Invalids and Independence


VFH Fellow Benjamin H. Irvin

VFH Fellow Benjamin H. Irvin explores the experiences of impaired Revolutionary War veterans as they struggled to obtain and survive off of disability pensions offered by state and federal governments.

Drawing upon Virginia’s Revolutionary Pension Applications, held by the Library of Virginia, he is researching not only the legal and medical history of the first U.S. disability pension program, but also learning as much as possible about the lives of veterans who applied for–or refused to apply for–relief.

His efforts are particularly focused on the relationships between disability, masculinity, and citizenship in a republic of independent yeomen, as Jefferson and others wished the United States to be.

This talk was delivered in Charlottesville City Council Chambers City Hall as part of a series of talks by VFH fellows.

Benjamin IrvinBenjamin H. Irvin

Irvin is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona.