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American Inheritance: A Conversation with Edward Larson

June 01, 2023 3:00 PM — 4:00 PM


Pulitzer Prize winning author Edward Larson joins us for a conversation on his new book American Inheritance: Liberty and Slavery in the Birth of a Nation, 1765-1795, in which he discusses how liberty and slavery were intertwined during the nation’s founding.

Professor Larson examines the role of Black Americans during the Revolutionary War and in the many debates over slavery and freedom, highlighting the voices of Black Americans as the most persuasive in the urgency of liberty. He explores the fateful compromises over slavery that took place during the Constitutional Convention and their disastrous effects in the coming decades.

“An authoritative contribution to the dismal history of race in America. … Larson, author of Franklin & Washington, A Magnificent Catastrophe and other acclaimed books of American history, recasts the narrative of the nation’s founding by focusing on vociferous debates about liberty that erupted during three crucial decades of revolutionary fervor. … At a time when rebellious colonists proclaimed their refusal to be enslaved by the British, most saw no contradiction in buying and selling men, women, and children. … Larson’s stirring narrative includes the perspectives of free and escaped slaves, such as James Somerset, who was brought to England by his owner, where he successfully sued for his freedom; poet Phillis Wheatley; and Ona Judge, dower property of Martha Washington, whose escape incited George Washington’s desperate, enraged search for her return.” Kirkus Reviews, October 20, 2022

This forum is supported in part by the Sally Lanagan Fund and the Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati.

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June 1
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm