Women of the Revolution

by John Wollaston ( c. 1710—c. 1775)

Oil on canvas; 30 x 25 in. (76.2 x 63.5 cm). New York Historical Society, New York, NY.

by John Singleton Copley (1738—1815)

Oil on canvas; 50 1/2 x 40 5/8 in. Wichita Art Museum, Wichita, KA.

by John Singleton Copley (1738—1815)

Oil on canvas; 126.05 x 100.33 cm (49 5/8 x 39 1/2 in. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA.

by John Singleton Copley (1738—1815)

Oil on canvas; 127.32 x 100.65 cm (50 1/8 x 39 5/8 in). Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA.

by John Singleton Copley (1738—1815)

Oil on canvas; 50 x 40 in. Timken Museum of Art, San Diego, CA.

Margaret Kemble Gage, 1734—1824.

by Charles Willson Peale (1741—1827)

Oil on canvas; 91.4 x 71.1 x 2.5cm (36 x 28 x 1 in). National Portrait Gallery (Smithsonian), Washington, DC.

by Joshua Reynolds (1723—92)

Oil on canvas; 125.7 x 100.3 cm

by Charles Willson Peale (1741—1827)

Oil on canvas; height: 124.46 cm (49 in), width: 99.06 cm (39 in). Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.

by Benjamin West (1738—1820)

Oil on canvas. Middleton Place, Charleston, SC

by John Singleton Copley (1738—1815)

Oil on canvas; 30 3/8 x 25 1/8. U.S. Department of State, Harry S.

For all their artistic and philosophical brilliance, the Greeks were failures at politics; Hamilton, in the Federalist, expressed horror and disgust at the distractions with which they were agitated. The Romans captured the American imagination because they had done what the Americans themselves hoped to do — sustain an extensive republic over a course of centuries. So the society of Revolutionary War officers called themselves Cincinnati; president, congress, and senate were all Roman terms. But the Roman example was also cautionary, for when they lost their virture, they slid into empire. When Franklin said, in response to a question from Eliza Powel, that the constitutional convention had produced a republic, if you can keep it, he and she would have remembered that the Romans had failed to keep theirs.

Richard Brookhiser
Founding Father: Rediscovering George Washington (1996)