Prof. Andrea Smith has recently published two articles from her Celebrating Sullivan research. See citations, links, and abstracts below. Congratulations Andrea!
Smith, Andrea L. 2020. “Savagism, Silencing, and American Settlerism: Commemorating the Wyoming Battle of the American Revolutionary War.” Settler Colonial Studies 10(3): 353-377.
This article explores the role played by savagism in American historical consciousness, focusing on its appearance in settler accounts of the Battle of Wyoming (1778) of the Revolutionary War. The story of Wyoming is told each year in the small town of Wyoming, Pennsylvania in one of the longest-running historical commemorations in the United States. Rather than emphasizing a British foe, however, these celebrations revel in gruesome descriptions of alleged Indian forms of warfare. This article explores the political uses of savagism in these accounts. The savage trope has long served settlers in deflecting attention away from their own actions and in justifying conquest. In Wyoming narratives, savagism instead serves to deflect attention away from a deeper intra-colonist conflict that pitted two factions of colonists against each other in a bitter war that lasted decades. I conclude by considering the unifying functions of savagism in the advance of early American settlerism.
Smith, Andrea L. 2019. “Settler Colonialism and the Revolutionary War: New York’s 1929 ‘Pageant of Decision.'” The Public Historian. 41(4): 7-35.
The centerpiece of New York State’s 150th anniversary of the Sullivan Expedition of 1779 was a pageant, the “Pageant of Decision.” Major General John Sullivan’s Revolutionary War expedition was designed to eliminate the threat posed by Iroquois allied with the British. It was a genocidal operation that involved the destruction of over forty Indian villages. This article explores the motivations and tactics of state officials as they endeavored to engage the public in this past in pageant form. The pageant was widely popular, and served the state in fixing the expedition as the end point in settler-Indian relations in New York, removing from view decades of expropriations of Indian land that occurred well after Sullivan’s troops left.