Aids to Independence

A distant monarch, political factionalism, vainglorious commanders and the distraction of European enemies helped George Washington seal victory in the American War of Independence, writes Kenneth Baker, who explores the conflict through caricature and print.

Most of the paintings of the War of Independence that Americans hold dear, such as ‘Washington Crossing the Delaware’ by Emanuel Leutze,were produced in the 19th century to depict their nation’s heroic foundation story. It was a challenge to go back to the contemporary prints and caricatures to see how they reflected what was happening at the time, for caricatures are like snapshots capturing a moment in the shutter of the artist’s eye.

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