Professor of History David Stewart, who assisted in creating the Western and American Heritage readers, is creating another book of primary sources for a new class on the military history of the American Revolution.
The upper-level elective history class, which Stewart plans to teach next semester, will focus specifically on campaigns and battles, foreign involvement in the war, and supplying goods to the U.S. Army and the U.S. Navy during the revolution.
“We often see the American Revolution in too unique of a context, rather than placing it in this broader European context that we lose sight of,” Stewart said.
A preliminary edition of the reader and the class will be ready for next semester, although it will need tinkering, according to Stewart. The reader will be comparable to the current Logic and Rhetoric reader in length and style. Over time, it will develop into a reader similar to the ones available for Western and American Heritage.
“I thought it would be fun to offer something different, a class that students don’t always get a chance to take,” Stewart said.
Senior Kara Schmidt and junior Garrison Grisedale are helping Stewart with the research.
According to Grisedale, their job is finding primary sources, including diaries and letters, from various battles and campaigns. Grisedale and Schmidt compile these sources into PDF documents for Stewart to read. They will also assist with editing the manuscript prior to publishing. Both students are politics majors and accepted this paid position as part of the George Washington Fellowship, the chief component of Hillsdale’s undergraduate education programs in Washington, D.C.
“Really any primary source account is where you get an inside look at the battles, at people breaking it down and saying what they saw, like people recounting the bullets flying by them,” Grisedale said.
Schmidt, who said she has always been fascinated with the history of the Revolution, is currently researching the Quebec campaign. She will also research the role Loyalists, or Tories played in the Revolution.
Schmidt said she believes this course will be interesting, as the information about the battles will be based on firsthand accounts and primary sources. She and Grisedale are about a third of the way done with their research.
Although professors typically gear these specialized classes toward upper-level history majors, Schmidt encourages people of all majors to consider taking the class.
“I would not just limit the class to history people,” Schmidt said. “Everybody should know history, and it affects all of us as Americans.”