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.
David Head (editor) is an associate lecturer of history at the University of Central Florida and a distinguished faculty fellow in history at Kentucky Wesleyan College. He is the author of Privateers of the Americas: Spanish American Privateering from the United States in the Early Republic and A Crisis of Peace: George Washington, the Newburgh Conspiracy, and the Fate of the American Revolution, which was a finalist for the 2020 George Washington Prize.
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