Rebellion in New England

Liberty triumphant; or the downfall of oppression, ca. 1774, by Henry Dawkins (-1786?), engraver. Library of Congress,

The Pursuit of History: Rebellion in New England

Cambridge, Massachusetts — May 10–12, 2024

As the year 1774 began, the people of Massachusetts were worrying about how the royal government in London would react to the Boston Tea Party, which had taken place just a few weeks prior on December 16. Twelve months later, Massachusetts had a new governor and a revised charter, but most of the province was in open rebellion, preparing for war.

About Rebellion in New England

The Pursuit of History: Rebellion in New England, provided an unparalleled opportunity to learn about history where it happened with a small group of people who share your passion. This program presented a deep dive into not just what happened in 1774 but why—and how the events of 1774 led directly to the outbreak of fighting in 1775 and to the Declaration of Independence in 1776.

As J. L. Bell explains in the video above, over these two days we will meet and discuss in Washington’s Headquarters, walk through historic neighborhoods, go behind the scenes at the Harvard University Special Collections and Archives and the Houghton Library Archives, have lunch at the historic Hooper-Lee-Nichols House (1685), take a guided walking tour of Tory Row and gather for conversation and dinner with attendees amd presenters from that day.

Join us for the optional third day for a guided tour of the Early American Galleries at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts where your pass also includes admission to the entire museum for the day.

The Pursuit of History: Rebellion in New England is the first of a three-part series. We hope you will also join us in 2025 for a weekend focused on 1775 and in 2026 for a weekend focused on 1776. See our Pursuit of History Weekends page for all upcoming events.

Why understanding 1774 is critical

Speakers and topics

Author and Program Director J.L. Bell; author and professor Robert J. Allison, Ph.D.; author Dr. Sam Forman, M.D., M.B.A., M.P.H.; author and professor Chris Beneke, Ph.D.; author Brooke Barbier, Ph.D.; ranger at Minute Man National Historical Park Jim Hollister; ranger at Minute Man National Historical Park and a professor of anthropology Joan Laxson, Ph.D., Eric Hanson Plass, Ph.D., author Caitlin G. DeAngelis, Ph.D., and others will join us to discuss these topics:

  • Spillover: Local Ripples from the Boston Tea Party with Eric Hanson Plass
  • The Crown Response to Unrest in Massachusetts with Robert J. Allison
  • Liberty and Slavery in Colonial Massachusetts with Caitlin G. DeAngelis
  • A Neighborhood in an Empire [Walking Tour] with J. L. Bell
  • 1774 in the College Archives with Sarah Martin, Harvard University Archives and Special Collections / 1774 in Rare Books and Manuscripts with John Overholt, Houghton Library
  • Church and Town in Cambridge with J. L. Bell
  • The Colonial Militia System with James Hollister
  • How Massachusetts Resisted with Samuel A. Forman and J. L. Bell
  • “Being Surrounded by About Four Thousand People” with J. L. Bell
  • Massachusetts at the First Continental Congress with Chris Beneke
  • John Hancock, Emerging Patriot Leader with Brooke Barbier
  • The New England Arms Race with J. L. Bell
  • What a Year! Panel Discussion with Our Faculty
  • Guided tour of the Boston Museum of Fine Art’s (MFA) American Wing with art historian Deborah Stein

Read more about our speakers and browse the reading list at the bottom of our Speakers and Topics page.

Our program has been put together by J. L. Bell, author of book The Road to Concord and the daily Boston 1775. John is also a board member of The Pursuit of History and has been a presenter at every History Camp Boston we’ve held. Read more about John’s thoughts in putting together  The Pursuit of History: Rebellion in New England.

History where it happened: Tory Row

Feedback from Rebellion in New England Attendees

We welcomed participants from New York, New Jersey, California, Arizona, Kansas, Virginia, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Michigan, and Massachusetts for two days of talks and walks followed by a special tour of the Americas collection in the Museum of Fine Art on the third day.

