Past Exhibitions :: Freedom's Treasures

Wednesday, July 4, 2007 - Friday, July 6, 2007
NY State Capitol

Bust of George Washington
Bust of George Washington, 1877,
Bronze, Cast by the National Fine Art Foundry after an original life-cast by Jeane-Antoine Houdon, Collection of the New York State Library.
The pursuit of freedom, a profoundly American story, is richly illustrated in treasures belonging to the people of New York State. Our founding fathers-including George Washington, whose personal belongings and writings are represented here-established a sovereign, independent nation in the years following the Revolutionary War.

Several of the documents and artifacts reflect New York's role in the struggle for independence. Major General Benedict Arnold's papers, detailing fortifications and troop strength at West Point, were given to British Major John Andre in 1780. These papers, once secured in Andre's boot and headed for the British lines, now bring to life one of the most significant and dramatic events of the Revolutionary War.

Other documents and artifacts speak to the founding of the United States as a democracy and the early years of the nation. New York's copy of the proposed U.S. Constitution, approved at the Constitutional Convention in 1787, and the first draft of President Washington's 1796 farewell address to the nation are two of the state's most important documents. This copy of the U.S. Constitution was signed by Governor George Clinton, uncle of Governor Dewitt Clinton, whose writing desk is also displayed.

These treasures, held in trust for all New Yorkers by the New York State Archives, Library, and Museum, capture the distinctive history and enduring spirit of New York.

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