Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author to Speak on Revolutionary War Pamphlets

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Gordon S. Woods is the author of a new two volume book on pamphlets of the American Revolution. (Courtesy Colonial Williamsburg Foundation)
Gordon S. Wood is the author of a new two volume book on pamphlets of the American Revolution. (Courtesy Colonial Williamsburg Foundation)

Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Gordon S. Wood will be speaking at the Williamsburg Lodge this Friday about the role of pamphlets in the public debate surrounding the American Revolution.

Wood is a Colonial Williamsburg senior trustee, recipient of the National Humanities Medal and author of a new book, The American Revolution: Writings from the Pamphlet Debate 1764-1776.

The book explores “the transatlantic political argument that spawned independence,” according to a recent news release from Colonial Williamsburg.

Pamphlets were considered the “instant media” of the day and provided an inexpensive, approachable means to participate in the debate over the relationship between American and England in the colonial era.

Thousands of pamphlets were produced in the lead-up to the Revolutionary War and covered a range of topics. Pamphlets were used to sound off on abstract themes such as liberty, representation and sovereignty, as well as concrete events like a proposed repeal of the Stamp Act that Benjamin Franklin addressed before Parliament.

Wood’s new book focuses on 39 complete pamphlets, with selections from some of the era’s most influential figures such as Thomas Jefferson, Edmund Burke and Thomas Paine.

The lecture, which is part of Colonial Williamsburg’s Distinguished Scholar series and presented in partnership with the nonprofit publisher Library of America, will also include a showcase of genuine period pamphlets from the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Library special collections.

After the lecture, attendees will have the opportunity to purchase Woods’ two-volume book and have it signed by the author.

This event will take place at 6 p.m. Nov. 6. Click here for ticket information.