panel discussion


New Approaches to the Revolutionary Era

TimeFriday, July 23, 2021 from 12:00 PM–1:00 PM
PriceFree, but registration required.

Join us for a series of virtual presentations on Virginia history and culture from scholars across the state. This series offers some of the most compelling sessions that had been proposed for the 2020 Virginia Forum conference, which was cancelled due to the pandemic. The annual event brings together teachers, students, and professionals interested in Virginia history and culture to present, discuss, and reconsider the story of the commonwealth. Free and open to the general public, this collaboration with the Library of Virginia will share the online sessions with a wider audience. Events are scheduled for July 23, August 6, August 20, and September 17, 2021.

On July 23, Carolyn Eastman (associate professor of history, Virginia Commonwealth University) leads a panel discussion on New Approaches to the Revolutionary Era with historians Kyle Rogers (historical interpreter, Patrick Henry’s Scotchtown) and David Hayter (research and administrative assistant, VCU’s L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs). Scholars who examine the era of the American Revolution often have to make use of the few original documents that remain—requiring us to do a lot with very little. Whether studying the intellectual history of that era or the lives of the enslaved, scholars continually need to employ creative means of rare sources. This discussion illustrates how a new generation of scholars are doing just that.


Hayter scrutinizes a long-overlooked aspect of the Revolutionary era: at the same time that many political leaders drew heavily on the history of the classical Roman republic as a model for building a new American republic, some looked to an Anglo-Saxon past instead. But where did they get those ideas, and how much did they matter?

Rogers explores the meanings of slavery and freedom in Early Republic and antebellum-era Virginia by scrutinizing county court records in the Library of Virginia’s archives. When five enslaved people seized their freedom in four different Virginia counties between 1820 and 1864, they spawned contentious lawsuits that debated not only their legal statuses, but also the court system’s role in protecting the institution of slavery.

For more information, contact Ashley Ramey at or 804.692.3001.

Register Here
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