In the days of the American Revolution, life is difficult and death often comes early. Some patriots even welcome early death if it means they can help secure freedom for the people of the newly created United States of America.

Life Expectancy

The average life expectancy during this era was 36.

Grim Reaper

With death quite common in their everyday lives, children have always come to fear it at an early age.

Heaven vs. Hell

It has always been well understood that when bad people die, they go to Hell.

Church Bells

Old-timers can still recall when church bells tolled for the dead so often, they were deemed by law to have become a public nuisance.


In a more optimistic view of the afterlife, cherubs have started to replace death’s heads on tombstones.


The body has never been preserved, but is buried and mixed with the elements in places deemed to be as restful as the cradle.


After the Revolutionary War, civic symbols, such as urns and willows, have begun to appear more often on grave markers.

Notable Deaths

Among the greatest American deaths was that of Nathan Hale, who said he wished he had more than one life to give for his country, and Patrick Henry, who preferred death to the loss of liberty.

Photo of Nathan Hale by Getty Images

In the News

1754 - French and Indian War begins (also known as Seven Years' War)

1760 - Population of American colonists reaches 1,500,000

1775 - First casualties in the War of Independence at Concord

1789 - French Revolution begins

1793 - Reign of Terror begins in France

1796 - Napoleon defeats Austria

1800 - Native population in present-day U.S.A. falls to 600,000 due to disease and warfare