Kentucky Wesleyan to offer presentation on George Washington and today’s fractured nation

The Kentucky Wesleyan College Wade Lecture Series will present “George Washington, Conspiracy Theorist: What the End of the Revolution Can Teach Our Fractured Nation,” with David Head, Ph.D., on February 9 at two presentations; noon in Tapscott Chapel (Barnard-Jones Administration Building) and 7 p.m. in Rogers Hall (Winchester Center). A reception will follow the evening event. Dr. Head is an associate lecturer of history at the University of Central Florida.

“Dr. Head is one of our Nation’s brightest and most engaging historians,” said Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. James Cousins. “His work is widely read and highly regarded. He’s a talented speaker and audiences will enjoy his wit, storytelling and his enthusiasm for American history. We’re thrilled to welcome him as Kentucky Wesleyan’s Distinguished Faculty Fellow for 2023.”  The Distinguished Faculty Fellow Program brings persons of expertise to campus for campus activities for the benefit of students, faculty and the greater community.

Dr. Head provided the following background on his presentation:
“In March 1783, as the American Revolution neared its end, a group of army officers planned to meet—outside the chain of command—and discuss how to force Congress to provide their long overdue pay and desperately needed pensions. Challenged to preserve civilian supremacy over the military, George Washington rose to the occasion and quieted the army’s fears, but he never shook his suspicion that someone plotted to use the army as a pawn in a political game because Washington, like most of his contemporaries, was a conspiracy theorist. The episode, now known as the Newburgh Conspiracy, reveals how the Revolution ended and what the enthusiasm for conspiracy thinking—in Washington’s time and in ours—can teach us.”

Dr. Head received his B.A. in history from Niagara University and his Ph.D. from the University at Buffalo. His most recent book is “A Crisis of Peace: George Washington, the Newburgh Conspiracy, and the Fate of the American Revolution” (Pegasus Books, 2019), which was a finalist for the 2020 George Washington Book Prize for outstanding scholarship on the founding generation written for a general audience. The book also received honorable mention for the Journal of the American Revolution’s 2020 Book of the Year Award for excellence in writing the history of the American Revolution for a broad audience. Head’s prior books include “Privateers of the Americas: Spanish American Privateering from the United States in the Early American Republic” (Georgia, 2015), which won the John Gardner Maritime Research Award from Mystic Seaport Museum, and two edited volumes: “Encyclopedia of the Atlantic World” (ABC-Clio, 2017) and “The Golden Age of Piracy: The Rise, Fall, and Enduring Popularity of Pirates” (Georgia, 2018). In addition to his academic work, Head has written for USA Today, the Orlando Sentinel and The Bulwark on topics ranging from George Washington’s shopping habits to “Dad History” and the shortcomings of presidential ranking surveys.

The Robert H. and Alma J. Wade Endowment Fund provides this lecture series and is possible through the generous donation in memory of Dr. Wade and his wife, Laura Alma Jones Wade, by their son, Dr. Bob Wade.

Please contact the Office of the Provost at 270-852-3117 for further information.