In March of 1783, the Newburgh Conspiracy threatened to derail the fragile calm at the end of the Revolutionary War. The rumors of peace after Yorktown brought anxiety to soldiers in the Continental Army. The Continental Congress had not paid them for some time, and they would soon return home, many impoverished. The soldiers had sacrificed prime years of their lives in the service of their new country, and it appeared that Congress would abandon them when the enemy threat ceased. At this moment the American Revolution came close to being lost. George Washington’s legendary address to his officers at Newburgh thwarted a disaster and saved the republic.
About the Speaker
James Kirby Martin is a professor of history at the University of Houston. He is the author of Men in Rebellion: Higher Government Leaders and the Coming of the American Revolution (1973), In the Course of Human Events: An Interpretive Exploration of the American Revolution (1979) and Benedict Arnold, Revolutionary Hero: An American Warrior Reconsidered (1997). George Washington and the Newburgh Conspiracy is the 2014 George Rogers Clark Lecture.