The Story of Ethan Allen (1738-1789)


When I started this paper, I had the intention of including information never before used in any work on Ethan Allen. However, after doing some reading, I found all the information I needed. I decided that John Pell and Michael Bellesiles, who have both done extensive research on Ethan Allen, did not miss anything significant.

After deciding that the books already written on Allen would be my sources, I began reading and talking to those who have done research on Allen. Michael Bellesiles, history professor at Emory University in Georgia, suggested that I make sure the books I was reading had citations. I found two of my six books to have been written without any citation notes. As a young writer, I did not understand the significance of this until Michael Bellesiles pointed it out. These authors show no proof of what they write. It seems many authors of the nineteen forties did this, the period in which these two books were written in. There could be no way that I could use these two books. That left me with four, two of which were at the Connecticut Historical Society off campus. Without a car, the inconvenience and amount of time necessary to read all of John Pell's biography on Ethan Allen, or all of the History of Vermont, both located at the historical society, outweighed the benefits of using them when I had Michael Bellesile's book on interlibrary loan. Bellesile's biography and an article on revolutionary republicanism by Edward Countryman, were the only two sources I could easily use. Countryman, in addition to a class I took at the University of Hartford, provided me with the knowledge of republicanism, and a little on how it related to Ethan Allen and the Grant settlers. I suppose that my thesis, "How Ethan Allen contributed to the formation of the independent state of Vermont using republican ideology", created a paper specifically addressing that subject, is original because it has not been done before. However, after having such high hopes of doing some real historical research, using unused resources for a change, I was left with the sources I always use: books (this is not a slight of the work done by authors I used but on my own practices). I suppose that when the subject is two hundred years old, most information has been pretty well picked through.

What really bothered me was having spent so much time reading the books without citations, when I could have been working on my draft sooner. For anyone doing research on Ethan Allen, the few books I can recommend are Michael Bellesile's Revolutionar Outlaws: Ethan Allen and the Struggle for Independence on the Early American Frontier, John Pell's biography on Ethan, and The History of Vermont (these last two books are available at the CT historical society). Hopefully, my own mistakes will prevent others from making the same. after all, that is why we study history.