within the household by the name of jane boone who ends up marrying one of the haitian officers under the major's control. so it pulls together a lot of these different threads running through these households. i think there was a question up here. >> thank you. that was fantastic. i've got a question of generations. the rule of use and maturity in this. when i was reading about mothers sending their sons out to india, they're going out really quite young. they can be 15, 16, that age. i was going to ask, in terms of the power dynamics, where very someone like the major, got a
certain amount of material wealth as well. younger officers are going to have both a lack of male maturity and they're going to have probable less financial resources but not always but in general. do you see in any of the other cases you looked at evidence that the power dynamics and the insecurities that imposed on american women hood are in a sense mitigated when the british officer is a 14, 15 years old who in a sense needs to be mothered. >> yeah. so that's a great question. it certainly plays into this. there's not -- i wish there were more documents of detailing what's going on inside these occupied houses. i know, for example, sara logan fisher, has that officer in her house, and she mentioned that he's quite young. and she does talk about having dinner with him and talking about his family back in england. it does seem it's getting at some of these generational differences that you're suggesting. i think one of the bigger issues i see playing out has more to do with class than age.
a lot of the socialization seems to take place kind of across social classes. so we see middle and elite families are quartering british officers. enlisted men are living in the barracks. and often if we see violence happening against women, it tends to be poor women, enslaved women out in the streets running errands. some of that is the case for philadelphia. class determines those relationships more than age. yeah. >> last november i spoke to the american revolution round table in richmond and during the q & a period a gentleman got up and asked me if i had ever heard about an incident in charles town where white women wouldn't dance with the british officers. so they forced the slaves to dance with them and imported all
these expensive ball gowns, et cetera. i very politely said i never heard of that thinking, i don't know what crack pot account you got this from, but i was amazed to find there's a factual basis for that story. but it's interesting in whatever retelling this fellow was access to, how the whole dynamic is changed. the british are being snubbed and their forcing blacks to dance with them. that kind of thing. >> yeah. that actually is -- so it comes from this one letter written by daniel stevens the basis of looking into this incident. he himself is a patriot. and that's very much his interpretation of the event as a charles town slave owner that this was the british doing this and he uses the verbs he is using suggests it's women being acted upon. but i think once you sort of pull back the layers of that and think about what's actually happening in these cities, we'll never know for sure what women's interiority was and whether they were voluntary participants, if
they were to some degree forced or just victims of circumstances. this is the best way to survive in the city. we won't know that for sure, i think what we can know by looking at that letter is the way in which this incident was interpreted and portrayed and the american men felt it threatened the society they built within their households. in the back. >> so lauren, thank you very much for this wonderful talk. i have to confess, when i was writing my keynote for last night, i had read lauren's wonderful article in the william mary quarterly. one of the things that struck me particularly as i was pulling together the images for my own power point what a masculine story the carlisle commission and the irish volunteers, even mercy ottis warren making a helpful cameo appearance. but, i guess the question i have is on one hand the british are clearly playing a very familiar game.
occupying powers oftentimes seek to unman their opponents. i mean, that's one of the things that it's an old, old military strategy. but i'm wondering, do you see efforts on the part of the par of the british particularly given their claim, do you see efforts by the british to mitigate the effects of occupation on the integrity if you will of the paternalistic or household -- you can certainly see why they would drive the other way. that is sort of the waging war part. but if they are serious about restoring civil society as they understand it you would find them trying to mitigate the effects of this as well. >> yeah. that is a great question.
in some ways they offer -- they put out loyalty oaths. if you want to swear loyalty to the british crown you can get back your property. that is one way we see it happening. there are also a lot of instances where british officers talk about the need to protect women and children and frame it as american men have done a disservice to their families by exposing them to these hardships. they had just not waged this war, wouldn't be in this precarious position. they almost frame themselves as the defenders coming in to restore the sanctity of these bad decisions by their husbands. it is certainly there but, yeah, an interesting tension at the heart of it all. >> i very much loved the book
and looking at the other side of the coin please what was the fate of loyalist women when the british left philadelphia? >> that is a great question. there is a scholar who has done a lot of work on loyalist women and her book just came out. definitely recommend that if you're interested. but there is a lot of backlash against them. generally in the city, at least initially. there are some women, grace galloway is left to fend for herself. the british evict her from home. they turn her out. she is basically ostracized. there is also an incident well documented where when the americans regained control of the city to celebrate the 4th of july they end up parading -- and it is conflicting in the narratives -- but they dress her up in the costume with the fancy
ball gown and powdered wig and parade her through the streets. there is a sense of a backlash against women who consorted with the enemy. and they're attempting to discipline and push back but what ends up happening as the british army, the american army in philadelphia, the french show up. they want to entertain the french. there are just not that many women in the city. so they end up, they start, well we're not going to socialize with these loyalist women. by the end they're inviting them to balls and dancing with them. in watson's history he claims everyone kind of forgot the tensions that were there. >> thank you. [ applause ] >> every saturday night american history tv takes you to college classrooms around the country for lectures in history. >> why do you all know who
lizzie borden is and raise your hand if you ever heard of the gene harris murder trial before this class. >> the deepest cause where we find the true meaning of the revolution was in this transformation that took place in the minds of the american people. >> we'll talk about both sides of the story. the tools, the techniques of slave owner power and, also, the tools and techniques of power practiced by enslaved people. >> watch as history professors lead their students. lectures in history on c-span 3 every saturday at 8:00 p.m. eastern on american history tv and lectures in history available as a podcast. find it where you listen to podcasts. >> some american residents fought alongside the british during the revolutionary war. next, museum of the american revolution associate