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Empire and Its Discontent: Could the Empire Have Been Saved?

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Date and time
Friday, December 01, 2023
6:00pm - 7:00pm Add to Calendar
Massachusetts Historical Society
1154 Boylston Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02215-3695
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The approach of the 250th anniversary of American independence has led scholars to reexamine the British Empire and the events of the imperial crisis that are generally understood to have led to the American Revolution.   The panelists of the keynote session  “Could the Empire Have Been Saved?”  engage this issue by discussing the problems in the empire revealed by resistance to imperial authority in British America between 1764 and 1774.  What kind of empire was it?  What was the character of British policy in the colonies?   Was the imperial crisis really a general crisis that touched all colonies and all members of British American society?  What was driving events forward?  Was the American Revolution really inevitable?  And might better decisions have avoided it?   In engaging  these questions, the panelists aim to reveal the broader implications of new thinking about the British empire and the coming of the American Revolution.

This keynote is part of the conference on the theme "Empire and Its Discontent" hosted by The David Center for the American Revolution at the American Philosophical Society and the Massachusetts Historical Society

Please note that in-person attendance has reached capacity and virtual attendance is the only option available for the keynote at this time. Click here to access the livestream on Youtube

Serena Zabin is a Professor of History at Carleton College; she is also immediate past President of the Society of Historians of the Early American Republic. Professor Zabin is the author, most recently, of the prizewinning The Boston Massacre: A Family History (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2020), which was also named an Amazon Editor’s Choice for History in 2020. The research for this book covers four countries and was supported by numerous grants, including the National Endowment for the Humanities (twice) and the American Council of Learned Societies.
Patrick Griffin teaches history at Notre Dame. He also directs the Keough-Naughton Institute. He has written a number of books on eighteenth-century Atlantic history, empire, and the era of the American Revolution. His most recent is: The Age of Atlantic Revolution: The Fall and Rise of a Connected World, which came out with Yale University Press.
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Christopher Brown is a historian of Britain and the British empire, principally in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, with special emphasis on the comparative history of slavery and abolition, and with secondary interests in the Atlantic Slave Trade and the Age of Revolutions. His current research centers on the history of European experience on the African coast at the height of the Atlantic slave trade, and continues early commitments to the rise and fall of slavery in the British Empire. Published work has received prizes in four distinct fields of study – American History, British History, Atlantic History, and the history of Slavery, Abolition, and Resistance. Completed projects include Moral Capital: Foundations of British Abolitionism (University of North Carolina Press) and, with Philip D. Morgan, Arming Slaves: Classical Times to the Modern Age (Yale University Press). He has written as well for The Nation, The New York Times, and the London Review of Books, among other outlets.
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Brendan McConville is a professor of history at Boston University, and is head of The David Center for the American Revolution at the American Philosophical Society, as well as a trustee of the David Library of the American Revolution.

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