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[Mar 26] SMLC Seminar: The Problem of ‘the People’: Ideological Conflict, Political Violence and the Settlement of the American Revolution, 1781-1790

Date: March 26, 2024 (Tue)

Time: 5:00 pm

Venue: CRT-4.26, Run Run Shaw Tower, Centennial Campus, HKU or

Meeting ID: 967 4593 6746

Password: 854012


Speaker: Professor Brendan McConville, Boston University

Respondent: Professor James Fichter, University of Hong Kong



A central issue ran through the American Revolution and through the era of revolutions that followed.   The revolutionaries proclaimed the people as the ultimate source of sovereign power.  But what institutions legitimately embodied that power and what institution or institutions were the primary, primordial resting place of that sovereignty, the source from which it flowed?  The defeat of the British army in 1781 in the War of the American Revolution pushed these explosive questions to the surface of American politics.  The issue of ’The People’ and the character of their sovereign power shaped the politics of the 1780s in America, including the political crisis of 1787-1788 that led to the Federal Constitution still in force in America today.  


Speaker bio

Professor McConville (Brown University PhD) is the author of several books on colonial and revolutionary America, including The Brethren: A Story of Faith and Conspiracy in Revolutionary America; The King’s Three Faces: The Rise and Fall of Royal America; and These Daring Disturbers of the Public Peace: The Struggle for Property and Power in Early New Jersey. He is a professor of history at Boston University and head of The David Center for the American Revolution at the American Philosophical Society.   


All are welcome. No registration is required.

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