Litchfield Law School and the Revolutionary Elite

Tapping Reeve, Litchfield Historical SocietyJoel Barlow and Noah Webster graduated from Yale together in 1778 with little sense of what they might do next. Their experience will be familiar to graduates of our own day, except, of course that it was in the middle of a Revolutionary War. “We are not the first men in the world to have broke loose from college without fortune to puff us into public notice,” Barlow wrote to Webster. But if ever virtue and merit were to be rewarded, he went on, “it is in America.”[1] Both men would have their faith in America sorely tested over the following decades, as they struggled to gain entry into established social elites that were themselves experiencing tension and transformation. Continue reading

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