The Trumpet Sounds Again


Washington had, during 1775, attended the Second Continental Congress as a delegate from what he then regarded as “my country,” Virginia. Virginia was considering a military alliance with the other twelve colonies, but to achieve this was no easy matter. During their long histories the colonies had been jealous of each other, with practically no political connection other than that which was now dissolving: their allegiance to the crown.

Read more »

The Death Of A Hero

Mortally ill as his century dwindled to its close, Washington was helped to his grave by physicians who clung to typical eighteenth-century remedies. But he died as nobly as he had lived

The man who had been most jealous of George Washington for the longest time was John Adams. Adams was like the fisherman who had let the genie out of a bottle and not been able to get him back in again. He was convinced that he had created Washington in 1775 when, in his desire to get the South to join with New England against the British army, he had suggested that the Virginia colonel be made Commander in Chief. No sooner had Washington been elected than envy began.

Read more »

Providence Rides a Storm

Had a tempest not thwarted his plans, George Washington might have lost the Revolution in the first major operation he commanded

That George Washington drove the British out of Boston in early March 1776 is known to almost every schoolboy who has studied the American Revolution, but a disturbing aspect of this crucial event is not recognized even by most of the experts. One may read biographies of Washington, and military histories of the Revolution, without coming on more than a stray hint. This omission has undoubtedly occurred because the story flies in the face of the traditional Washington legend.Read more »

“Washington At Monmouth”

Neglected for over half a century, Emanuel Leutze’s huge historical canvas hovered near oblivion. Then this magazine helped to rediscover

Last fall, when the December issue of AMERICAN HERITAGE was being prepared for the printer, the Editors looked into the career of Emanuel Leutze, painter of the famous "Washington Crossing the Delaware," which was featured in an article in that issue (“Why Washington Stood Up in the Boat”). One thing that struck us was a statement by Dr. Raymond L.Read more »

How to Get Elected

The American system of choosing a President has not worked out badly, far as it may be from the Founding Fathers’ vision of a natural aristocracy

“Elections, my dear Sir,” wrote John Adams to Thomas Jefferson after perusing a copy of the new Constitution, “Elections to offices which are great objects of Ambition, I look at with terror.” One can imagine the shudder with which both men, could they stand amid the bustle of a modern presidential campaign, would regard that quadrennial “carnival of buncombe.”

With Cornwallis At Yorktown

While the French fleet was preventing the evacuation of Cornwallis by sea, French and American troops laid siege to his land positions. Some idea of the rigors of that siege has come down to us in the diary of a German corporal named Stephan Popp. The document, recently found in the library of the Historical Society in Bayreuth, Germany, Stephan’s native town, has been translated by the Reverend Reinhart J. Pope of Racine, Wisconsin, the corporal’s great-great-great grandson, and edited by Merle Sinclair of Milwaukee.


Read more »

Braddlock’s Alumni

Or, a dogged attempt to assemble a most remarkable company—the famous survivors of the battle lost by a British general on the Monongahela. Everybody who was anybody was there, from George Washington to Daniel Boone. Everybody, that is, but B. Gratz Brown

On the evening of Washington’s Birthday last, my wife and I went to the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania to hear a talk on “Pennsylvania—A State Neglected in Our Country’s History.”

After the lecture the ladies of the society served coffee and small sandwiches in the basement. There I chanced to see Mr. G., president of the Pittsburgh company i work lor. I approached him and said:

“There is a little-recognized fact of history which never ceases to astonish me.

Read more »

“Shall I Not Take Mine Ease In Mine Inn?”

To Falstaff’s question, early America gave an unequivocal answer. Its roadside taverns were the traveler’s refuge and the townsman’s club

The old saying about many an American inn, that “George Washington slept here,” is not necessarily so apocryphal as we sometimes assume. His campaigns kept him constantly on the move, and wherever he found himself, there was likely to be an inn nearby. On foot, on horseback, or even in a coach, a day’s journey was very short by our modern standards, and accommodations had to be available nearly everywhere. New Jersey alone, just after the Revolution, had 443 inns.

Read more »

Our Two Greatest Presidents

Without doubt they were Washington, who walked carefully within the Constitution, and Lincoln, who stretched it as far as he dared

The myth and the reality of American history seldom come within shouting distance of one another. What the average American believes and what the historians would like him to believe about, let us say, the first winter in Plymouth, or the Boston Massacre, or Mrs. Bixby’s five sons, are two quite different things.

The Defeat, The Lesson, The Victory

By studying Braddock’ mistakes, Henry Bouquet outsmarted the Indians who tried the same tricks on him a few years later

West of Chestnut Ridge—the last impressive barrier of what was called the Endless Mountains—a fork of land was formed by the junction of two great rivers. From the north the Allegheny came tumbling down, swift and clear two centuries ago; and moving up from its source somewhere in the southern Appalachians was the Monongahela, a deep, still body of water. Where they met, the Ohio River was formed, receiving the flow of both streams and taking it west to the Mississippi, southward to the sea.