17-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:
Thursday, February 20, 1913: Am working at my essay. I have it pretty well on its way.
Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:
Grandma was writing an essay on the American Revolution. Her teacher was going to give a two and a half-dollar gold piece to whoever wrote the best essay.
The American Revolution seems like an awfully broad topic. There must have been some additional directions to narrow it down—but they didn’t make it into the diary.
I found an American History textbook that was published in 1913. Here’s how the chapter on the American Revolution began:
The Revolutionary War
In the war which she had begun, Great Britain would find both advantage and difficulty in the geographical conditions of the country which she had undertaken to subdue.
The coast line, indented with harbors, and with rivers flowing into the sea at convenient intervals, at first offered to a powerful navy little resistance beyond that of inertia, which condition, however, might prove distinctly embarrassing from the fact that it was temporary and therefore invited a naval commander to possible destruction through necessity for his acting with extreme haste in seizing important towns on the seaboard. But in holding even Boston, the storm center of insurgency, the British power was already largely occupied; and , in the end, events proved that while the coast towns might be taken, their capture would cost more than the results were worth; for the strength of the American colonies was not in the cities, but in the rural regions, where every man and boy knew every stream and mountain, and a column of British never left the coast and marched into the interior without sooner or later coming to grief. . . .
American History for Schools (1913) by R.B. Cousins and J.A. Hill