About the National Archives

Welcome Remarks for The Cause: The American Revolution and its Discontents, 1773–1783

Greetings from the National Archives’ flagship building in Washington, DC, which sits on the ancestral lands of the Nacotchtank peoples. I’m David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, and it's my pleasure to welcome you to today’s conversation with Joseph Ellis about his new book, The Cause, which takes a fresh look at the events of the American Revolution.

Before we begin, I’d like to tell you about two programs you can view later this month on our YouTube channel.

On Tuesday, September 28, at 3 p.m., we will commemorate the upcoming 100th anniversary of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier with a program presented in partnership with Arlington National Cemetery. Part 2 of “Here Rests in Honored Glory” looks at National Archives records related to Arlington National Cemetery and the tomb.

And on Wednesday, September 29, at 1 p.m., Andrew O’Shaughnessy will discuss Thomas Jefferson’s founding of the University of Virginia, which is the subject of the new book, The Illimitable Freedom of the Human Mind: Thomas Jefferson’s Idea of a University.

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Every July 4th we mark the birth of our country by celebrating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. The American colonies did not immediately transform into a new nation on that day, however. The struggle for independence began three years earlier and continued for seven more years after the adoption of the Declaration.

In The Cause, Joseph Ellis guides us through the events between 1773 and 1783 and introduces us to characters both familiar and forgotten.

The National Archives is proud to be the permanent home of the Declaration of Independence, and we are just as proud to be the guardians of the many other records created during the War for Independence. The records of the Continental Congress show us the day-to-day workings of the Congress. War Department correspondence and Treasury Department ledgers document the conduct of the war. Pension applications from veterans reveal the effects of war on a very personal level.

And you can read the original words of the leading figures of the Revolution through the Founders Online website, which was made possible through the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

We invite you to make your own discoveries.

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Joseph Ellis, professor emeritus of history at Mount Holyoke College, is the best-selling author of 12 previous books, including American Sphinx, which won the National Book Award, and Founding Brothers, which won the Pulitzer Prize.

Joining Professor Ellis in conversation today is Richard Brookhiser, a senior editor of National Review and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute. He is the author of  biographies of America's founders, including Alexander Hamilton and George Washington.

Now let’s hear from Joseph Ellis and Richard Brookhiser. Thank you for joining us today.