“I signed up for this May’s Pursuit of History weekend ‘Rebellion in New England’ as soon as it opened because I had such a great time last year at Valley Forge for ‘The Pursuit of History: Forging the Continental Army.’

“I’m particularly interested in history related to place, so attending the presentations and tours in such a historic location made it more impactful, and it was nice to be in small groups instead of a crowd.

“This year’s event at Washington’s headquarters, talking about the events leading up to the rebellion 250 years and the walking tours of the area led by experts, all gave me a much deeper understanding of the events of 1774 and how this was, in many ways, the start of the American Revolution.”

— Chandra, Massachusetts
“I’m a major fan of The Pursuit of History. I’m also a fan of J.L. Bell’s books and his extraordinary, information-packed website.

Rebellion in New England is such an amazing opportunity.”

— Nancy, Kansas

“I wanted a closer look at all of the events and ideas leading to 1776—and I got it! . . . Absolutely superb.”

— Sarah, Massachusetts

“It was like stepping into the painting.”

— James, Connecticut

“I can’t even begin to tell you how much I enjoyed Rebellion in New England and how much I’m looking forward to continuing in 2025! I feel like I’ve found a home!”

— Steve, New York

Schedule + Pricing

Date and time

Friday, May 10, and Saturday, May 11
Rebellion in New England

We will start at 9 am. A light breakfast along with lunch and dinner are included. Our dinner Friday night will be in Nubar at the Sheraton Commander Hotel. Lunch Saturday will be in the Hooper-Lee-Nichols House (1685).

Sunday, May 12, 2024 — Optional
Early American Galleries, Museum of Fine Arts Boston

Join us Sunday for an optional guided tour of the Early American Galleries at the Museum of Fine Arts exclusively for our group. Your ticket includes admission to the entire museum for the day.

Travel + Lodging

Lodging is not included, but there are a multitude of lodging choices in the area. The closest to where we’ll be meeting is the Sheraton Commander, and there are many others within just a few minutes by taxi/Uber.

Parking in the area around the Longfellow House-Washington’s Headquarters is very limited. We recommend leaving your car at your hotel.


The Pursuit of a History is the non-profit organization behind the groundbreaking History Camp and now Pursuit of History Weekends. Carefully curated for a small number of individuals, Pursuit of History Weekends are unlike any history event you’ve attended.

Program Registration Cost

The fee for both days, including meals and all events, is $795.

Please note that there are no cancellations or refunds.

What else is included?

Thursday evening, we will have an informal gathering for anyone who wishes to join us.

In addition to the talks at Longfellow House–Washington’s Headquarters, we will take a walking tour of the area and get a behind-the-scenes tour of historical documents from the period in the Harvard Archives.

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are included. Our dinner Friday night will be in Nubar at the Sheraton Commander Hotel. Lunch Saturday will be in the Hooper-Lee-Nichols House (1685).

All of these sites are within walking distance of each other.

And Sunday there is an optional tour of the extraordinary collection of period art and furnishings in the American Wing of the Museum of Fine Arts. (Your admission will include access to the entire museum for the day.)

Rebellion in New England Sponsor—Thank You!

Americana Corner

Funded in part through a grant approved by the Americana Corner Preserving America Grant Program.

Location + Event Program

Longfellow House-Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site

“The Past and Present here unite…” Longfellow House-Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site preserves a remarkable Georgian house whose occupants shaped our nation. It was a site of colonial enslavement and community activism, George Washington’s first long-term headquarters of the American Revolution, and the place where Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote his canon of 19th-century American literature. [National Park Service]

Longfellow House-Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site
105 Brattle Street,
Cambridge, MA 02138

Event Handout

Interested in supporting our mission and programs?

Contact Lee Wright, President of the Pursuit of History to learn more about how you can support the mission and programs of The Pursuit of History, the non-profit organization behind The Pursuit of History Weekends, History Camp, and weekly History Camp Discussions.