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SAR Annual Conference on the American Revolution

SAR Annual Conference on the American Revolution

The SAR sponsors an annual academic conference for university-level study of the American Revolution.  The specific topic of each SAR Annual Conference on the American Revolution varies.  But the purpose remains the same, and is two-fold:

  1. To have an intellectually stimulating conference; and,
  2. To produce a peer-reviewed volume of the papers presented at each conference

The SAR names an SAR Distinguished Scholar to facilitate the SAR Annual Conference.  Previous SAR Distinguished Scholars have included Robert M.S. McDonald from the United States Military Academy at West Point; Barbara Oberg from Princeton University; Andrew O’Shaughnessy from the University of Virginia; Richard Samuelson from California State, San Bernadino; and Gabriel Paquette from Johns Hopkins University.

For more information, please contact Joseph W. Dooley.

The guiding principle of the SAR Annual Conference is articulated by Thomas Jefferson in his letter to William Roscoe of December 27, 1820.  Mr. Jefferson wrote about the University of Virginia, the establishment he was then supervising,

“Here we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead,

nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.”

Please support the SAR Annual Conference with your generous donation today!

The topic of the 2020 SAR Annual Conference on the American Revolution shall be “Interpreting Independence: The Declaration Through the Generations.”

In American Scripture, Pauline Maier traces the evolution of the Declaration of Independence from merely a statement that Americans were dissolving the political bands which had connected them to Great Britain, to an expression of national identity, and more, a moral compass to what it means to be an American.

But along the way from a political document to a source of inspiration for all Americans, the Declaration has been understood and used in a myriad of ways, and for a number of purposes.  Interpreting Independence shall explore such questions as …

  • How have different generations of Americans interpreted the Declaration of Independence to advance the causes and address the concerns of their times?
  • How have politicians made use of the Declaration?
  • How has the Declaration been used to promote various causes?
  • Which components of the Declaration have been central to the rhetoric of the time? (“All men are created equal … endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights ”?   “To secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed”?  Or other ideals and principles set forth in the Declaration?)
  • What was the scholarly and/or popular understanding of the political theory of the Declaration in any given period of American history?
  • Under what circumstances has the Declaration been used conspicuously?  Under what circumstances has it been ignored?

By no means is this list of questions exhaustive.  By no means will this conference address all the questions that may be asked about the Declaration.  But the conference shall explore the seminal role of the Declaration as the Founding Document of the American Republic.

The 2020 SAR Annual Conference on the American Revolution, Interpreting Independence: The Declaration Through the Generations, shall take place June 5-7, 2020 in Dearborn Michigan.  Hotel details to follow.

Seanegan P. Sculley will serve as the 2020 SAR Distinguished Scholar, with Robert MS McDonald serving as the SAR Academic Coordinator.

This Conference shall be dedicated to James Kirby Martin.

Past SAR Annual Conferences have included:

2019

“Women Waging War in the American Revolution”

Holly A. Mayer served as the 2019 SAR Distinguished Scholar

This Conference was dedicated to Carol Berkin.

The 2019 SAR Annual Conference on the American Revolution was co-sponsored by the Museum of the American Revolution.

 

2018

“Spain and the American Revolution”

Gabriel Paquette served as the SAR Distinguished Scholar.

This Conference was dedicated to Sylvia L. Hilton and David Armitage.

The 2018 SAR Annual Conference on the American Revolution was co-sponsored by Johns Hopkins University. The papers from this conference were published by Routledge as Spain and the American Revolution: New Approaches and Perspectives.

 

2017

“The Adams Family and the American Revolution”

Richard A. Samuelson served as the SAR Distinguished Scholar.

This Conference was dedicated to the memory of Lyman H. Butterfield.

 

2016

“Empires of Liberty and the American Revolution”

Richard A. Samuelson served as the SAR Distinguished Scholar.

This Conference was dedicated to Jack P. Greene.

 

2015

“The Marquis de Lafayette and the European Friends of the American Revolution”

Andrew Jackson O’Shaughnessy served as the SAR Distinguished Scholar.

This Conference was dedicated to the memory of Jacques Godechot and Robert R. Palmer.

The 2015 SAR Annual Conference on the American Revolution was co-sponsored by George Washington’s Mount Vernon.  

 

2014

“Women in the Era of the American Revolution”

Barbara Oberg served as the SAR Distinguished Scholar.

This Conference was dedicated to the memory of Pauline Maier.

The 2014 SAR Annual Conference on the American Revolution was co-sponsored by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, with support from the Omohundro Institute for Early American History and Culture. The papers from this conference were published by the University of Virginia Press as Women in the American Revolution: Gender, Politics, and the Domestic World.

 

2013

“Revolutionary Prophecies: The Founders on the Future”

Robert M.S. McDonald served as the SAR Distinguished Scholar.

This Conference was dedicated to the memory of Lance Banning.

 

2012

“Thomas Jefferson’s Lives: Biography as a Construction of History”

Robert M.S. McDonald served as the SAR Distinguished Scholar.

This Conference was dedicated to Peter S. Onuf.

The 2012 SAR Annual Conference on the American Revolution was co-sponsored by the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello. The papers from this conference were published by the University of Virginia Press as Thomas Jefferson’s Lives: Biographers and the Battle for History.

 

2011

Slavery & Liberty: Black Patriots of the American Revolution”

Robert M.S. McDonald served as the SAR Distinguished Scholar.

This Conference was dedicated to the memory of Benjamin A. Quarles.

 

2010

“Sons of the Father: George Washington and His Protégés”

Robert M.S. McDonald served as the SAR Distinguished Scholar.

This Conference was dedicated to the memory of Don Higginbotham.

The 2010 SAR Annual Conference on the American Revolution was co-sponsored by George Washington’s Mount Vernon.  This was the first SAR Annual Conference. The papers from this conference were published by the University of Virginia Press as Sons of the Father: George Washington and His Protégés.