Swords in Their Hands: George Washington and the Newburgh Conspiracy

Swords in Their Hands: George Washington and the Newburgh Conspiracy

by Dave Richards


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Swords in Their Hands: George Washington and the Newburgh Conspiracy, is the first book-length account of the closest thing to a coup that the United States has ever experienced.

In the autumn of 1782, many Revolutionary War officers in the Hudson Highlands have grown angry and frustrated that they have not been paid in months or even years. With victory over the British within sight, they begin to fear that they will never get their back pay and promised postwar pensions, because the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, meeting under the Articles of Confederation of 1777, has no power to raise funds to pay them. Two political factions are at loggerheads over taxation: nationalists want Congress to have direct taxation authority, while their opponents insist that only individual states should have the power to do so, as is the case under the Articles.

As the new year begins and the last months of the war approach, several key army officers, supported by some nationalist members of Congress, set in motion a desperate plot: they will terrify state legislators, and their delegates in Congress, into granting Congress the direct taxation authority it needs, under threat of two alternatives. One option is to lay down their arms before victory is achieved, and let the British quell the colonists’ rebellion; alternatively, after defeating the British, they will refuse to give up their arms unless their demands are met.

In March 1783, hundreds of Washington’s officers, “ready for revolt,” gather at the Temple of Virtue in New Windsor, NY to agree on the first steps toward implementing their plan. But to their shock and chagrin, General Washington himself arrives, and in a 15-minute address changes the course of history.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781942016120
Publisher: Pisgah Press LLC
Publication date: 09/01/2015
Pages: 400
Product dimensions: 7.50(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.88(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

PART I: The Neglected Army
1. We Are without Money 7
2. Taking Up the Business at This Desperate Crisis 17
3. The Brink of Ruin 30
4. We Will Be Forgot and Neglected 43
5. The Salvation of the Cause 48
6. The Public Creditors Should Unite and Use Their Influence 57
7. There Never Was so Great a Spirit of Discontent 68
8. No Officer Was More Distinguished 82
9. We Have Borne All That Men Can Bear 93
10. The Most Intelligent Members Were Deeply Affected 105
11. Brutus 109

PART II: The Plot And The Flame
12. The Army Have Swords in Their Hands 129
13. Mr. Hamilton Had Let Out the Secret 145
14. Guide the Torrent 161
15. The Political Pot in America Boils 177
16. The Old Leven 193
17. Faith Has Its Limits 207
18. The Most Anxious Moment of His Life 218

PART III: The Hero And Advocate
19. Almost Blind in the Service of My Country 233
20. A Conduct Truly Admirable 245
21. An Advocate for Their Rights 251
22. A Dangerous Instrument to Play With 255

PART IV: The Sad End
23. Like a Rope of Sand 263
24. Compelled to Leave the Army 270
25. A Foundation to Enslave This Free People 277

Afterword 285
Acknowledgments 294
Illustrations 296
Chapter Notes 298
Bibliography 345
Index 359

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