Revolutionary, federalist, republican: the early life and reputations of William HullShow full item record
|Revolutionary, federalist, republican: the early life and reputations of William Hull
|Greer, David Alan
|Doctor of Philosophy
|This study examines the life, career, and evolving reputations of William Hull (1753-1825) up to his appointment as first governor of Michigan Territory in 1805. Usually remembered for his surrender of Fort Detroit and the U.S. Northwestern Army in 1812, Hull earlier had been known to contemporaries as an intrepid Revolutionary officer, a determined pro-Constitution Federalist, and then, perhaps surprisingly, a leading Republican of Massachusetts. Historians have hitherto paid little attention to Hull's early career, nor have they made extensive use of his widely scattered papers. Yet his Revolutionary and postwar contributions were significant, remarkably varied, and frequently controversial.^His diverse roles and reputations well illustrate the dynamic and often-divided character of American society in an early republican period that evoked a range of political, economic, and social reorientations.Born in western Connecticut, Hull gained distinction as a Yale graduate, long-serving Continental officer, founder of the Society of the Cincinnati, lawyer, opponent of Shays's Rebellion, advocate of the Constitution, officer lobbyist to Congress, federal envoy to Canada, commercial entrepreneur, speculator in western (including Yazoo) lands, militia general, county magistrate, Masonic lodge master, state senator, trustee and agent of the New England Mississippi Land Company, and influential Jeffersonian Republican in Federalist-dominated Massachusetts.^Over many years he participated in, and commented on, many of the critical events, activities, and debates that shaped the young American republic and his adopted state.Hull's military and civilian roles not only provide necessary background for his later, more famous actions, but also highlight important aspects of American military, economic, and political culture of the Revolutionary and early national years. He represented a variety of interests, broad and narrow, and espoused views that competed for dominance in this extraordinarily contentious era. Among his chief concerns throughout was to protect the legacy of the Revolution as he understood it, whether as a veteran against civilian leaders, a Federalist against Antifederalists, or a New England Republican against High Federalists. Admired by some and resented by others, Hull reflected the swirling ideological forces of his day, and, like the new nation itself, embodied both idealism and opportunism.
|Stevens, Kenneth R.
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- Doctoral Dissertations