2017 Seasonal Exhibits
Global Perspectives on the American Revolution
The American Revolution fell at a unique time in world history. A revolution was happening in philosophy, politics, and science, an era now known as the Enlightenment. Reason, liberty, religious tolerance, and constitutional government were at the forefront of scholarly thought. Enlightenment thinking threatened the established monarchies in Europe, many of whom were interconnected through marriage, alliances, and trade deals. The Enlightenment’s focus on intellectual thought and global growth allowed the American Revolution to impact countries both active and neutral during the war. Some European monarchs feared the spread of independence and some feared economic troubles. Others saw the American Revolution as an opportunity for their country. Citizens around the globe were similarly affected. Some saw hope in America’s fight for independence while others were affected by economic changes in trade.
France and Spain saw opportunities to regain land lost during the French and Indian War. The Germanic States tried to stay neutral; the largest Germanic States were on unfriendly terms with England or in alliances with countries like Spain and France. Russia was affected by encroachment on shipping regulations by England and illegal raids of Russian ships while other countries in Asia and Scandinavia were impacted by global changes in trade.
Shoemaking was a different process in Colonial times than it is today. Shoemakers, called cordwainers, held a special importance to the colonists, who faced rugged and wild conditions compared to England, and arrived fairly early in Colonial America. Shoe use to be made by hand. A store would have a selection of ready-made shoes, but the cordwainer would have to make these or custom shoes in specific styles and materials. The cordwainer could also make what was known as a last (model) of a customers foot, which would be stored in the event of future purchases. Come and learn what else was different in the colonial shoe making process!
This exhibit was researched and created by Heather Kenny, one of our interns for the 2016 Summer Internship Program.