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Patrick Henry’s America

John Ragosta (University of Virginia)

Thomas Jefferson said Patrick Henry “got the ball of revolution rolling.” Historian John Ragosta says Henry was five times elected governor of colonial Virginia, but it was his ability to electrify an audience that made him the idol of the common people.

13 mins

Polegreen Church

Kelley Libby

Before Patrick Henry died, he credited a Presbyterian minister named Samuel Davies with “teaching me what an orator should be.” Kelley Libby finds the story of Davies at a “ghost church” on a stretch of rural road.

3 mins

Rediscovering James Madison

Andrew Burstein (Louisiana State University)

Two hundred years ago this week the British burned Washington in the War of 1812. The man in the White House was our nation’s fourth president, James Madison. Andrew Burstein says Madison was an intensely political man, but he wasn’t slippery—you knew where you stood with him.

12 mins

Reading the Founding Fathers’ Mail

Bill Kissell, Donna Carty, and Dena Radley (Documents Compass)

More than 30 people spent three years immersed in transcribing and digitizing thousands of letters written by George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Abigail Adams, and James Madison. Many of them said they experienced a sense of loss and sorrow when the massive project to proofread the letters and make them available online came to a close. Join us as Bill Kissell, Donna Carty, and Dena Radley share favorite letters that reveal the fascinating inner lives of the founders

17 mins

Founders Online

Sue Perdue (Virginia Humanities) and Kathleen Williams (National Historical Publications and Records Commission at the National Archives)

Project Director Sue Perdue and Kathleen Williams describe the scope of this remarkable project of the National Archives called “Founders Online”. 

7 mins

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