Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Ted Tunnell


Peter Francisco is an oft-forgotten hero of the American Revolution. A dark-skinned, foreign orphan and former servant, he distinguished himself nationally as a soldier of legendary renown. However, Francisco remains largely absent from the popular modern-day memory of the Revolution. This analysis determines how and why this occurred as well as how and why Francisco remains remembered today by a small minority of American supporters. Methodologically, the analysis examines Francisco's life through a cultural studies lens. It challenges previous analyses of Francisco's life based on romance and myth not akin to historical reality. And although this interpretation gives credence to Francisco's romantic legend, it primarily addresses how Francisco, as a historical agent, tested the various elitist limits of early American republicanism. Furthermore, it contends that Francisco's greatest historical legacy may ultimately have less to do with what he did on the battlefield and more with how he set a precedent for universal inclusion and access to the "American dream" as it is understood today.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

June 2008

Included in

History Commons