In the war’s waning days, the American Revolution neared collapsed when Washington’s senior officers were rumored to be on the edge of mutiny.
After the British surrender at Yorktown, the American Revolution blazed on—and as peace was negotiated in Europe, grave problems surfaced at home. The government was broke and paid its debts with loans from France. Political rivalry among the states paralyzed Congress. The army’s officers, encamped near Newburgh, New York, and restless without an enemy to fight, brooded over a civilian population indifferent to their sacrifices.
The result was the so-called Newburgh Conspiracy, a mysterious event in which Continental Army officers, disgruntled by a lack of pay and pensions, may have collaborated with nationalist-minded politicians such as Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and Robert Morris to pressure Congress and the states to approve new taxes and strengthen the central government.
A Crisis of Peace tells the story of a pivotal episode of George Washington's leadership and reveals how the American Revolution really ended: with fiscal turmoil, out-of-control conspiracy thinking, and suspicions between soldiers and civilians so strong that peace almost failed to bring true independence.
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Table of Contents
A Note on 18th-Century Writing ix
1 The Road from Yorktown 1
2 The Insipid Campaign 25
3 The Officers' Grievances, The Financier's Frustration 53
4 The Delegation to Philadelphia 79
5 Rumors and Gossip 103
6 The Anonymous Letter 123
7 General Washington in the Temple of Virtue 141
8 Peace and Pensions 167
9 The Army Disbands 189
Abbreviations and Sources 227