Born a slave, Romeo Smith of Windham, Maine, entered the Continental Army with the promise of freedom in exchange for military service. He served in the 7th Massachusetts for three years and was supposedly manumitted. Yet in January 1784, the threat of being reclaimed as a slave surfaced and Romeo sought the assistance of General Henry Knox. The document featured here is Knox’s retained draft certifying Smith’s freedom.
- ›› Eras and Sub-Eras : The American Revolution, 1763-1783
On December 14, 1780, Alexander Hamilton married Elizabeth Schuyler, the second daughter of wealthy patriot Philip Schuyler. One of our favorite documents in the Gilder Lehrman Collection is a love letter from Hamilton to Elizabeth, written two months before their wedding.
Take a closer look at George Washington’s letter using 18th-century abbreviations.
Did you know that the most popular written work in American history was published before America was an actual nation of its own?
On January 10, 1776, six months before the adoption of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress, Thomas Paine published his explosive pro-independence pamphlet, Common Sense. The polemical work, which sold one copy for every five people living in the colonies, is famous not only for its revolutionary anti-monarchy message, but for the language with which Paine delivered that...
The basic principle that governed voting in colonial America was that voters should have a “stake in society.”...