IN STORE: Eli Merritt, author of Disunion Among Ourselves, in conversation with Nick Zeppos

Parnassus Books is pleased to welcome Eli Merritt to celebrate his new book, Disunion Among Ourselves: The Perilous Politics of the American Revolution, in conversation with Nick Zeppos.

This is a free event which will take place IN STORE on Thursday, June 15th at 6:30pm Central Time. Because space will be limited, registration is required to attend this event. Please register for free by filling out the form below! (Note: If for any reason you need to cancel your registration, please call the store at 615-953-2243 at least 24 hours before the event so your space can be provided to another guest.) Masks are strongly encouraged during this event.

About the Book

In this eye-opening account, Eli Merritt reveals the deep political divisions that almost tore the Union apart during the American Revolution. So fractious were the founders' political fights that they feared the War of Independence might end in disunion and civil war.

Instead of disbanding into separate regional confederacies, the founders managed to unite for the sake of liberty and self-preservation. In so doing, they succeeded in holding the young nation together, in part by transcending the baser angels of their natures. To achieve this, they forged grueling compromises, in­cluding the resolution for independence in 1776, the Mississippi-Fisheries Compromise of 1779, and the ratification of the Articles of Confederation in 1781.

In addition to bringing new insights into the history of the American Revolution, Disunion Among Ourselves has inevitable resonances with our present era of political hyperpolarization and serves as a touchstone for contemporary politics, reminding us that the founders overcame far tougher times than our own through commitment to ethical constitutional democracy and compromise.

Finally, Disunion Among Ourselves is a book you will especially want to pay attention to as the United States approaches not only the Fourth of July of this year but also the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence in 2026. In it, Merritt unearths new evidence of the extraordinary disunionist forces that gave birth to the Declaration of Independence in the summer of 1776, leading the publisher to remark that as the country prepares for this historic semiquincentennial "we anticipate Merritt's book will figure prominently in the national discourse about the Revolution and Declaration set against the backdrop of the 'history wars' that are dividing Americans today." 

About the Author

Eli Merritt is a political historian at Vanderbilt University who has written for the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Philadelphia Inquirer, and American Journal of Legal History, among other publications. His areas of academic interest and expertise are U.S. politics since the founding of the nation and the ethics of democracy. He is the author of Disunion Among Ourselves: The Perilous Politics of the American Revolution and the editor of How to Save Democracy: Advice and Inspiration of 95 World Leaders. He writes a Substack newsletter called American Commonwealth. You can find him online at and

About Nick Zeppos

Nicholas S. Zeppos rejoined the faculty in 2020, after serving for more than a decade as Vanderbilt University’s eighth chancellor. An esteemed legal scholar, teacher, and higher education leader, Chancellor Zeppos was honored in November 2019 with two new appointments as University Distinguished Professor and Cornelius Vanderbilt Chancellor Emeritus Chair. He joined the Vanderbilt law faculty in 1987 and served as a professor of law and associate dean before joining the university administration as associate provost for academic affairs and vice chancellor and provost. He was named chancellor in 2008.

Event date: 
Thursday, June 15, 2023 - 6:30pm
Event address: 
Parnassus Books
3900 Hillsboro Pike Suite 14
Nashville, TN 37215
Disunion Among Ourselves: The Perilous Politics of the American Revolution By Eli Merritt Cover Image
ISBN: 9780826222817
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: University of Missouri - June 4th, 2023