■ STAFF REPORT
Speakers for the 2020 American Revolution Symposium in April have recently been announced, and the list is impressive.
The symposium, which runs from Wednesday, April 22 through Friday, April 24, stems from the America’s Conflicts lecture series. This symposium will look at the American Revolution, from its origins to 1783, as 13 of Britain’s North American colonies rejected its imperial rule. Historians from all over the world will be here to take the audience beyond thinking of the Revolution as a story about facts and dates, and it will explore the people and events in the American colonies that led to this epic political and military struggle – the American Revolution.
On Wednesday, April 22 Rick Atkinson, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning “An Army at Dawn” and two other books about World War II, will present “The British Are Coming.” He has long been admired for his deeply researched, vivid narrative histories. Now he turns his attention to a new war, and in the initial volume of the Revolution Trilogy he recounts the first 21 months of America’s violent war for independence. Full of details and untold stories, “The British Are Coming” is a tale of heroes and knaves, of sacrifice and blunder, of redemption and profound suffering. New life has been given to the first act of our country’s creation drama.
In the afternoon of April 22 Patrick Griffin will offer a new interpretation and historical synthesis of America’s most formative period. He illustrates how, between 1763 and 1800, Americans moved from one mythic conception of who they were to a very different one, a change that was evident in word and in image. America’s Revolution captures these dynamics by exploring origins and outcomes – as well as the violent, uncertain and liberating process of revolution – that bridged the two.
Following America’s Revolution, Griffin’s most recent book is titled “The Townshend Moment: The Making of Empire and Revolution in the Eighteenth Century,” and he is now working on a study of the Age of Revolution.
On Thursday, April 23 “Something is Fishy in England” will be presented by Christopher P. Magra, an author and professor of early American history at the University of Tennessee.
In his book, “The Fisherman’s Cause,” Magra examines the connections between the commercial fishing industry in colonial America and the American Revolution. The fishing industry connected colonial producers to transatlantic markets in the Iberian Peninsula and the West Indies. Parliament’s coercive regulation of this branch of colonial maritime commerce contributed to the colonists’ willingness to engage in a variety of revolutionary activities. Colonists then used the sea to resist British authority. Fish merchants converted transatlantic trade routes into military supply lines, and they transformed fishing vessels into warships. Fishermen armed and manned the first American Navy, served in the first coast guard units and fought on privateers. These maritime activities helped secure American independence.
Later that day Cokie Roberts, journalist and New York Times best-selling author, will present “Founding Mothers.”
While much has been written about the men who signed the Declaration of Independence, battled the British and framed the Constitution, the wives, mothers, sisters and daughters they left behind have been little noticed by history. Cokie Roberts brings us women who fought the Revolution as valiantly as the men, often defending their very doorsteps.
To see more about the event, go to friendsofbocagrande.org.