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Image 042021 Lindacolley Readtherevgraphic

Part of the Museum’s Popular Read the Revolution Speaker Series

In her newly released book The Gun, the Ship, and the Pen: Warfare, Constitutions and the Making of the Modern World, Princeton University historian and author Linda Colley reshapes our understanding of the modern world through the evolution and spread of written constitutions. On Thursday, May 20, 2021 at 6 p.m., Colley will join the Museum of the American Revolution for a virtual discussion—broadcast live from the Museum—on her “an incandescent, paradigm-shifting new book” (The New Yorker).

Bringing to life stories of struggle and the ideas of lawmakers, committed rebels, and ambitious monarchs and generals, Colley traces the global history of written constitutions from the 1750s to the 20th century, modifying accepted narratives and uncovering the close and frequent connections between the making of constitutions and the making of war. Through meticulous research, Colley shows how constitutions crossed continents, at times aiding the rise of empires and monarchies as well as the emergence of new nations and republics.

In this virtual presentation, Colley will offer a global perspective on American state and federal constitutions as the Museum prepares for the opening of its summer exhibition, Flags and Founding Documents, 1776-Today, which will include a display of historic early state constitutions. Museum President and CEO Dr. R. Scott Stephenson will join the discussion to explore how the rise and spread of written constitutions evolved in tandem with warfare, before facilitating a live Q&A with the virtual audience.

Tickets are $7 for general admission, $5 for students, teachers, and museum professionals, and free for Museum Members, and are available here.

The Museum’s Read the Revolution Speaker Series brings celebrate 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-newsletters, which features excerpts from thought-provoking books to inspire learning about the American Revolution.

Read the Revolution is sponsored by the Haverford Trust Company.

About Linda Colley
The Shelby M.C. Davis 1958 Professor of History at Princeton University, Linda Colley is the author of seven books including Britons: Forging the Nation 1707-1837, winner of the Wolfson Prize, and The Ordeal of Elizabeth Marsh, a New York Times “Top 10” Book-of-the-Year. She lives in Princeton, New Jersey.

About Museum of the American Revolution
The Museum of the American Revolution uncovers and shares compelling stories about the diverse people and complex events that sparked America’s ongoing experiment in liberty, equality, and self-government. Through the Museum’s unmatched collection, immersive galleries, powerful theater experiences, and interactive elements, visitors gain a deeper appreciation for how this nation came to be and feel inspired to consider their role in ensuring that the promise of the American Revolution endures. 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.