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The Perils of Peace: America’s Struggle for Survival After Yorktown
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By Thomas Fleming. ISBN978-0-06-113910-9. Copyright 2007. Hardcover with 352 pages including notes and index, plus 16 glossy black and white pages of photographs.
When Great Britain’s best army surrendered to General George Washington at Yorktown on October 19, 1781, the future of the 13 former colonies was far from clear. A 13,000 man British army still occupied New York City and another 13,000 regulars were scattered from Canada to Savannah, Georgia. Meanwhile, Congress had declined to a mere 24 members and the national treasury was empty. The American army had not been paid for years and was on the brink of mutiny. France teetered on the verge of bankruptcy while George III dismissed Yorktown as a minor defeat and refused to yield an acre of “my dominions” in America. In Paris, Ambassador Benjamin Franklin confronted violent hostility to France among his fellow members of the American peace delegation. In this tumultuous period of America’s history, George Washington resisted the urgings of many officers to seize power and held the angry army together until peace and independence arrived.