1774: The Long Year of Revolution

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1774: The Long Year of Revolution
Mary Beth Norton
Cornell University
March 5, 2020

Mary Beth Norton, the Mary Donlon Alger Professor Emerita of American History at Cornell University, discusses her new book analyzing the revolutionary change that took place between December 1773 and April 1775—from the Boston Tea Party and the first Continental Congress to the Battles of Lexington and Concord. Drawing extensively on pamphlets, newspapers and personal correspondence, Dr. Norton reconstructs colonial political discourse as it happened, showing the vigorous campaign mounted by conservatives criticizing congressional actions. But by then it was too late. In early 1775, governors throughout the colonies informed colonial officials in London that they were unable to thwart the increasing power of the committees and their allied provincial congresses. Although the Declaration of Independence would not be formally adopted until July 1776, Americans, even before the outbreak of war in April 1775, had in effect “declared independence” by obeying the decrees of their new provincial governments rather than colonial officials. Given on the 250th anniversary of the Boston Massacre, this lecture examines the imperial discord that led from resistance to revolution.

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