Press/Journalists

Press Release
May 3, 2011

National Archives Welcomes Historian Gordon S. Wood May 18

Pulitzer Prize winner to discuss Idea of America: Reflections on the Birth of the United States

Washington, DC…On Wednesday, May 18, at 7 PM, the National Archives welcomes Pulitzer Prize–winning historian Gordon S. Wood to discuss the ideological origins of the American Revolution and his new book The Idea of America: Reflections on the Birth of the United States. This event is free and open to the public and will take place in the William G. McGowan Theater of the National Archives Building in Washington, DC. Attendees should use the Special Events Entrance, located on the National Mall at Constitution Ave. and 7th Street, NW.

More than almost any other nation in the world, the United States began as an idea. Pulitzer Prize–winning historian Gordon S. Wood reveals how the revolutionary generation, despite living in a distant, sparsely populated country, believed itself to be the most enlightened people on earth and that their colonial rebellion and radical ideas had universal significance for oppressed peoples everywhere. Wood explores the ideological origins of the revolution—from ancient Rome to the European Enlightenment—and the founders’ attempts to forge an American democracy. Joining Professor Wood in discussion will be author and historian Jay Winik. A book signing will follow the program; the book is available at a discount from the Archives Shop (202-357-5271) before and during the event.

Related program: The First American Republic: 1774–1789

Thursday, May 19, at noon, William G. McGowan Theater
George Washington’s inauguration in April 1789 marked the beginning of government under the new U.S. Constitution. What few Americans realize is that there had been a fully functioning national government prior to 1789. It was called the Continental Congress, and it was in every respect the First American Republic. Author Thomas Patrick Chorlton discusses his book, The First American Republic: 1774–1789 (The First Fourteen American Presidents Before Washington). A book signing will follow the program; the book is available at a discount from the Archives Shop (202-357-5271) before and during the event.

The National Archives is fully accessible. To request an accommodation (e.g., sign language interpreter) for a public program please email public.program@nara.gov or call 202-357-5000 two weeks prior to the event to ensure proper arrangements are secured. To verify the date and times of the programs, call 202-357-5333, or view the Calendar of Events online.

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For Press information, contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at 202-357-5300.

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