This past year has been historic for Professor Benjamin Carp, as he has been busy lending his expertise in discussions around some monumental moments from America’s past. Carp, the Daniel M. Lyons ’39 Professor of American History, began teaching in Brooklyn College’s Department of History in 2014.

His third book, The Great New York Fire of 1776: A Lost Story of the American Revolution, was published in January 2023 and is the first to fully explore the mystery surrounding the conflagration. Carp spent much of 2023 on a book tour and doing interviews that often discussed his theory that it was George Washington’s troops—not the British—who burned down as much as 20% of New York City during the Revolutionary War. The book has received much praise, including from The Washington Post, which wrote that Carp “left no room for another book about the Great Fire. He has produced an elegant, reader-friendly example of assiduously researched, carefully written American history that feels definitive.”

Flashback, so to speak, to the Boston Tea Party of 1773, which just marked its 250th anniversary, and Carp again has been a sought-out expert on another benchmark moment in American history, including delivering the lecture “Defiance of the Patriots: The Boston Tea Party and the Making of America” at the American Revolution Institute in Washington, D.C. on December 13. He also was a guest on the podcast “Tea, Tax & Revolution: Boston Tea Party Aftermath.”

We asked Carp about his work and how these seminal moments helped shape the United States of America.