Charles Willson Peale (1741—1827)

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 Charles Willson Peale (1741—1827)

Oil on canvas; 49 7/8 x 39 3/4 in. (126.4 x 101 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY.

by Charles Willson Peale (1741—1827)

Oil on canvas. Historical Society of Pennsylvania Collection, Philadelphia History Museum at the Atwater Kent, Philadelphia, PA.

by Charles Willson Peale (1741—1827)

Oil on canvas. Independence National Historical Park, Portrait Collection (Second Bank of the United States), Philadelphia, PA.

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 Charles Willson Peale (1741—1827)

Oil on canvas. The Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, MD.

by Charles Willson Peale (1741—1827)

Oil on canvas; 50 x 40-1/2 in. Private collection.

by Charles Willson Peale (1741—1827)

Oil on canvas; 36 13/16 x 32 1/16 inches (93.5 x 81.4 cm). Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA.

by Charles Willson Peale (1741—1827)

Oil on canvas; 86 1/2" x 56 3/4". Maryland State Art Collection, Annapolis, MD.

by Charles Willson Peale (1741—1827)

Oil on canvas. Washington and Lee University, Lexington, VA.

It is difficult to recapture the intensity of excitement felt by Americans in 1776 over the prospect of forming new republican governments. It is a work, said Thomas Jefferson, of the most interesting nature and such as every individual would wish to have his voice in. Even the business of the Continental Congress was stifled because so many delegates — including Jefferson — left for home to take part in the paramount activity of erecting the new state governments. Constitutions, remarked Francis Lightfoot Lee, employ every pen. ... Nothing — not the creation of [the] confederacy, not the Continental Congress, not the war, not the French alliance — in the years surrounding the Declaration of Independence engaged the interests of Americans more that the framing of these governments.

Gordon S. Wood
The Creation of the American Republic, 1776—1787 (1969)