Mount Vernon welcomes author Craig Bruce Smith to the Robert H. and Clarice Smith Auditorium to discuss his book American Honor: The Creation of the Nation's Ideals during the Revolutionary Era on Thursday, August 9, 2018.

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Header Image: General George Washington Resigning His Commission, by John Trumbull, 1824. Courtesy of the Architect of the Capitol. 

About the Book

American Honor tells the history of the Revolution through an ethical lens. It shows that a colonial ethical transformation caused and became inseparable from the American Revolution, creating a continuing moral ideology. This book centers on several generations of Americans who came of age before the Revolution and climbed to prominence during it. These founders are remembered for their contributions to American independence and the creation of a nation, but while they were forming this new republic, they reflected on the ethics of their deeds. They wanted the country to succeed, but not at the cost of honor or virtue. These two concepts were at the forefront of the American founders’ minds as they traveled the precarious road to independence.

American Honor traces the development of honor and virtue in the lives of people such as Washington, Franklin, Adams, Jefferson, and other individuals from the elite, middling and lower classes. It also incorporates groups that have historically been excluded from the discussion of honor, such as women and African Americans. Using a narrative writing style and a deep core investigation into members of these Revolutionary generations, this project traces extensive changes over time and analyzes how thought influenced action.

About the Author 

Craig Bruce Smith is an Assistant Professor of History and the Director of the History Program at William Woods University. He earned his Ph.D. in American History from Brandeis University and specializes in early American cultural and intellectual history during the long eighteenth century and the Age of Revolution, specifically looking at ethics, national identity, and transnational ideas.

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