Remembering History

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This statue of Ethan Allen resides in the United Sates Capitol, representing the state of Vermont and demonstrating his prestigious place in American history.

The Allen household was fortunate to have a renowned historical figure among its members. Ethan Allen will remain a name synonymous with the American Revolution and the early days of the northeastern United States. From the USS Ethan Allen to the Vermont furniture store that bears his name, Allen remains in the American vernacular. Allen also has statues, biographies, and preserved archives that protect his contribution to the war effort.

While the name of Allen lives on, his presence in the national memory is relatively minor compared to other founding fathers. He is primarily remembered for his capture of Fort Ticonderoga and his time as a prisoner of war later in the Revolution. But what else is remembered of Allen and the Allen family? The average American most likely knows nothing of the struggles of Ethan’s family and the shameful treachery of his brother Levi. Our collected memory of the Revolution has mellowed overtime as it becomes less of a historical event and more of a symbol of America’s quest for freedom. Many of the rougher parts of the time have been washed over, just as the rougher parts of the Allen family and the life of Ethan Allen have fallen by the wayside. In this respect, the Allen family once again provides for a prime example not only of the Revolution itself but of the historical memory that the Revolution has left behind.

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