The attempt that Royster has made in his book A Revolutionary people at war is to determine the true emotion of nationalism that prevailed amongst the people of that time. Royster has made this possible by delving into the emotion that existed in the Continental Army and the obstacles that the army faced in the many battles it fought and how it evolved into the refined fighting mechanism that eventually defeated the Redcoats.
In the beginning, the Congress did not desire for the Continental Army to become a permanent army and wages were established on the basis of short term enlistments. The Continental Army had its roots deep with the idealism. However, the fact remains that one finds it difficult to come to a conclusion without feeling that Royster overstates the very concept of idealism and gets carried away with his the very subject of his own book.