“Join or Die”: Facts about Benjamin Franklin’s Famous Revolutionary Image

Why aren’t Delaware and Georgia included and why did he combine four northeastern colonies into one? The “Join, or Die” snake, a cartoon image printed in numerous newspapers as the conflict between England and France over the Ohio Valley was expanding into war—”the first global war fought on every continent,” as Thomas Bender recently has[…]

Harriet Prudence Patterson: American Revolution Spy in a Petticoat

Corroborating Prudence’s wartime adventures is difficult. Introduction Prudence Patterson was born in 1743 (either in Wales or in County Antrim, Ireland) and emigrated to America with her parents. In 1763, she married another immigrant, John Hall, in York, South Carolina. They had eight or nine children. Their children’s names were James, John, Prudence, Jennet, Margaret,[…]

Lord North and the Intolerable Acts: Stepping Stone to Revolution

Many colonists viewed the acts as an arbitrary violation of their constitutional rights. Introduction The Intolerable Acts or the Coercive Acts were names given by colonists in the Thirteen Colonies to a series of laws passed by the British Parliament in 1774. The acts were met with outrage and resistance in the colonies and were[…]

Mad King George and the Fall of Monarchy in America

While tremendously popular in Britain, George was hated by rebellious American colonists. Introduction George III (George William Frederick; June 4, 1738 – January 29, 1820) was King of Great Britain and King of Ireland from October 25, 1760 until January 1, 1801, and thereafter King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until[…]

Benedict Arnold: Revolutionary Hero Turned Traitor

Today, Benedict Arnold’s name is synonymous with treason, betrayal, and defection. Introduction Benedict Arnold (January 14, 1741 – June 14, 1801) was a famous American traitor, having been a general in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. He is best known for plotting to surrender the American fort at West Point, New York,[…]

Edward Bancroft, Double Agent: Spying for Both Sides during the Revolutionary War

Bancroft’s activity as a double agent was not revealed until 1891, when British diplomatic papers were released to the public. Introduction Edward Bartholomew Bancroft (January 20, 1745 [O.S. January 9, 1744][1] – September 7, 1821) was a Massachusetts-born physician and chemist who became a double agent, spying for both the United States and Great Britain[…]

A Biography of Benjamin Franklin from the American Revolution

Even after his death in 1790, Franklin remained an American celebrity. Introduction Born in Boston on January 17, 1706, young Franklin struck out on his own in 1723, eventually finding employment as a journeyman printer in Philadelphia. Franklin’s newspaper The Pennsylvania Gazette, his Poor Richard’s Almanack, and work as an inventor and scientist propelled him[…]

The Pre-Revolutionary Period and the Roots of the American Political Tradition

It was not new ideas but old ones that led the colonists to revolt and form a new nation. Political Thought in the American Colonies American political ideas regarding liberty and self-government did not suddenly emerge full-blown at the moment the colonists declared their independence from Britain. The varied strands of what became the American[…]

The American Revolution: Loudly Telling Mother Goodbye

Establishing a nation in which the people were sovereign and the aristocracy had no place. The North American Colonies and the British Empire The European countries of Spain, France and Britain all had important interests in North America, not least because these colonies promised future wealth and were strategically important to the sugar, tobacco and[…]

The 1776 ‘Christmas Riot’ at Fort Ticonderoga and Colonial Division

Something went dangerously wrong at Fort Ticonderoga during that bitter cold winter as the Revolutionary War was just beginning. By Brian Mann A couple of weeks before Christmas Day, modern day re-enactors in Revolutionary War-era uniforms gathered below the walls of Fort Ticonderoga, on the shore of Lake Champlain about an hour’s drive north of[…]

Honoring Forgotten Revolutionary War Hero Dr. Joseph Warren

Warren was an eloquent, persuasive polemicist who died a martyr at Bunker Hill. By Michael McQuillan “I’m going to get right into it because there’s so much to tell!”  Christian Di Spigna is a man on a mission.  Most public speakers start with pleasantries.  They thank sponsors, greet friends in the audience, ease into substance.  Not this one! Di[…]

How the Townshend Brothers Accidentally Sparked the American Revolution

The British chancellor and exchequer and his soldier sibling pushed the interests of the empire at the expense of loyal colonialists. Americans normally see our Revolution as the culmination of a long period of gestation during which a free people finally threw off their colonial shackles and became what they were destined to be. On[…]

Other Americans and the American Revolution

Who identified as “American” during the Revolution? To what extent did the American Revolution serve the interests of all inhabitants of the emerging nation? By Carolyn LatshawNational Society of Daughters of the American Revolution–Chicago Chapter Introduction When we think of the Americans during the Revolutionary War, we think George Washington, John Adams, Paul Revere—the Patriots.[…]

Representing the American Revolution, 1768–1893

Exploring the changing meaning and significance of the American Revolution during the 18th and 19th Centuries. Introduction Did people in the late eighteenth century understand the events of the American Revolution as we understand them now? How did people write the history of the Revolution as the war was occurring? Did people write that history[…]