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

The 2017 Michelle Smith Lecture Series – Lecture 3

Where: David M. Rubenstein Leadership Hall, Robert H. & Clarice Smith Auditorium

3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy. Mount Vernon, VA 22121

When: Tuesday, May 9, 2017 | 7:00 pm

Details: The American Revolution is often portrayed as a high-minded, orderly event whose capstone, the Constitution, provided the ideal framework for a democratic, prosperous nation. Alan Taylor’s Revolution builds like a ground fire overspreading Britain’s colonies, fueled by local conditions, destructive, and hard to quell. Patriot crowds harassed Loyalists and nonpartisans into compliance with their cause and brutal guerrilla violence flared all along the frontier from New York to the Carolinas. Taylor skillfully draws France, Spain, and native powers into a comprehensive narrative that delivers the major battles, generals, and common soldiers with insight and power.

With discord smoldering in the 1780s, nationalist leaders sought to restrain unruly state democracies and consolidate power in a Federal Constitution. Advocates of national power ratified the new frame of government, but their opponents prevailed in Jefferson’s vision of a western “empire of liberty” aligned with the long-standing, expansive ambitions of frontier settlers. White settlement and black slavery spread west, setting the stage for a civil war that nearly destroyed the union created by the founders.

Alan Taylor is Thomas Jefferson Professor of History at the University of Virginia. He is the author of many acclaimed books in early American history and has twice been awarded the Pulitzer Prize in History. His book, The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772–1832, won the Pulitzer Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Award.

Cost: $175 for non-members, $150 for members (3 lectures)

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