The speaker for this meeting is Dr. Woody Holton. He’ll be speaking about his recently released book, 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.
BOOK PURCHASE: To purchase this book please click on this link: https://www.amazon.com/Liberty-Sweet-History-American-Revolution/dp/1476750378
About Dr. Woody Holton: Professor Holton teaches graduate seminars on Colonial America and on the American Revolution at the University of South Carolina. At the undergraduate level, he teaches the first half of the U.S. history survey and upper-level classes on Early American Women, the American Revolution, and Early African Americans. In the near future he will teach seminars on slave rebellions and on the history of capitalism in North America.
Holton’s 2009 book, Abigail Adams, which he wrote on a Guggenheim fellowship, won the Bancroft Prize. Holton is the author of Unruly Americans and the Origins of the Constitution (2007), a finalist for the George Washington Book Prize and the National Book Award. His first book, Forced Founders: Indians, Debtors, Slaves and the Making of the American Revolution in Virginia (1999), won the Organization of American Historians’ Merle Curti award
For the 2012-2013 academic year, I have a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship to write a book called Liberty is Sweet: An Integrated History of the American Revolution. Its structure will be traditional, which is to say narrative, but its purpose is to introduce general readers to academic historians’ numerous recent discoveries about the founding of the nation. I am also finishing an article linking the adoption of the first married women’s property acts in the middle of the 19th century to the increased vulnerability of American debtors after the ratification of the U.S. Constitution in 1788. In addition, I have just begun co-writing a comparative analysis of three centuries of Atlantic slave revolts.