A Crisis of Peace: George Washington, the Newburgh Conspiracy, and the Fate of the American Revolution

A Crisis of Peace: George Washington, the Newburgh Conspiracy, and the Fate of the American Revolution

by David Head


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The dramatic story of George Washington's first crisis of the fledgling republic.

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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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781643130811
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Publication date: 12/03/2019
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 579,607
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

A history professor at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, David Head's prior academic books have been supported by an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellowship at Library Company of Philadelphia and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, a Gilder Lehrman Fellowship at the New-York Historical Society, and a Lord Baltimore Fellowship at the Maryland Historical Society. Head’s previous work in the academic community has been honored with several awards and prizes, including the John Gardner Maritime Research Award; the Marion Brewington Prize for Chesapeake Maritime History awarded by the Maryland Historical Society; and the Hardin Craig Award for Excellence at the Munson Institute of Mystic Seaport Museum.

Table of Contents

A Note on 18th-Century Writing ix

Introduction xi

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

Conclusion 219

Acknowledgments 223

Abbreviations and Sources 227

Index 277

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