“I Still Have an Independent Spirit”: Disability and Masculinity among Veterans of the Revolutionary War

Lecture Description

Moses Rollins, a veteran of the Revolutionary War, did not wish to claim a disability pension. For forty years after suffering leg wounds during the Southern Campaign, Rollins shouldered the brunt of infection and fever. To raise money for medical care, in 1785, Rollins bound himself into three years of indentured servitude. As late as 1807, Rollins begged a doctor to amputate. Not until 1812, on the eve of his fiftieth year, did Rollins at last succumb to necessity and apply for the pension to which had long been statutorily entitled. In a petition to the Virginia Assembly, Rollins explained his reluctance to apply: “I have both fought and bled for the Independence of our Country, and I still have an independent spirit.” By examining the lives of Rollins and other veterans, this lecture investigates the relationships between disability and masculinity in an age of independence.


Disability Revolutionary and Early National

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