1774: The Long Year of Revolution

September 20, 2021

Mary Beth Norton / Cover of book 1774

Date: Monday, September 20, 2021 at 5:30 p.m.
Location: James Branch Cabell Library, Lecture Hall room 303
Audience: Free and open to the public


Mary Beth Norton will discuss her new book, a narrative history of the “long year” of 1774, or the 16 months from December 1773 to April 1775, which historians have tended to overlook, for reasons Norton will explain. But John Adams later observed that the true revolution took place in the minds of the people before the battles at Lexington and Concord. The year 1774, Norton argues, was when that revolution occurred.

This presentation is the twelfth annual Society of the Cincinnati in the State of Virginia Lecture.


Mary Beth Norton is the Mary Donlon Alger Professor of American History Emerita at Cornell University, where she taught from 1971 to 2018. In 2005-6, she was Pitt Professor of American History and Institutions at the University of Cambridge. She has written six books about Early American history, including Liberty’s Daughters: The Revolutionary Experience of American Women, 1750-1800; and In the Devil’s Snare: The Salem Witchcraft Crisis of 1692. She was an author, with others, of A People and A Nation, which appeared in its 11th edition in 2018, one of the leading U.S. history textbooks since its initial publication in 1982. Her most recent work is 1774: The Long Year of Revolution, published by Alfred A. Knopf in February 2020.

She has been elected a member of both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. She served two terms on the OIEAHC Council and was president of the 12,000-member American Historical Association in 2018.