The American Revolution

Open Yale


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The American Revolution entailed some remarkable transformations--converting British colonists into American revolutionaries, and a cluster of colonies into a confederation of states with a common cause--but it was far more complex and enduring than the fighting of a war. As John Adams put it, "The Revolution was in the Minds of the people... before a drop of blood was drawn at Lexington"--and it continued long past America's victory at Yorktown. This course will examine the Revolution from this broad perspective, tracing the participants' shifting sense of themselves as British subjects, colonial settlers, revolutionaries, and Americans.

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Civil War
British Colonist

Course programme

Lecture 1 Introduction: Freeman's Top Five Tips for Studying the Revolution

Lecture 2 Being a British Colonist

Lecture 3 Being a British American

Lecture 4 "Ever at Variance and Foolishly Jealous": Intercolonial Relations

Lecture 5 Outraged Colonials: The Stamp Act Crisis

Lecture 6 Resistance or Rebellion? (Or, What the Heck is Happening in Boston?)

Lecture 7 Being a Revolutionary

Lecture 8 The Logic of Resistance

Lecture 9 Who Were the Loyalists?

Lecture 10 Common Sense

Lecture 11 Independence

Lecture 12 Civil War

Lecture 13 Organizing a War

Lecture 14 Heroes and Villains

Lecture 15 Citizens and Choices: Experiencing the Revolution in New Haven

Lecture 16 The Importance of George Washington

Lecture 17 The Logic of a Campaign (or, How in the World Did We Win?)

Lecture 18 Fighting the Revolution: The Big Picture

Lecture 19 War and Society

Lecture 20 Confederation

Lecture 21 A Union Without Power

Lecture 22 The Road to the Constitutional Convention

Lecture 23 Creating a Constitution

Lecture 24 Creating a Nation

Lecture 25 Being an American: The Legacy of the Revolution