“Was the American Revolution inevitable?” is a complex question posed by Robert Allison in the 2017 George Rogers Clark Lecture. The achievement of independence hinged upon the cooperation of colonists from diverse backgrounds to unite in a common cause. The people in British North America had profound differences—religious, social, political and economic—that surfaced in local communities, as well as in Congress and the Continental Army. Colonists’ resistance to Great Britain magnified these differences, especially as more Americans began to question the institution of slavery in light of new ideals of liberty. Yet, these colonists were able not only to join in a common effort but to create a political system which has united Americans, despite their differences, for more than two centuries.
About the Speaker
Robert Allison is a professor of history at Suffolk University and the author of The Crescent Obscured: The United States and the Muslim World 1776-1820 (2000), A Short History of Boston (2004) and Stephen Decatur: American Naval Hero 1779-1820 (2005).