Hewes Analysis

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Through Young’s article on a poor Cordwainer living through the formative years of the American Revolution, we gain a unique glimpse into the extraordinary times that shaped both one man’s experiences and the historical narrative of a nation for generations to come. Young uses both primary and secondary sources to present a coherent picture of the events that transpired as they relate to one person and a nation at large. He draws heavily from two biographies written during Hewes’ time. One written by James Hawkes in 1834 and the other by Benjamin Bussey Thatcher in 1835. Both of these biographies are based on direct interviews of Hewes himself. Other sources Young draws upon include court records, archives, tax documents, newspapers, journals, baptismal records, and the stories of family descendants. All of these sources offer insights into the events of Hewes’ life, before, during, and after the war. They also bring with them new questions and at times, cast doubt on their historical accuracy. Yet, Young acknowledges this and draws from these many and at times, opposing sources, to somehow illustrate a deeper truth. I will attempt to analyze Young’s article in the hopes of offering a clear…show more content…
The story constructed by Hewes has a deeply inspiring quality to it. However, it is my belief that although he does make efforts to disentangle the biographers and Hewes’ potential skewing of events, he does not go far enough at certain points. At times he seems to enable the old adage, “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend” without due skepticism. The strength of Young’s article rests on how well he buttresses the more questionable parts of the story with well sourced and verifiable information. His use of such a wide array of evidence to substantiate his narrative when viewed holistically, make up for the shortcomings of his less reliable
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