Christopher Gadsden and Henry Laurens: The Parallel Lives of Two American Patriots

Christopher Gadsden and Henry Laurens: The Parallel Lives of Two American Patriots

Christopher Gadsden and Henry Laurens: The Parallel Lives of Two American Patriots

Christopher Gadsden and Henry Laurens: The Parallel Lives of Two American Patriots

Synopsis

"A study of the lives of Christopher Gadsden (1724-1805) and Henry Laurens (1724-1792) is much more than a look at the contributions of two important, though largely neglected, heroes of the Revolution. Indeed, in these two lives, one can trace the development of the Revolution in South Carolina. Either Gadsden or Laurens, sometimes both, figured prominently in every major development in South Carolina between 1760 and 1783." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

Little did I know when I first encountered Christopher Gadsden and Henry Laurens that these two lives would occupy such an important place in my own life. the present study originated as a doctoral dissertation at the University of Illinois in which I set out to compile a group study of the revolutionary elite of Charleston, South Carolina. the more I read, however, the more intrigued I became with the lives of Gadsden and Laurens. Born days apart and close friends for decades, Gadsden and Laurens shared similar socioeconomic backgrounds. I found myself growing increasingly interested in how, contrary to all of the historical models proposed to explain loyalties during the revolutionary era, Gadsden emerged as the leader of the radical resistance to British policy in South Carolina while Laurens remained staunchly moderate. At the same time, I found that neither of these important figures had received the attention merited by their accomplishments: though Gadsden was the subject of a fairly recent biography, Laurens’s story had not been told since the outdated work of David Duncan Wallace in 1915. What follows is a dual biography which chronicles not only the rise and fall of a friendship, but one which emphasizes the political development of two complex revolutionary leaders.

This study could not have been completed without the assistance of many people. Special thanks go to John Pruett, who not only sparked my interest in the topic, but also served as advisor, mentor and friend at the University of Illinois. the same can be said of Robert Johannsen who took time out of his own busy schedule to read parts of this manuscript. More important, however, Professor Johannsen set examples of scholarly and teaching effectiveness, as well as gentlemanly conduct, which I have attempted to follow in my own career. Robert McColley, Walter Arnstein, Vernon Burton, Daniel Littlefield, William Sutton, and Steve White also provided thoughtful and insightful commentary during the revision process. C. James Taylor and David Chesnutt of The Papers of Henry Laurens project at the University of South Carolina contributed important suggestions as well as assistance in locating sources. I also appreciate the advice and support of my friends and colleagues at Middle Tennessee State University and the University of Tennessee at Martin. Nor could the work have been completed without the assistance of the staffs of the South Caroli-

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.