The Society of the Cincinnati Prize recognizes the author of an outstanding book that advances understanding of the American Revolution and its legacy. Established in 1989 as a triennial award, the prize is now presented annually. Honorees have included leading historians as well as rising scholars in the field. The prize was created with a generous endowment gift from the family of Dr. H. Bartholomew Cox.

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2018 Society of the Cincinnati Prize Winner

The 2018 Society of the Cincinnati Prize was awarded to Eric Hinderaker, Distinguished Professor of History at the University of Utah, for his book Boston’s Massacre (Harvard University Press, 2017). Boston’s Massacre is the first major study of that famous event published in nearly fifty years. Professor Hinderaker reconstructs the events that led to the deadly confrontation of March 5, 1770, and explains how patriots placed the event at the center of a narrative of British tyranny, premeditated violence and indifference to the lives of Britain’s colonial subjects—galvanizing resistance to British authority. Professor Hinderaker argues that the conflicts and discrepancies between contemporary accounts make constructing an authoritative narrative of the critical minutes of escalating urban violence impossible, but that what is most important is how the patriots subsequently constructed a narrative of oppression out of the events of those critical minutes. What people believed had happened, he contends, ultimately proved far more important that what actually occurred.

Eric Hinderaker is a scholar of early British America with particular interest in comparative colonization, European-Indian relations and the nature of early modern empires.  He is also the author of The Two Hendricks: Unraveling a Mohawk Mystery (2010) and Elusive Empires: Constructing Colonialism in the Ohio Valley, 1673-1800 (1997) and co-author with Peter C. Mancall of At the Edge of Empire: The Backcountry in British North America (2003).

Past Winners


Benjamin L. Carp, Defiance of the Patriots: The Boston Tea Party and the Making of America ( New Haven: Yale University Press, 2010)


Matthew H. Spring,With Zeal and With Bayonets Only: The British Army on Campaign in North America, 1775-1783 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2008)


Alan Taylor, The Divided Ground: Indians, Settlers, and the Northern Borderland of the American Revolution (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006)


Elizabeth Fenn, Pox Americana: The Great Smallpox Epidemic of 1775-1782 (New York: Hill and Wang, 2001)


Saul Cornell, The Other Founders: Anti-Federalism and the Dissenting Tradition in America (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1999)


Jack N. Rakove, Original Meanings: Politics and Ideas in the Making of the Constitution (New York: Knopf, 1996)


Stanley M. Elkins and Eric L. McKitrick, The Age of Federalism (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993)


Peter D. G. Thomas, Tea Party to Independence: The Third Phase of the American Revolution (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991)


Bernard Bailyn, Voyagers to the West: A Passage in the Peopling of America on the Eve of the Revolution (New York: Knopf, 1986)