Virtually all modern accounts of the Revolution begin in 1763 with the Peace of Paris, the great treaty that concluded the Seven Years’ War. Opening the story there, however, makes the imperial events and conflicts that followed the war — the controversy over the Sugar Act and the Stamp Act crisis — into precursors of the Revolution. No matter how strenuous their other disagreements, most modern historians have looked at the years after 1763 not as contemporary Americans and Britons saw them — as a postwar era vexed by the unanticipated problems in relations between the colonies and metropolis — but as what we in retrospect know those years to have been, a pre-Revolutionary period. By sneaking glances, in effect, at what was coming next, historians robbed their accounts of contingency and suggested, less by design than by inadvertence, that the independence and nationhood of the United States were somehow inevitable.
Benjamin West (1738—1820)
Watercolor on ivory; 6.4 x 4.6 cm (2 1/2 x 1 13/16 in). Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT.
Oil on canvas; 131 x 98 cm (51-1/2 x 38-1/2 in). Historical Society of Pennsylvania Collection, Philadelphia History Museum at the Atwater K
General Johnson Saving a Wounded French Officer from the Tomahawk of a North American Indian. Oil on canvas. Derby Museum
Art and hand-colored print by Benjamin West; engraving by Pierre Charles Canot (c. 1710—77). Ohio Historical Society, Columbus, OH.
Art and hand-colored print by Benjamin West; engraving by William Smith (1727—1803). Ohio Historical Society, Columbus, OH.
Oil on canvas; 28 1/4 x 23 in. (71.8 x 58.4 cm). New-York Historical Society, New York, NY.
Oil on canvas; 76.2 x 61.6 cm. Private collection.
Oil on canvas; 152.6 x 214.5 cm (60 x 84-1/2 in).
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario.
Oil on canvas; h:66.50 w:66.30 cm (h:26 1/8 w:26 1/16 inches). The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH.
Oil on canvas; 25 x 24 7/8 inches (63.5 x 63.2 cm). Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT.