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America’s First Veterans

More than a quarter of a million Americans served in the armed forces that won our independence. Those who survived the war became America’s first veterans—the world’s first veterans of an army of free men. The American republic owed its existence to them, but its citizens found it difficult to acknowledge that debt, much less honor their service.

The generals who led them were celebrated as heroes, but ordinary soldiers were rarely honored in the first decades after the war’s end. It took fifty years for Congress to pass comprehensive legislation providing pensions and other benefits to these men—the foundation of our modern traditions of honoring and supporting our veterans.

America’s First Veterans brings together paintings, artifacts, prints, and documents to address the post-war experiences of the men who won the Revolutionary War—not the famous generals and leading officers whose names appear in histories of the war, but rather the junior officers and enlisted men whose stories are less often told. The exhibition focuses on their return to civilian life, their reception by a country torn and bankrupted by eight years of war, and the nation’s gradual realization of its vast debt to the men who won our independence. A centerpiece of the show is John Neagle’s arresting portrait of a pensioner of the Revolution, painted in 1830 during the fight for comprehensive federal pensions for the remaining Revolutionary War veterans. 

Categories: Free, Exhibits, History

Event Venue

The Society of the Cincinnati at Anderson House

2118 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20008
  • Friday, November 8, 2019
  • Sunday, November 10, 2019
  • Monday, November 11, 2019
  • Tuesday, November 12, 2019
  • Wednesday, November 13, 2019
  • Thursday, November 14, 2019
  • Friday, November 15, 2019
  • Saturday, November 16, 2019
  • Sunday, November 17, 2019
  • Tuesday, November 19, 2019
  • Wednesday, November 20, 2019
  • Thursday, November 21, 2019
  • Friday, November 22, 2019
  • Saturday, November 23, 2019
  • Sunday, November 24, 2019
  • Tuesday, November 26, 2019
  • Wednesday, November 27, 2019
  • Friday, November 29, 2019
  • Saturday, November 30, 2019
  • Sunday, December 1, 2019
  • Tuesday, December 3, 2019
  • Wednesday, December 4, 2019
  • Thursday, December 5, 2019
  • Friday, December 6, 2019
  • Saturday, December 7, 2019
  • Sunday, December 8, 2019
  • Tuesday, December 10, 2019
  • Wednesday, December 11, 2019
  • Thursday, December 12, 2019
  • Friday, December 13, 2019
  • Saturday, December 14, 2019
  • Sunday, December 15, 2019
  • Tuesday, December 17, 2019
  • Wednesday, December 18, 2019
  • Thursday, December 19, 2019
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  • Saturday, December 21, 2019
  • Sunday, December 22, 2019
  • Thursday, December 26, 2019
  • Friday, December 27, 2019
  • Saturday, December 28, 2019
  • Sunday, December 29, 2019
  • Thursday, January 2, 2020
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  • Tuesday, January 7, 2020
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  • Friday, January 10, 2020
  • Saturday, January 11, 2020
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  • Tuesday, January 14, 2020
  • Wednesday, January 15, 2020
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  • Friday, January 17, 2020
  • Saturday, January 18, 2020
  • Sunday, January 19, 2020
  • Tuesday, January 21, 2020
  • Wednesday, January 22, 2020
  • Thursday, January 23, 2020
  • Friday, January 24, 2020
  • Saturday, January 25, 2020
  • Sunday, January 26, 2020
  • Tuesday, January 28, 2020
  • Wednesday, January 29, 2020
  • Thursday, January 30, 2020
  • Friday, January 31, 2020
  • Saturday, February 1, 2020
  • Sunday, February 2, 2020
  • Tuesday, February 4, 2020
  • Wednesday, February 5, 2020
  • Thursday, February 6, 2020
  • Friday, February 7, 2020
  • Saturday, February 8, 2020
  • Sunday, February 9, 2020
  • Tuesday, February 11, 2020
  • Wednesday, February 12, 2020
  • Thursday, February 13, 2020
  • Friday, February 14, 2020
  • Saturday, February 15, 2020
  • Sunday, February 16, 2020
  • Tuesday, February 18, 2020
  • Wednesday, February 19, 2020
  • Thursday, February 20, 2020
  • Friday, February 21, 2020
  • Saturday, February 22, 2020
  • Sunday, February 23, 2020
  • Tuesday, February 25, 2020
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  • Thursday, February 27, 2020
  • Friday, February 28, 2020
  • Saturday, February 29, 2020
  • Sunday, March 1, 2020
  • Tuesday, March 3, 2020
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  • Thursday, March 5, 2020
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  • Sunday, March 8, 2020
  • Tuesday, March 10, 2020
  • Wednesday, March 11, 2020
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  • Sunday, March 15, 2020
  • Tuesday, March 17, 2020
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  • Friday, March 27, 2020
  • Saturday, March 28, 2020
  • Sunday, March 29, 2020
  • Tuesday, March 31, 2020
  • Wednesday, April 1, 2020
  • Thursday, April 2, 2020
  • Friday, April 3, 2020
  • Saturday, April 4, 2020
  • Sunday, April 5, 2020
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