Brewing Identity: The Tavern’s Imprint on the American Revolution

Cailin Edgar, Providence College


This thesis examines the role of the tavern in late eighteenth-century America and the many ways in which they helped support, sustain, and determine the outcome of the movement toward Independence. Taking the argument one step further, the paper focuses on the intersection of tavern culture and print materials to underscore the multidimensionality of this public discursive space as a platform for print to come to life, exposing a more wide-reaching population of the colonists to the same material, and thus cultivating in the process a common intellectual experience between otherwise-detached New World neighbors. This study is located primarily in Massachusetts, and its main objective is to suggest that without taverns – which served as important nodes in a growing communication network – the Revolution would have been difficult to imagine.