Made in America
At the same time Americans were securing their political freedom from Britain, they also were securing their economic freedom. Britain wanted America to produce agricultural products like tobacco and buy almost everything else from the mother country. American craftsmen challenged this fundamental economic policy of the British empire, producing goods of all sorts that competed with the best that the British could offer.
The future American Revolution Museum at Yorktown galleries will include American-made items – from furniture to guns, silver to books – that are inspired by English forms but are unquestionably American in design and execution and illustrate America’s growing economic independence.
Among 18th-century, American-made objects acquired for the new museum, replacing the Yorktown Victory Center by late 2016, are a pair of Chippendale side chairs that once belonged to James Swan, a participant in the Boston Tea Party; a tilt-top, mahogany tea table made in Edenton, North Carolina; an engraved silver beaker made by Benjamin Burt of Boston; a tall-case clock made by Nathan Adams of Danvers, Massachusetts; and a boxwood and brass circumferentor inscribed with the maker’s name – Daniel King of Salem, Massachusetts – and year made – 1758.