NEH Summer Institute for Teachers
July 17-29, 2022
“For the Common Defense: Subjects, Citizens, and America’s Military Origins, 1609-1815”
July 17-29, 2022
This two-week Summer Institute for Teachers supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities explores the evolution and the legacy of military institutions in America from the establishment of European colonies through the conclusion of the War of 1812. Open to 25 teachers in grades 6-12, this institute at Fort Ticonderoga combines readings, visiting scholars, hands-on work with documents and artifacts, and engagement with historic sites and landscapes.
This NEH Summer Institute for Teachers takes place July 17-29, 2022. There is no fee for this program and all participants receive a $2,200 stipend to help defray expenses.
Participating teachers can opt to earn three graduate credits in Education through Castleton University in Castleton, Vermont, or three graduate credits in History through Norwich University in Northfield, Vermont.
Applications are due March 1, 2022.
Participant notification March 25, 2022.
Participant acceptance deadline April 8, 2022.
“For the Common Defense: Subjects, Citizens, and America’s Military Origins, 1609-1815” explores the evolution and legacy of military institutions in America from the establishment of European colonies through the conclusion of the War of 1812. The United States emerged from a period of extensive conflict as Native peoples and European powers fought for territory, identity, and political power. Warfare shaped this period and shaped the nation that was born out of this collision of American, European, and African cultures. Military concerns were of great importance to the framers of our government and the Constitution established unique compromises between defense and liberty that continue to define the American state. Like our civil government, our military institutions are the result of history, experience, and careful study. Americans adapted and imported concepts, institutions, and tactics from across the Atlantic world, creating a unique relationship between military service and citizenship. This institute seeks to trace the origins of America’s military institutions as a way of exploring how the United States was created from a complex colonial world.
Ticonderoga is the ideal place to explore this topic based on its history and collections. As a 17th- and 18th-century colonial battlefield between Native American powers, the French, and the British, Ticonderoga grounds this study in the lived experience and precedents Americans brought to their own struggle for independence. As one of the most important sites of the American Revolution, Ticonderoga is emblematic of the challenges and stakes of fighting and winning that independence, including who would fight that war, how to create and maintain a diverse military, and how a nation conducts itself at war. Fort Ticonderoga also maintains a nationally-significant collection of artifacts and archives from across the early modern Atlantic world that contextualizes the events that occurred here including thousands of rare books, manuscripts, textiles, armaments, and other material spanning the 17th, 18th, and early 19th centuries.
Two books form the core for our discussions during this institute.
- James Kirby Martin, A Respectable Army: The Military Origins of the Republic, 1763-1789 (Wiley-Blackwell, 2015)
- Ilya Berkovich, Motivation in War: The Experience of Common Soldiers in Old-Regime Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017)