Unlike other revolutions that have transformed the modern world, popular narratives of the American Revolution focus commonly on a small group of Founding Fathers and on the political ideas they championed. Ordinary people resisted imperial rule, often without the support or knowledge of their leaders in the Continental Congress. This seminar will explore a rumor that almost sparked revolution in 1774 and that nearly persuaded the Founding Fathers to adopt a more radical agenda.

Timoth H. Breen is the William Smith Mason Professor of American History at Northwestern University. Breen is the author of eight books including American Insurgents - American Patriots: The Revolution of the People, Marketplace of Revolution: How Consumer Politics Shaped American Independence; Tobacco Culture: The Mentality of the Great Tidewater Planters on the Eve of Revolution; and "Myne Own Ground": Race and Freedom on Virginia's Eastern Shore. Breen is also the director of the Nicholas D. Chabraja Center for Historical Studies at Northwestern University.


  • Christian F. Ostermann

    Director, History and Public Policy Program; Global Europe; Cold War International History Project; North Korea Documentation Project; Nuclear Proliferation International History Project