The Life and Times of General Andrew Pickens: Revolutionary War Hero, American Founder

The Life and Times of General Andrew Pickens: Revolutionary War Hero, American Founder

The Life and Times of General Andrew Pickens: Revolutionary War Hero, American Founder

The Life and Times of General Andrew Pickens: Revolutionary War Hero, American Founder

Synopsis

Andrew Pickens (1739-1817), the hard-fighting South Carolina militia commander of the American Revolution, was the hero of many victories against British and Loyalist forces. In this book, Rod Andrew Jr. offers an authoritative and comprehensive biography of Pickens the man, the general, the planter, and the diplomat. Andrew vividly depicts Pickens as he founds churches, acquires slaves, joins the Patriot cause, and struggles over Indian territorial boundaries on the southern frontier. Combining insights from military and social history, Andrew argues that while Pickens's actions consistently reaffirmed the authority of white men, he was also determined to help found the new republic based on broader principles of morality and justice.

After the war, Pickens sought a peaceful and just relationship between his country and the southern Native American tribes and wrestled internally with the issue of slavery. Andrew suggests that Pickens's rise to prominence, his stern character, and his sense of duty highlight the egalitarian ideals of his generation as well as its moral shortcomings--all of which still influence Americans' understanding of themselves.

Excerpt

The old gentleman rode straight and stiff in the saddle into the village of Pendleton, South Carolina, one day in the late 1790s. He was about five feet ten inches tall, “quite lean & slender—quite ugly,” one man remembered. He was dressed simply and neatly, wearing a wide beaver hat. Virtually every person who noticed him would have immediately recognized him as General Andrew Pickens—hero of the Revolution, successful merchant and planter, respected judge, legislator, and Indian treaty commissioner. the general dismounted and conducted his business quietly and modestly. “He conversed but little,” the observer noted, “and by no means freely; except with particular friends, and of these he was remarkably choice. and even with them, he was slow and guarded.” Even on the few occasions when Pickens addressed other citizens publicly (and this was not one of them), his words were few, simple, and direct. There was no soaring oratory, no classical references, no rhetorical flourishes.

Pendleton itself was little more than a glorified crossroads, with a courthouse and a few stores and cabins around the town square and a Presbyterian church about three miles away. Located in the far northwest corner of the state, Pendleton was on the outer edge of white settlement in the area. Only fifteen years before, it had been Cherokee country, a place where, in time of war, no white man, woman, or child could have safely dwelled. Many of the white inhabitants of the area were veterans of the brutal, merciless, and seemingly never-ending war that had driven those Indians away. It was the same war that, in their view, had defeated the bloodthirsty, treasonous Tories and the red-coated brutish soldiers of a distant, hated king. Already they had forgotten the treachery and butchery that they themselves had . . .

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