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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The galloping Hessian of the hollow: The search for early American identity through foreign mercenaries
by Malebranche, Mark R., II, M.A., California State University, Fullerton, 2016, 146; 10099257
Abstract (Summary)

The subject of an American national identity has been a source of debate for centuries. Some argue it had naturally evolved by the time of the American Revolution while others argue there was no cohesive “American” people at the time of the war. By looking at the ways in which the American colonists interpreted the presence of the Hessian soldiers contracted by the British government during the struggle, this conversation can be continued in a new and unique way. The Hessians themselves have often been ignored by the historical record, though studying these men reveals that at the time of the American Revolution, the colonists remained divided and were rather a collection of different peoples.

I approach this study by looking primarily at the wartime press of New York and Pennsylvania, put in context with the events of the Revolution, along with some of the early American historians (Mercy Otis Warren, David Ramsay, John Marshall, and Washington Irving) writing in the decades following the Treaty of Paris. Differences and similarities in the ways they discussed the Hessian involvement during the American Revolution reveal a lack of cohesive identity during and in the decades following the war.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Stern, Jessica
Commitee: Cawthra, Benjamin, Varzally, Allison
School: California State University, Fullerton
Department: History
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 55/04M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: American history
Keywords: American national identity, American revolution, New York, Pennsylvania
Publication Number: 10099257
ISBN: 978-1-339-63293-3
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