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The Common CauseCreating Race and Nation in the American Revolution$
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Robert G. Parkinson

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781469626635

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469626635.001.0001

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“This Class of Britain’s Heroes”

“This Class of Britain’s Heroes”

From the Fall of Charleston to Yorktown

(p.477) Chapter 7 “This Class of Britain’s Heroes”
The Common Cause

Robert G. Parkinson

University of North Carolina Press

Patriot political and communication leaders clung to images of British proxies as mirror opposites of heroic American freedom fighters in 1780 and 1781. In what would be the war's final, desperate years, with scandals like Benedict Arnold's treason and the loss of Charleston, South Carolina, looming, patriot publicists continued to broadcast stories about African Americans and Indians acting with General Cornwallis as a way to distinguish between friends and enemies and mobilize support for the common cause. Whenever patriot publicists had an opportunity to amplify stories about African Americans' or Indians' fighting for the king, such as at the siege of Yorktown, they did so as noisily as they could, engulfing nearly all counterexamples of blacks' and Indians' aiding the Americans. At the same time, the silence that had veiled nearly all depictions of hostile German mercenaries since early 1777 also held, even though thousands of Hessians fought for the British in the Deep South.

Keywords:   Benedict Arnold, Charleston, South Carolina, siege of Yorktown, General Charles Cornwallis

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