George Washington, the Newburgh Conspiracy, and the Fate of the American Revolution
Pegasus Books 2019
In March 1783, George Washington confronted a meeting of disgruntled Continental Army officers at their encampment at Newburgh, New York. In his book A Crisis of Peace: George Washington, the Newburgh Conspiracy, and the Fate of the American Revolution (Pegasus Books, 2019), David Head explains the background to this meeting and its significance to the larger events of that time. As Head notes, the meeting at Newburgh took place amidst an atmosphere of anticipation of peace with Great Britain. With their service coming to an end, the officers – many of whom were men who anticipated an elevated social status as a result of their service in the Continental Army – feared that the financially strapped Confederation Congress would fail to deliver on their promises of overdue pay and lifetime pensions. With their petitions unheeded, several of them contemplated some sort of action before the army was disbanded. As Head shows, it was Washington’s dramatic appeal to his officers which forestalled such an event, thus ensuring a peaceful resolution to a situation that threatened a very different outcome of the struggle for independence.