Enfilade

Online Exhibitions | Museum of the American Revolution

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on December 7, 2022

Left: Thomas Gainsborough, Portrait of Richard Mansergh St. George, detail, 1776 (Melbourne: National Gallery of Victoria). Right: Hugh Douglas Hamilton, Portrait of Richard Mansergh St. George, detail, ca. 1796 (Dublin: National Gallery of Ireland, purchased, 1992)

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From the Museum of the American Revolution:

Cost of Revolution: The Life and Death of an Irish Soldier
Museum of the American Revolution, Philadelphia, 28 September 2019 — 17 March 2020, online version ongoing

What can a life tell us about an era? These two portraits depict Richard Mansergh St. George, an Irish soldier who fought against two revolutions, one in America and one in Ireland. To the left is the young and confident St. George in 1776, dressed in his British Army uniform, ready to ship off to fight the American ‘rebels’. To the right is Richard Mansergh St. George grieving at his wife’s tomb two years before his tenants killed him at the beginning of the Irish Revolution of 1798. 

In the 20 years separating his portraits, St. George’s life changed dramatically. He survived a severe head wound in America, mourned over the tragic death of his wife, and saw the power of kings and of gentlemen like himself violently challenged on two continents. Along the way, St. George created and commissioned artwork to deal with his trauma and make sense of his rapidly changing world. His portraits, paintings, sketches, and cartoons provide new insight into the personal cost of revolution and the entangled histories of the American Revolution of 1776 and the Irish Revolution of 1798.

1  St. George’s Ireland: A Divided Population
2  American War: Fighting for the Crown
3  Wounded Veteran: A Man Versed in Misfortune
4  Irish Revolution: Fighting for Independence in 1798

1797 New Jersey Electoral Reform Enrolled Law
(New Jersey State Archives, Department of State)

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From the Museum of the American Revolution:

When Women Lost the Vote: A Revolutionary Story, 1776–1807
Museum of the American Revolution, Philadelphia, 2 October 2020 — 25 April 2021, online version ongoing

Women voted in Revolutionary America, over a hundred years before the United States Constitution guaranteed that right to women nationally. The 1776 New Jersey State Constitution referred to voters as “they,” and statutes passed in 1790 and 1797 defined voters as “he or she.” This opened the electorate to free property owners, Black and white, male and female, in New Jersey. This lasted until 1807, when a new state law said only white men could vote. What can this story of changing laws about who could vote from the earliest days of American democracy teach us about what it means to vote and what it takes to preserve and expand that right? A newly discovered set of sources—lists of men and women, Black and white—who voted in New Jersey between 1798 and 1807 set off our quest to find the answers.

1  How Did Women Gain the Vote? The Promise of 1776 for Women
2  How Did the Vote Expand? New Jersey’s Revolutionary Decade
3  How Did Women Lose the Vote? The Backlash
4  How Was the Vote Regained? Redemption

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