Three Important Figures From an Era in U S History Between European Settlement and Reconstruction Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

America was finding its footing, Americans were finding their identity. The spark of revolution trickled down the vine where three men decided to take arms. One took arms by defending the country against the British and securing the role of president of a new country. A second took pen and wrote to inspire the reluctant to declare independence from an unfair Britain. A third took brush and art to establish a painted history of the American revolution along with the first museums to showcase them in.Three notable figures, George Washington, Charles Willson Peale, and Thomas Paine became some of the most influential men of their time.

George Washington was born on February 22, 1732 or February 11, 1731 and died December 14, 1799. He was alive during the time of the American Revolution and played a pivotal role in America's victory over Great Britain.He became the first President of the United States from 1789 -- 1797, the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States (Burns & Dunn, 2004, p. 35) . He supervised over the meeting that drafted the Constitution, which replaced the Articles of Confederation and founded the position of President.

Washington was born to wealthy plantation owners in Colonial Virginia. His family owned slaves and sold tobacco. The death of his father resulted in Washington's reliance on tutors for his elementary school education instead of receiving it at England's Appleby School like his older brothers had done prior (Burns & Dunn, 2004, p. 45). Following the deaths of his father and older brother, Washington developed close, professional ties with William Fairfax, who guided and advocated his career as a surveyor and soldier.

With Fairfax's help, Washington quickly rose ranks to become a senior officer in the colonial forces during the first stages of the French and Indian War (Burns & Dunn, 2004, p. 122). In 1775, he was chosen by the Second Continental Congress to take the position of commander-in-chief of the Continental Army in the American Revolution. After a harsh campaign in 1776, Washington pushed out the British in Boston. He was later defeated and almost captured in New York City, but regained ground and momentum for the Patriot cause when he retook New Jersey from the British. George Washington was and always will be a notable person in American history. He helped shaped the country during its infancy.

Charles Willson Peale was born on April 15, 1741 and died on February 22, 1827. He was an American painter, soldier and naturalist (Peale, Richardson, Hindle, & Miller, 1983, p. xi) . He is best known for his portrait paintings of leading figures of the American Revolution. He was also an innovator in helping establish one of the first museums. Peale became a notable figure of the time because of his famous paintings that showcased important figures of the American Revolution.

Peale was born in 1741 in Chester, Queen Anne's County, Maryland, the son of Charles Peale and his wife Margaret (Peale, Richardson, Hindle, & Miller, 1983, p. 12) . He found his natural talents in painting, specifically portraiture and studied briefly under John Hesselius and John Singleton Copley. John Beale Bordley amongst others, raised funds for Peale's eventual travel to England to learn from Benjamin West. From 1767, Peale studied with West for three years, later returning to America where he lived in Annapolis, Maryland. It was in Maryland where he taught his younger brother, another noted artist of the time, James Peale, how to paint portraits.

In 1776, Peale went to the capital, Philadelphia, where he began painting portraits of American notables and foriegners. His estate, maintained on the campus of La Salle University in Philadelphia, still welcomes visitors. Peale's contributions to the American Revolution were his raising of troops for the War of Independence and gain of captain rank for the Pennsylvania militia (Peale, Richardson, Hindle, & Miller, 1983, p. 82) . By 1776, he had participated in numerous battles. He also did a wonderful job of preserving the faces of the Patriot through miniature portraits during his times in the field. Later he would produced enlarged versions of those portraits.

Besides painting, Peale showed great interest in natural history. His passion enabled him to organize the first U.S. scientific expedition in 1801. Afterwards he founded what became the Philadelphia Museum, later known as Peale's American Museum, or the first museum in America.

The museum contained various collections of biological, botanical, and archaeological specimens inspired by his expedition. Specifically, there were a large collection of birds that Peale made himself through self taught taxidermy. His record of notable people of the time and the first museum made him an excellent choice.

Thomas Paine born February 9, 1737 or January 29, 1736, died on June 8, 1809. He was an English-American political activist, author, political theorist and revolutionary (Paine & Carlile, 1819, p. 4). Paine was the author of two of the most influential pamphlets during the starting point of the American Revolution. It was through his writing, that he inspired the Patriots to declare independence from Britain in 1776.

Paine's ideas demonstrated how the Enlightenment era rhetoric of transnational human rights affected philosophy of the time (Paine & Carlile, 1819, p. 47). He was a well-known journalist and propagandist who had the ability to convey the desires of Americans in a way that inspired revolution. Paine was the son of Joseph Pain, or Paine, a Quaker, and Frances, an Anglican, in Thetford, in rural Norfolk, England (Paine & Carlile, 1819, p. 44). He was educated in Thetford Grammar School,

for 5 years from 1744 -- 1749. At age thirteen, he began learning corset making from his father. A couple of years later he enlisted and for a short time served as a privateer. In 1759 he returned in Britain where he took the role of master stay-maker, establishing a shop in Sandwich, Kent.

In July 1761, Paine took the job of supernumerary officer in Thetford. Eventually, Paine emigrated to the British American colonies in 1774. He was able to finance the trip with assistance from Benjamin Franklin. Once in America, he participated in the American Revolution. These contributions were most notably Common Sense published in 1776 (American best seller advocating colonial America's independence from Great Britain) and The American Crisis, a pro-revolutionary pamphlet series published from 1776 -- 83 (Paine & In Conway, 1967, p. 134). His works inspired the likes of John Adams and countless others making him a notable figure of his time.

The reason he was chosen amongst the other two was because of his written work. Many noted political and military figures drew inspiration from Common Sense. He played a major role in inspiring a nation to participate in the American Revolution. If it were not for his work, the revolution would not have had such a strong following.

The era in which the three figures lived in was a time of great upheaval and resistance. The American Revolution was a political cataclysm that happened during the last half of the 18th century. The reason for the revolution was the need for the thirteen colonies in North America to join together and break free from British rule. Through their actions, eventually they combined and became the United States of America. It was a long war through which their first action was expulsion of government officials which led (by 1776) to each colony establishing a Provincial Congress (Greene & Bailyn, 1967, p. 588) which was later met with resistance and eventual war.

It was during these times that people were developing a stronger sense of self and country. They wanted freedom and independence. They also wanted to show the mother country how strong they were on their…

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