In the Treaty of Paris, 1783, Great Britain offered the new United States generous terms that included lands in between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River.
Why did the biggest empire with the greatest army and navy concede so much to a new nation?
Because George Rogers Clark and his men seized the Illinois Country and held it during the American War for Independence.
Today, William Nester, a Professor of Government and Politics at St. John’s University and author of George Rogers Clark: ‘I Glory in War,’ leads us on an exploration of the life and deeds of George Rogers Clark.
About the Show
Ben Franklin’s World is a podcast about early American history.
It is a show for people who love history and for those who want to know more about the historical people and events that have impacted and shaped our present-day world.
Each episode features a conversation with a historian who helps us shed light on important people and events in early American history.
In this episode, William Nester, a Professor of Government, Politics, and Environmental Studies at St. John’s University and author of George Rogers Clark: ‘I Glory in War,’ leads us on an exploration of the life and deeds of George Rogers Clark.
During our exploration, Bill reveals who George Rogers Clark was; The Illinois Country and why Clark felt the Patriots needed to capture and hold the territory during the American War for Independence; And how George Rogers Clark almost came to lead an early version of the Corps of Discovery.
What You’ll Discover
- George Rogers Clark
- Clark’s childhood in Virginia
- Kentucky during the 1760s and 1770s
- How Clark planned to defend Kentucky from Native Americans and the British Army
- The Illinois Country
- Why Clark wanted to seize the Illinois Country for the new United States
- The actions Clark took to seize the Illinois Country
- Clark’s attack on the British fort at Vincennes
- British Colonel Henry Hamilton
- Native American involvement with the British and American fight for the Illinois Country
- What the French colonists thought of the American and British fight for the Illinois Country
- Clark’s diplomacy with Native Americans
- The civil war-like nature of the War for Independence in Illinois Country
- Clark’s post-war life and financial problems
- How George Rogers Clark became involved with conspiracies against the United States
- James Wilkinson
- The Sedition Act of 1798
- How George Rogers Clark almost came to lead an early version of the Corps of Discovery
- How Clark’s youngest brother William came to serve in the Corps of Discovery
Links to People, Places, and Publications
- William Nester
- Bill’s St. Johns University Page
- Locust Grove Kentucky State Historc Site
- George Rogers Clark: “I Glory in War”
- Episode 037: Kathleen DuVal, Independence Lost: Lives on the Edge of the American Revolution
- Episode 081: Don Glickstein, After Yorktown: The Final Struggle for American Independence
- Episode 082: Alejandra Dubcovsky, Information & Communication in the Early American South
- Episode 091: Gregory Dowd, Rumors, Legends, & Hoaxes in Early America
In your opinion, what might have happened if British Major Henry Hamilton had known that Clark and his men were planning to attack Fort Sackville and retake Vincennes in February 1779? Would Hamilton and his men have repelled Clark’s attack? If so, how would British possession of Vincennes and presence in the Illinois Country have affected the American War for Independence?
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