Light-Horse Harry Lee and the Legacy of the American Revolution - Cover
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Light-Horse Harry Lee and the Legacy of the American Revolution

336 pages / 5.50 x 8.50 inches / no illustrations

American History

  Paperback / 9780807119105 / July 1994

“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. 

Charles Royster is Boyd Professor of History at Louisiana State University and the author of A Revolutionary People at War: The Continental Army and American Character, 17751783; The Destructive War: William Tecumseh Sherman, Stonewall Jackson, and the Americans; and other books.

Praise for Light-Horse Harry Lee and the Legacy of the American Revolution

“[A] perceptive character study. . . .Royster’s case is skillfully presented and shrewdly argued.”—Journal of American History

“Possibly the highest compliment that can be paid to this thoughtfully, beautifully written volume is to say that no student of the Revolution’s impact on the American people, either individually or collectively, can fail to address the questions and issues it raises.”—Reviews in American History

“A provocative, revealing, and speculative portrayal of a fascinating figure out of our Revolutionary Past.”—American Historical Review

“This is a handsomely produced, superbly written volume. Royster’s analysis of the troubled soldiers is both sensitive and engrossing.”—Journal of Southern History

“An important contribution to the study of America’s revolutionary experience.”—Library Journal

“[The] stimulating and complex thematic story of an interesting but not really a successful life. . . . A well-written, imaginatively conceived, and sophisticated book.”—William and Mary Quarterly

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