Ethan allen american revolutionary war

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ethan allen american revolutionary war

Ethan Allen: His Life and Times by Willard Sterne Randall

On May 10, 1775, in the storm-tossed hours after midnight, Ethan Allen, the Revolutionary firebrand, was poised for attack. With only two boatloads of his scraggly band of Vermont volunteers having made it across the wind-whipped waters of Lake Champlain, he was waiting for the rest of his Green Mountain boys to arrive. But with the protective darkness quickly fading, Allen determined that he hold off no longer.


While Ethan Allen, a canonical hero of the American Revolution, has always been defined by his daring, predawn attack on the British-controlled Fort Ticonderoga, Willard Sterne Randall, the author of Benedict Arnold, now challenges our conventional understanding of this largely unexamined Founding Father. Widening the scope of his inquiry beyond the Revolutionary War, Randall traces Allen’s beginning back to his modest origins in Connecticut, where he was born in 1738. Largely self-educated, emerging from a relatively impoverished background, Allen demonstrated his deeply rebellious nature early on through his attraction to Deism, his dramatic defense of smallpox vaccinations, and his early support of separation of church and state.


Chronicling Allen’s upward struggle from precocious, if not unruly, adolescent to commander of the largest American paramilitary force on the eve of the Revolution, Randall unlocks a trove of new source material, particularly evident in his gripping portrait of Allen as a British prisoner-of-war. While the biography reacquaints readers with the familiar details of Allen’s life—his capture during the aborted American invasion of Canada, his philosophical works that influenced Thomas Paine, his seminal role in gaining Vermont statehood, his stirring funeral in 1789—Randall documents that so much of what we know of Allen is mere myth, historical folklore that people have handed down, as if Allen were Paul Bunyan.


As Randall reveals, Ethan Allen, a so-called Robin Hood in the eyes of his dispossessed Green Mountain settlers, aggrandized, and unabashedly so, the holdings of his own family, a fact that is glossed over in previous accounts, embellishing his own best-selling prisoner-of-war narrative as well. He emerges not only as a public-spirited leader but as a self-interested individual, often no less rapacious than his archenemies, the New York land barons of the Hudson and Mohawk Valleys.


As John E. Ferling comments, “Randall has stripped away the myths to provide as accurate an account of Allen’s life as will ever be written.” The keen insights that he produces shed new light, not only on this most enigmatic of Founding Fathers, but on today’s descendants of the Green Mountain Boys, whose own political disenfranchisement resonates now more than ever.
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Ethan Allen//Benedict Arnold and Ft Ticonderoga

Ethan Allen was a farmer, businessman, land speculator, philosopher, writer, lay theologian, American Revolutionary War patriot, and politician. He is best.
Willard Sterne Randall

Ethan Allen - Revolutionary War Hero

Ethan Allen was born in Litchfield, Connecticut in He fought in the American Revolutionary War. Allen was the leader of the Green Mountain Boys and along with Benedict Arnold captured Fort Ticonderoga from the British in in what was the first American victory of the war. Around , Ethan made his first visit to the New Hampshire Grants, which is presently in the state of Vermont. In , Ethan married Mary Brownson and they had five children. Although Ethan served in the French and Indian War, he did not see any action.

At the outbreak of the American Revolution, he raised his force of Green Mountain Boys organized in and Connecticut troops and helped capture the British fort at Ticonderoga, New York May 10, Congress gave Allen the brevet rank of colonel with back pay, but he did not serve in the war after his release. Instead, he devoted his time to local affairs in Vermont, especially working for separate statehood from New York. Failing to achieve this, he attempted to negotiate the annexation of Vermont to Canada. Ethan Allen. Article Media. Info Print Cite.

Instead, Ethan, the oldest of seven children, took over the family landholdings. Having acquired land in the area, in Ethan Allen became the colonel-commandant of the Green Mountain Boys, a militia founded in what is now Bennington, Vermont, to defend the New Hampshire Grants. Allen and his boys proposed political independence for their district between the Connecticut River and Lake Champlain before the American Revolution caused their attention to shift towards independence from Britain. In , Allen and the Green Mountain Boys captured Fort Ticonderoga from the British in a joint effort with Colonel Benedict Arnold , who had been commissioned by Massachusetts and Connecticut to stage an attack to prevent British forces from marching on Boston. The same force took control of Crown Point, New York , the following day without facing any opposition. The two easy victories garnered for the Patriots much-needed cannon that they then used to drive the British from Boston. Later in the year, the British captured Allen during the botched Patriot attempt to seize Quebec.

Quick Facts

Ethan Allen was born in in Litchfield, Connecticut. After the war, he petitioned to have Vermont become a state. When that failed, he tried to have Vermont become part of Canada. Ethan Allen died in Ethan Allen was born on January 21, in Litchfield, Connecticut. He was the first child of Joseph and Mary Baker Allen.

At the outbreak of the American Revolution, Allen summoned his militia unit, and with the assistance of Connecticut troops led by Benedict Arnold , he captured the British Fort Ticonderoga , in May of , without firing a shot. Allen remained a prisoner until May 6, , enduring rather rough treatment given his officer status. Congress gave Allen the brevet rank of colonel with back pay, but he did not serve in the war after his release. Instead, he devoted his time to local affairs in Vermont, especially working for separate statehood from New York throughout the remaining years of the Revolutionary War. Show your pride in battlefield preservation by shopping in our store. Every purchase supports the mission. Skip to main content.

3 thoughts on “Ethan Allen: His Life and Times by Willard Sterne Randall

  1. Ethan Allen was born in in Litchfield, Connecticut. He fought in the French and Indian War and the American Revolution. With Benedict.

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