The book, Sealed with Blood: War, Sacrifice, and Memory in Revolutionary America by Sarah J. Purcell, is a masterpiece both in terms of its organization and content. This book brings out the real picture of the suffering and violent experiences that American revolutionaries had to go through in order to be independent. As the title of this book indicates, freedom from the colonialist did not come on silver Plata. The participant of the revolutionary war had to shed blood while some of them lost their lives that North America can become an independent nation. One might begin to wonder what forces were behind the vigor and the motivation that the revolutionaries despite the challenges that they went through. Purcell builds her thesis on this question. She capitalizes on the idea that common experiences, ideologies, and goals are the key reasons as to why the people of North America remained strong in their struggle for independence of the British.
Purcell uses an example of the death of Joseph Warren who was the president of the Provincial congress of Massachusetts during his death. Purcell explains that Warren died under inhumane circumstances. He was assassinated at Bunkers Hill by a person who was at a close distance. The question that arises from Warren’s death is why he was killed. One of the things that remain clear is that the people behind his assassination were not people who shared the same goals and political objectives as him. Clearly, Warren was shot because of what he stood for. Purcell points out that Warren’s death became a national issue. All headlines within national and publications painted Warren as being a national hero. This phenomenon poses the question of whether Warren was the only person who had been killed for being a revolutionary in the eyes of the British colonialists. Certainly Warren was not the first person to be killed. However, the American people at this time, 1775-1783, were beginning to develop the sense of nationhood. The American people believed that they shared the same goals in life. They all had a common future. Therefore, there was a need for people to unite and speak as one people who had a common destiny. Purcell explains that public commemoration of revolutionary leaders brought a sense of togetherness. Every American citizen understood that need for being united so that everybody would speak in a common voice. The commemoration of these revolutionary leaders was an eye-opener to many Americans. People understood that there were many people who had sacrificed their lives so as to make sure that North America acquired its independence from the British.
The idea of American exceptionalism is also evident in Purcell’s work. Purcell explains how people spoke about their experiences during their participation revolutionary war when they wanted to engage in public service for example in the political life of the United States. People used this strategy so that they could convince people that they share a common identity and heritage with their audiences. This political culture is unique to the United States in that many of the voters would love to know the achievements of any political candidate in that life of America. Some of the incidences where people would talk about their experiences in the revolutionary war included situations where people were advocating for equality among the different races that constitute the American cultural topography. In these situations people believe that the revolutionary war was meant to acquire freedom for every American citizen irrespective of their color or race.
Purcell also explains that the idea of a common history and identity in America has been used in subsequent challenges facing the United States after the revolutionary war. Purcell gives an example of the American Civil War which took place in the nineteenth century. African Americans and war veterans that had been marginalized in the United States agitated for the protection of their rights in that they believed that they share in the common history and identity of the United States. African Americans argued that they were an integral part of the United States in that they served the country in both economically and in terms of military serve. Therefore, there was no reason for not according African Americans in the democratization process of the American society.
One of the strengths of this book is that Purcell is attentive when it comes to setting the context for the reader. On-American readers that might be interested in the understanding of the American Revolution can be able to make their own timelines from this book in that it is well articulated within this book. In addition, Purcell takes time to explain the political climate surrounding different events during the revolutionary war thereby making it easier for the reader to account for occurrences during the Revolutionary war.
In conclusion, the book Sealed with Blood: War, Sacrifice, and Memory in Revolutionary America by Sarah J. Purcell is an important piece of literature because it promotes the understanding of the American Revolution. This book uses the experiences of both the public and revolutionary heroes to explain how they helped shape the national identity of the United States as well as unity among the American people. In addition, Purcell brings out the idea that the United States is a unique nation that has a unique identity and political culture compared to other nations in the world.