“The Strange Death of Silas Deane” by James West Davison and Mark Hamilton Lytle creates a new perspective on what people see history as. Although many people would define history as something that happened in the past, through “The Strange Death of Silas Deane”, the authors demonstrate that this everyday view on history can be profoundly misleading.
In the section, “An Untimely Death”, the author explains the key events of Deane's life and his death. Silas Deane “began his life as the son of a humble blacksmith in Groton, Connecticut” (16). He went from rags-to-riches as he graduated from Yale College and opened up a practice. Deane married, divorced, and married again. He wasn’t happy being a businessman so he entered politics. He worked his way up to be a delegate to the first and second Continental Congresses. “In 1776 Congress sent Deane to France...to purchase badly needed military supplies” (16). He then became the Minister Plenipotentiary from the United States to the Court of France. People then began to watch him carefully. Arthur Lee “accused Deane of taking unfair advantage of his official position to make a private fortune” (16). After much debate, Congress voted to recall Deane from his position. His life began to slip away and he found himself adrift as he could not return to America nor France. He decided to take refuge in Flanders where he unhappily spent the next few years of his life. His only friend, Edward Bancroft, who had been his pupil and later his secretary, provided him with living money from time to time. After realizing he could no longer stay in London, Deane “booked passage on a ship sailing for the United States” (18). A storm approached not long after they had set sail. As they were waiting out the storm, Deane complained about being dizzy and having an upset stomach. His condition worsened and he tried to say something twice but no one could figure out what he was saying. Four hours later he passed away. The author points...
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