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Author and historian T. H. Breen will discuss his newest book, The Will of the People: The Revolutionary Birth of America (Belknap Press, 2019), at the Museum of the American Revolution on Thursday, November 21, 2019 at 6 p.m. There will be a book signing directly following the program.

In The Will of the People, Breen explores the often overlooked role of ordinary people in creating the resistance to Great Britain and shepherding athe new Revolutionary local governments through the war and the foundation of a new nation. rarely talked about piece of America’s founding which focuses on the stories of the ordinary men and women who contributed to the Revolution. It was the people in villages from New Hampshire to Georgia who organized boycotts, policed their neighbors, and sought out loyalists, joined militias,identified traitors and scrutinized their own Revolutionary governments for corruption and aspiring demagoguery, and sent foodtroops and weapons to others committed to the same cause, who not only led America to victory over Great Britain, but also established new American modes of governance.

Breen is one of the leading historians of the Revolution and has authored several books that helped influence the interpretation of the Museum of the American Revolution as well as other scholars and museums.

“Throughout his influential career, Breen has challenged both those who would present the Revolution as solely an intellectual event and those who would disregard the importance of ideas and culture,” says Dr. Philip C. Mead, Director of Curatorial Affairs and Chief Historian of the Museum of the American Revolution says. “In his newest book, he offers a populist view of the Revolution that places the convictions, faiths, and hopes, and fears of ordinary people at the center of the story."

T. H. Breen is the James Marsh Professor at-large at the University of Vermont and Founding Director of the Chabraja Center for Historical Studies at Northwestern University where he is also the William Smith Mason Professor of American History Emeritus. Breen is the author of many books including .George Washington’s Journey, winner of the History Prize of the Society of the Cincinnati and finalist for the George Washington Book Prize; and The Marketplace of Revolution, winner of the Society of Colonial Wars Book Award. He is a frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books and Times Literary Supplement.

This event takes place as part of the Museum’s “Read the Revolution” Speaker Series, which brings celebrated authors and historians to the Museum for lively discussions of their work. The series is based on the Museum’s national Read the Revolution bi-monthly e-newsletter, which has more than 50,000 subscribers and features excerpts from thought-provoking books to inspire learning about the American Revolution.

Other events in the series include:

  • Maya Jasanoff discussing Liberty’s Exiles: American Loyalists in the Revolutionary World on Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019
  • Lonnie G. Bunch III discussing A Fool's Errand: Creating the National Museum of African American History and Culture in the Age of Bush, Obama, and Trump on Tuesday, October 15, 2019
  • Stephen Brumwell discussing Turncoat: Benedict Arnold and the Crisis of American Liberty (Yale University Press, May 2018) on Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020
  • Vincent Brown discussing Tacky’s Revolt: The Story of an Atlantic Slave War (Belknap Press, January 2020) on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020
  • Caitlin Fitz discussing Our Sister Republics: The United States in an Age of American Revolutions (W.W. Norton, Liveright, 2016) on Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Tickets are $20 for general admission, $15 for Museum members, and $10 for students/teachers/museum professionals (with ID). Tickets do not include Museum admission. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.

About Museum of the American Revolution
The Museum of the American Revolution explores the dramatic, surprising story of the American Revolution through its unmatched collection of Revolutionary-era weapons, personal items, documents, and works of art. Immersive galleries, powerful theater experiences, and digital touchscreens bring to life the diverse array of people who created a new nation against incredible odds. Visitors gain a deeper appreciation for how this nation came to be and feel inspired to consider their role in the ongoing promise of the American Revolution. Located just steps away from Independence Hall, the Museum serves as a portal to the region’s many Revolutionary sites, sparking interest, providing context, and encouraging exploration. The Museum, which opened on April 19, 2017, is a private, non-profit, and non-partisan organization. For more information, visit or call 877.740.1776.