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The Making of John LedyardEmpire and Ambition in the Life of an Early American Traveler$
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Edward G. Gray

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780300110555

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300110555.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
The Making of John Ledyard

Edward G. Gray

Yale University Press

This chapter presents an introduction to the life of John Ledyard, discussing how, through a long series of failures, he nonetheless persevered, driven by a burning determination to achieve fame. Unlike John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, George Washington, and other familiar figures of his age, Ledyard obtained none of the formal distinctions that a white man in early America could count on to get ahead—wealth, a college degree, a ministerial post, an officer's commission, or government office. But during his short life, he also came to be well known. This was not simply because of his exotic travels, although those did capture the attention of admirers and patrons; it was also the result of his understanding of the fundamental social fact of his age.

Keywords:   John Ledyard, Dartmouth College, college degree, government office

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