Leading Historian Beeman Invites Audiences to "Meet the Founders," Beginning October 24
CHESTERTOWN, MD—We often think of America’s Founders as a
committee of like-minded sages who sat down together and methodically crafted
the new nation. Richard Beeman, one of America’s leading historians of the
Revolutionary era, will shatter that familiar notion in “Meet the Founders,” a
series of three public talks debuting at Washington College on Wednesday,
It is hard to imagine personalities more different than the
voluble – indeed, nearly manic-depressive – John Adams; the angry, pugnacious
recent English immigrant Tom Paine; and the quiet, but deeply intellectual
Thomas Jefferson. In his October 24 talk, Beeman will delve into the lives and
characters of each of these men as they came together in common cause during
the months leading up to the colonies’ independence. Later talks will focus on
James Madison and Patrick Henry (November 7) and George Washington (November
All three events will take place at 5:30 p.m. in Decker
Theatre, Gibson Center for the Arts, and will be followed by book signings.
They are hosted by Washington College’s C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the
American Experience, where Beeman is a senior fellow.
the John Welsh Centennial Professor of American History Emeritus at the
University of Pennsylvania, has been a member of
that university’s faculty for 44 years and has served as Chair of the
Department of History and as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
He was the winner of the 2010 George Washington Book Prize, one of the largest
literary prizes in the nation, for Plain,
Honest Men: The Making of the American Constitution (Random House).
York Times called the book a “scholarly yet lively account” of the
“passion-filled crucible” that was the 1787 Constitutional Convention.
will be two general themes at work in these lectures,” Beeman said. “The first
is that the founding of an independent, united, American nation was not only
not inevitable, but improbable – indeed, in some senses, audacious. The second
is that the individuals instrumental in the American founding were a diverse
bunch, different in cultural backgrounds, personalities, and political
is the author of seven books on Revolutionary-era America, including The Penguin Guide to the American Constitution (Penguin,
2010) and Patrick Henry: A Biography
(McGraw-Hill, 1974), which was a finalist for the National Book Award. Other
honors have included fellowships from the National Endowment for the
Humanities, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Institute for Advanced Study at
Princeton, and the Huntington Library. He has served as a Fulbright Professor
in the United Kingdom and as Harmsworth Distinguished Professor of American
History at Oxford University. He has written articles and book reviews for many
publications and has appeared with Jon Stewart on “The Daily Show.”
the Founders” serves as a sequel to “Inventing a Nation,” a series of four
talks that Beeman offered at Washington College in the fall of 2011. That series
was cosponsored by the College’s Institute for Religion, Politics, and Culture,
where Beeman is also a senior fellow.“Dr.
Beeman’s series last year was a smash hit, and we’re thrilled to have him
return,” said Adam Goodheart, the Starr Center’s Hodson Trust-Griswold
Director. “There are few historians as gifted as he is at bringing to life the
vivid personalities who played starring roles in the Revolutionary drama.”
in 1782 under the patronage of George Washington, Washington College is a
private, independent college of liberal arts and sciences located in colonial
Chestertown on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
College’s C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience is
dedicated to fostering innovative approaches to the American past and present.
Through educational programs, scholarship and public outreach, and a special
focus on written history, the Starr Center seeks to bridge the divide between
the academic world and the public at large. For more information on the Center,