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Virtual Lecture – For Britannia’s Glory and Wealth: The Constitutional Crisis that Led to the American Revolution

June 18 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

This presentation examines the political and economic causes of the American Revolution beginning at the end of the Seven Years War / French and Indian War through the resistance movements. It will dispel or clarify some of the popular beliefs about the grievances that eventually led the thirteen colonies to break with the Mother Country. For example, it will cover and explain the political institutions of the American colonies, Britain’s system of mercantilism, the imperial relationship exemplified by the policy of “benign neglect,” the King’s proclamation of 1763 and diplomatic relationships with Indian nations, and what “taxation without representation is tyranny” actually meant. It will discuss colonial resistance against Parliamentary taxation and legislation, particularly the Stamp Act, Townshend Duties and Tea Act.

There will be an explanation of the organization and effectiveness of American non-importation and non-exportation agreements, and the forming of local committees and “independent militia” companies to enforce and defend them from royal authority as the constitutional crisis deepened. This program will also introduce the audience to how the imperial crisis was reflected in the culture by analyzing the lyrics of patriotic songs of the era, particularly John Dickenson’s 1768 “Liberty Song.” Its lyrics seem to contradict what many Americans currently believe caused the Revolutionary War. For example, if it were about the refusal to pay taxes, why does the chorus say, “Our purses are ready … not as slaves but as Freemen our money we’ll give”? Also, if it were a revolt against the “tyrant” King George III and independence from Great Britain, why do the lyrics of one verse proclaim, “This bumper I crown for our Sovereign’s health, And this for Britannia’s glory and wealth”? At the conclusion, participants will see that the Revolution was not about just “paying” taxes or a refusal to buy and drink tea.

Registration required. Registration closes one half hour prior to lecture.

Cost: $15 per household for General Admission; $10 per household for HA Members, Military, and HA Docents