Essay on Gary B. Nash 's The Unknown American

Essay on Gary B. Nash 's The Unknown American

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The American Revolution has too often been dominated by the narrative of the founding fathers and has since been remembered as a “glorified cause.” However, the American Revolution was not a unified war but a civil war with many internal disputes that wreaked havoc and chaos throughout America. In his book, The Unknown American Resvolution, Gary B. Nash attempts to unveil the chaos that the American Revolution really was through the eyes of the people not in power, including women, African American slaves, and Native Americans. In his book, Gary B. Nash emphasizes their significance in history to recount the tale of the American Revolution not through the eyes of the privileged elite but through the eyes of the people who sacrificed and struggled the most, but were left forgotten, in their endeavors to reinvent America.
Throughout the book, Gary B. Nash narrates the war in chronological order to recount the war as it happened and emphasize the events that allowed for people of different class, gender, and/or race to stand up and call for American Independence or to turn on their country and join the British forces. In short, Nash emphasizes that the revolution was a “people’s revolution” [Page XV] and as such divided each chapter with different subsections that displayed the events that were pivotal for each group.
To establish the importance of the common folk in the Revolution, Nash begins the book by discussing the Founding Fathers. He describes their general dislike of each other and whether they deserve the credit they received. From John Adams attacking Thomas Jefferson for not being a “true figure” in the revolution to Tom Paine attacking George Washington for being an impostor and lacking principles, Nash establishes the...


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...e forgotten is noble. He praises these groups for their sacrifices and ideas for which are now the basis of American ideals. Nash did an excellent job in depicting the stories of people who played an important role in the revolution. Moreover, he depicted the revolution in what it really was: a series of internal disputes that created more division than unity. In spite of this, Nash failed to establish a basis of comparison failed to compare the American Revolution to other revolutions. In doing this he could have illuminated the issues which the colonies faced and see how similar they were to other countries. In summary, Nash accomplished to frame the revolution as a series of small revolutions within the country simultaneously occurring as the revolution with Britain. Nonetheless, he would have illuminated the American Revolution had he set a basis for comparison.

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