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Essay on George Hewes from the American Revolution


alexarae713 1 / -  
Sep 28, 2015   #1
The question was: What did the Revolution mean to George Hewes? In other words, what do you think was the greatest effect it had on him?

Growing up poor in the 1700's meant being subjected to the harsh inequalities amongst people and their rank. For George Hewes who was forced into the occupation of being a shoemaker, life did not treat him well. No matter how hard he tried, Hewes was never able to move up on the social ladder. "Where you ended up in life depended much on where one started out" (15). As a common man, the effect of the Revolution helped George Hewes and others transform society's views on equality among everyone.

One of the first instances in which Hewes was brought to action was the fateful night of the Boston Massacre. Already aware of "how irritating it was to be challenged by British sentries after dark" (36), Hewes saw the crowd as being defensive against the redcoats. The man who was there to collect a bill from one of the soldiers was a barber or otherwise considered lower class. It was at that moment that Hewes realized just how serious the problem of inequality was. Among the others murdered that night, all five of them were working men. The Massacre was one of the many events that stirred the colonists into action. Hewes "turned out because of a sense of kinship with his 'townsmen' in danger; he stood his ground in defense of his rights; he was among the people who delegated on their behalf; he attended the trial, and, as he remembered it, by testifying" (41). The events that led up to and ultimately contributed to the Massacre proved just how dangerous the soldiers and upper-class seemed to be. After that night, Hewes had become a political man.

Another event that stirred George Hewes into action was the Boston Tea Party which occurred 4 years after the Massacre. On December 16, 1773, Hewes was one of the self-invited volunteers who volunteered to dump tea overboard in protest against the government. Most of those present at Griffin's Wharf were lower class or journeymen. The group as a whole were orderly and Hewes was "singled out of rank and made an officer in the field" (44). He was especially known for his whistling talent, which was known as a way to assemble a crowd. In addition to his recollecting his actions at the tea Party, Hewes recalled seeing some other higher ranked individuals dumping tea such as John Hancock. "The rich and powerful- the men in 'ruffles' - has become his associates. John Hancock and he breaking open the same chest of tea at the Tea Party remained for Hewes a symbol of a moment of equality" (57). This, to George Hewes, was what the events meant to him. Equality amongst the classes was important.

With regards to the incident concerning John Malcolm and George Hewes, there is also a sense of equality and justice. After standing up for a defenseless child and being called a 'vagabond', Hewes requited to the insults with the fact that although he was a poor man, at least he was in good credit with the town and had not been tarred and feathered (48). Upon hearing Hewes' comments, Malcolm struck him on the head with his cane. After going to the courts and swearing a warrant, Hewes was told that the law would have its course with Malcolm. Not liking that answer, a crowd dragged Malcolm from his home and proceeded to tar and feather him. "What was lost to the public was that Hewes was at odds with the crowd. He wants justice from the courts, not a mob; after all, he had sworn out a warrant against Malcolm" (50). All in all, the people won that day and not the courts. The brutality, however, meant nothing to Hewes. He did not want to be the source of anyone's pain. He knew what it was like to be treated unjustly and that was not the course that he wanted to take. However, after encountering Malcolm after several weeks, there was a change of attitude and manner in him as Malcolm humbly acknowledged Hewes. "Hewes' mood was one of triumph as Malcolm had been taught a lesson. The issue for Hewes was respect for the poor, honest citizen who was standing up for a child (51).

As for the war, Hewes shared some of the events preceding his deployment; however, he also experienced a small sense of change concerning his rank among others. While privateering with others just like him, there was a change in authority. Although he was cheated out of his wages and money, "what Hewes remembered was that the captain deferred to him and his mates, not the other way around" (64). All Hewes wanted in his life was equality and respect. While on board, he received just that. "Life at sea left a memory of rights asserted as well as respected by the captains and crew who worked together. There was a memory of respect from his betters such as George Washington, his captains, and even John Hancock. For a moment, it was as if everyone worked and fit together was one" (66).

To George Robert Twelve Hewes, the Revolution meant a way for providing equality and justice to those who were not able or as fortunate to grow up in a higher ranked family. It was the moment for a nobody to become a hero in a town that never recognized him before. After the Revolution, George Hewes was celebrated for what he helped contribute to.

Granted that the Revolutionary War did not grant full equality to everyone, the events that preceded as well as the war, helped prove to the government that everyone should have an equal chance at achieving what they want. For Hewes, being the common man that he was, the war meant a call for action against society's ill will towards the lesser individuals. Hewes was a prideful survivor after the war because he knew that he was able to overcome and outlive all of those who outranked him many years before.
LaneH 1 / 2 1  
Sep 29, 2015   #2
For George Hewes, who was forced into the occupation of being a shoemaker, life did not treat him well.

"Where you ended up in life depended much on where one started out"
Add more specific context for this quote, as it seems out of place right after the social ladder sentence.

It was at that moment that Hewes realized just how serious the problem of inequality was.
Add more detail as to why he realized this. What did the soldier do to the lower class barber? I would also consider placing this sentence after you talk about the five working class me killed.

Hewes "turned out because of a sense of kinship with his 'townsmen' in danger; he stood his ground in defense of his rights; he was among the people who delegated on their behalf; he attended the trial, and, as he remembered it, by testifying"

Although the sentence structure works, I would recommend staying away from integrating quotes completely into your answer. This gives the reader, again, more context and also lets you further explain how a quote supports what you say.

Overall great topic, but I would recommend working on your commas and context!


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