Nathan Hale: Quote, Biography & Facts

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  • 0:04 Nathan Hale Early Life
  • 0:44 Nathan Hale & the Revolution
  • 1:31 Nathan Hale Capture
  • 2:43 Nathan Hale's Death
  • 3:31 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jeremy Battista

Jeremy has a master of science degree in education.

We have all heard of our Founding Fathers, but what about the men and women who helped them? What about the people responsible for winning the war through blood and determination? Let's investigate one of them, Nathan Hale.

Nathan Hale Early Life

Born in 1755 in Connecticut, Nathan Hale was the son of Richard Hale and Elizabeth Strong. At age 14, he attended Yale University along with his brother. While there, he excelled at academics and graduated with honors at age 18, in the year 1773.

As you can tell by the years listed here, we'll see Nathan Hale becoming a figure who was an integral part of the American Revolutionary War.

He became a school teacher in Connecticut where he remained until the outbreak of the war. Hale had a big decision to make: serve his country who needed every man they could get or continue in his career as a teacher. It's probably safe to say that you can predict his choice.

Nathan Hale & the Revolution

When the Revolutionary War started, Nathan Hale was employed as a teacher and also a member of the Connecticut militia. A friend from college, one Benjamin Tallmadge, wrote him a letter from Boston where he was watching the siege taking place there by the British. He urged him to join the cause.

''Was I in your condition, I think the more extensive service would be my choice. Our holy Religion, the honour of our God, a glorious country, & a happy constitution is what we have to defend.'' This was said by Benjamin Tallmadge in 1775.

Hale, inspired by the passion in his friend's letter, enlisted immediately, becoming a first lieutenant in the 7th Connecticut Regiment. He would not stay on the front lines long, as he answered the call of General George Washington to become a spy. Nathan Hale would rise to fame in the annals of history during this period in his life.

Nathan Hale Capture

On September 8, 1776, Nathan Hale volunteered to spy on the British behind their lines. He was taken to New York City on September 12, 1776, where he began to work as a spy for the Continental Army. This would not last very long for Hale, as he was captured in the days following his introduction into New York and on September 22, 1776, he was hanged.

Much of the history of Nathan Hale is shrouded in some mystery as there were no social media or cell phones to get fully detailed accounts. As best as we are able to ascertain, Hale was sitting in a tavern in New York City when he was approached by the famous Robert Rogers (of French and Indian War fame), who was a Loyalist.

Rogers recognized Hale and lured him via a false sense of security into confessing to be a spy. Rogers and his men, Roger's Rangers, then apprehended Hale and turned him over to General William Howe, commander of the British forces there.

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