Why did early Americans choose to become patriots or loyalists during the American Revolution?
How did they make the decision to either stand with or against their neighbors?
Did political beliefs really drive them to support one side of the imperial conflict over the other?
In this episode, we explore answers to these questions about how and why Americans chose to support the sides they did during the American Revolution, by looking at the lives of two young soldiers from Connecticut: Moses Dunbar and Nathan Hale.
Taking us through the lives, politics, and decisions of these young men is Virginia DeJohn Anderson, a professor of history at the University of Colorado-Boulder and author of The Martyr and the Traitor: Nathan Hale, Moses Dunbar, and the American Revolution.
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.
Ben Franklin’s World is a production of the Omohundro Institute.
Virginia DeJohn Anderson, a professor of history at the University of Colorado-Boulder and author of The Martyr and the Traitor: Nathan Hale, Moses Dunbar, and the American Revolution, takes us through the lives, politics, and decisions of Nathan Hale and Moses Dunbar.
As we explore the lives of Dunbar and Hale, Virginia reveals biographical details about Moses Dunbar and Nathan Hale; Information about the political atmosphere in Connecticut both before and during the American Revolution; And details about what drove Moses Dunbar and Nathan Hale to support the imperial and revolutionary causes during the American Revolution.
What You’ll Discover
- Nathan Hale
- Moses Dunbar
- Connecticut politics and society before the American Revolution
- Consequences of having out-of-wedlock children in colonial New England
- Inheritance practices in colonial Connecticut
- Nathan Hale’s experiences as a student at Yale College
- How the escalating imperial crisis impacted Hale, Dunbar, and the people of Connecticut
- Why young men joined the army during the Revolution
- Nathan Hale’s experience in the Connecticut and Continental forces
- How Nathan Hale became a Continental Army spy
- Nathan Hale’s intelligence gathering mission
- Hale’s famous last words and whether he said them
- Why Moses Dunbar chose to become a vocal loyalist and join the British Army
Links to People, Places, and Publications
- Virginia DeJohn Anderson
- The Martyr and the Traitor
- New England’s Generation
- Creatures of Empire
- Sacramento Meet up: Saturday April 14, 4pm, Firestone Public House
- Las Vegas Meet up: Saturday April 21, 4pm, Wyndham Grand Desert Hotel Lobby
- Bonus: J.L. Bell, The Boston Stamp Act Riots
- Episode 112: Mary Beth Norton, The Tea Crisis of 1773
- Episode 123: Revolutionary Allegiances
- Episode 129: J.L. Bell, The Road to Concord, 1775
- Episode 130: Paul Revere’s Ride Through History
- Episode 152: Bernard Bailyn, Origins of the American Revolution
- Episode 172: Kenneth Daigler, American Intelligence in the Revolutionary War
In your opinion, what might we know or come to understand about the American Revolution if more historians took the time to study the loyalists who stayed in the United States after the Revolution?
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