The Foundations of American Nationality

By Evarts Boutell Greene | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXII
INDEPENDENCE WON

WHEN the Revolution broke out, it was mainly the work of men who lived within a hundred miles of the coast, and the number of permanent settlers who had actually crossed the mountains was insignificant. Before the war ended, however, the frontiersmen on the eastern and western slopes of the Appalachians made some real contributions to the American cause, and even the Mississippi valley was the scene of some notable events.

Western phases of the Revolution.

When actual fighting began, in 1775, the air was full of plans for new colonies, or commonwealths, independent of the existing colonial governments. In the north, the Vermont frontiersmen who helped to defeat Burgoyne's army were troubled by the conflicting claims of New York and New Hampshire, and tried to solve the problem by organizing a state government of their own. In 1778 they adopted their first state constitution, though they had to wait thirteen years before they were admitted to the Union. The German settlers on the Mohawk seem to have had no such aspirations; but in Pennsylvania new settlements were forming around Fort Pitt, which it was proposed to combine with others in the present limits of West Virginia and eastern Kentucky, in order to form the new colony of Westsylvania. In central Kentucky was the colony of Transylvania, promoted by the North Carolina speculator, Richard Henderson, with the coöperation of Daniel Boone, the most notable figure among the pioneers and trail makers of his day. The Kentuckians gave up for a time their hope

Frontier communities. Vermont.

The South- west. Ken- tucky.

-496-

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