Event — Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington

2017 Gay Hart Gaines Distinguished Visiting Lecturer of American History

The Lasting Consequences of the American Revolution

Where: Robert H. and Clarice Smith Theater, George Washington’s Mount Vernon

3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy. Mount Vernon, VA 22121

When: Tuesday, September 12th, 2017 | 7:00 pm

The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association is proud to present this educational series delivered by the Gay Hart Gaines Distinguished Visiting Lecturer in American History, a position established to honor the Association’s 18th Regent through the generosity of Lewis E. Lehrman, co-founder of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. This series is designed to provide a deeper understanding of, and expertise in, a particular subject related to George Washington.

The American Revolution is the most important event in American history, bar none; and it is one of the most important events in world history. In 1784 the English radical and Unitarian minister, Richard Price, went so far as to declare that the American Revolution, next to the introduction of Christianity, may prove to be “the most important step in the progressive course of human improvement” in all of history. Such a monumental event was bound to have immense consequences for Americans and for the world.

Equality and the American Revolution

Equality was the most potent idea let loose by the Revolution. The Declaration of Independence said that “all men are created equal,” but few of the revolutionary leaders in 1776 appreciated how that phrase could be used in new, unanticipated ways. Although the revolutionary leaders assumed that their new republican society would not contain the kind of aristocracy that existed in Europe, they never intended to level their society. They assumed distinctions would continue to exist but would be based on not whom you knew or who your father was, but on talent and merit. But middling sorts of men – men who were not gentlemen but ex-weavers, tavern-keepers, and butchers – took advantage of the idea of equality and claimed an equal right to hold political office alongside the gentlemanly elites. By the early nineteenth century they created a society unlike any that had ever existed.

 

Members register here. Non-members register here.

Cost: Members $175; Non-members $200. Includes all three lectures.

Click here for more information.