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Date with History: Liberty is Sweet

Thursday, May 5
7:00 PM CDT Online via Zoom
Free Event but Registration Required

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Liberty is Sweet: The Hidden History of the American Revolution

A sweeping reassessment of the American Revolution, showing how the Founders were influenced by overlooked Americans: women, Native Americans, African Americans, and religious dissenters.

Using more than a thousand eyewitness accounts, Liberty Is Sweet explores countless connections between the Patriots of 1776 and other Americans whose passion for freedom often brought them into conflict with the Founding Fathers. “It is all one story,” prizewinning historian Woody Holton writes.

Holton describes the origins and crucial battles of the Revolution from Lexington and Concord to the British surrender at Yorktown, always focusing on marginalized Americans—enslaved Africans and African Americans, Native Americans, women, and dissenters—and on overlooked factors such as weather, North America’s unique geography, chance, misperception, attempts to manipulate public opinion, and (most of all) disease. Thousands of enslaved Americans exploited the chaos of war to obtain their own freedom, while others were given away as enlistment bounties to whites. Women provided material support for the troops, sewing clothes for soldiers and in some cases taking part in the fighting. Both sides courted native people and mimicked their tactics.

Liberty Is Sweet gives us our most complete account of the American Revolution, from its origins on the frontiers and in the Atlantic ports to the creation of the Constitution. Offering surprises at every turn—for example, Holton makes a convincing case that Britain never had a chance of winning the war—this majestic history revivifies a story we thought we already knew.

MEET THE SPEAKER: WOODY HOLTON is Bonnie and Peter McCausland Professor of History at the University of South Carolina. He is the author of Liberty is Sweet: The Hidden History of the American Revolution, due out in October 2021 from Simon and Schuster. His 2009 book, Abigail Adams, which he wrote on a Guggenheim Fellowship, won the Bancroft Prize. Holton is also the author of Unruly Americans and the Origins of the Constitution (2007), which was a finalist for the National Book Award. His first book, Forced Founders: Indians, Debtors, Slaves, and the Making of the American Revolution in Virginia (1999), won the Fraunces Tavern Museum Book Award (presented by the New York Sons of the Revolution) and the Merle Curti Award (presented by the Organization of American Historians). His books are required reading on more than two hundred college campuses, and his work has been widely anthologized and also translated into German and Arabic.

 

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Illinois teachers can earn 1.5 PD credits for watching the presentation and filling out a short PD activity.

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  This program includes built-in closed captioning through Zoom.