“An imaginative meditation on the meaning of the American Revolution.” —Washington Post
In Light-Horse Harry Lee and the Legacy of the American Revolution, Charles Royster takes an ingenious, creative approach in his consideration of the life of one of the American Revolution’s heroes
.Having fought valiantly to bring about a victory for the colonies, Henry (“Light-Horse Harry”) Lee (1756-1818) envisioned the new country as a virtuous and prosperous classical republic and eventually aligned himself with the Federalist party. He served as governor of Virginia and as a congressman, but he grew increasingly isolated, disillusioned, and bitter as the nation moved in a direction more in line with Jeffersonian democratic principles. After going bankrupt and then suffering an attack by an angry mob, Lee exiled himself to the West Indies to escape his debts and save his family’s honor (including that of his son, future General Robert E. Lee) and returned to the United States only several weeks before this death.
Royster argues that Lee’s tragic life was different only in degree from those of many other patriots of the Revolutions who viewed the peacetime fruits of their efforts with disappointment. How Lee, and others like him, shaped the American Revolution and were shaped by it is the theme of this provocative character study.
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