A Crisis of Peace: George Washington, the Newburgh Conspiracy, and the Fate of the American Revolution

Pegasus. Dec. 2019. 400p. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9781643130811. $28.95; ebk. ISBN 9781643131788. HIST
Head (history, Univ of Central Florida, Privateers of the Americas) considers the evidence and provides an authoritative, well-researched account of George Washington’s role in resolving this near-crisis of the “Newburgh conspiracy” of 1783, a murky affair. Because peace was not formalized in colonial America after the British surrendered at Yorktown (1781), British troops continued to hold possession of some former colonies; an army was needed in case negotiations broke down. Time dragged on. Revolutionary officers faced the prospect of returning home with no compensation for their years of service. Tensions grew as Congress dithered. An anonymous letter circulated, threatening action if Congress ignored the soldiers’ legitimate request for compensation. Head hones in on how Washington, who initially kept his distance from the malcontents, was persuaded to speak to the officers and report their concerns to Congress.
VERDICT This straightforward account will appeal principally to Revolutionary War buffs.

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