Myths of the American Revolution

A noted historian debunks the conventional wisdom about America’s War of Independence. Introduction We think we know the Revolutionary War. After all, the American Revolution and the war that accompanied it not only determined the nation we would become but also continue to define who we are. The Declaration of Independence, the Midnight Ride, Valley[…]

Paul Revere and the Boston Massacre as a Flashpoint for Revolution

What do the ghosts of that bloody history whisper to us now? At this moment that feels like a hinge in history—when America will swing either toward authoritarianism or toward a more just and liberal democracy—the ghosts of history rise up and speak to us. Five of those ghosts lay in the snowy gutters of[…]

Falling Sacrifice to Despotism: Virginia and the Intolerable Acts of 1774

These acts worked, inadvertently, towards unifying colonists against British policy. Abstract The purpose of my project is to analyze how Virginians responded to the Intolerable Acts of 1774, which were mostly aimed towards Boston and Massachusetts. This analysis consists mainly of coal county and town resolutions passed during the summer of 1774 in response to[…]

Philosophy of the American Revolution

It can be traced, in part, to the Enlightenment and its profound impact on colonial thinking. Political The Revolution generated radical changes in the principles, opinions, and sentiments of the American people. New ideas and issues affected social customs, political ideals, and gender and racial roles as the thirteen colonies evolved into the United States.[…]

Ethan Allen and His Green Mountain Boys Militia in the American Revolution

The original Green Mountain Boys were a militia in what is now Vermont in the decade prior to the American Revolutionary War. Introduction The Green Mountain Boys was a militia organization first established in the late 1760s in the territory between the British provinces of New York and New Hampshire, known as the New Hampshire[…]

Rebels with a Cause: The Continental Army and the American Revolution

Soldiers were typically yeoman farmers with a sense of honor and status and an ideological commitment to oppose British tyranny. Introduction The Continental Army was formed by the Second Continental Congress after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War by the former British colonies that later became the United States of America. Established by a[…]

‘To Protect at a Minute’s Notice’: Minutemen in Colonial America

The term has also been applied to various later civilian paramilitary forces trying to recall the success and patriotism of the originals. Introduction Minutemen were civilian colonists who independently organized to form militia companies self-trained in weaponry, tactics, and military strategies from the American colonial partisan militia during the American Revolutionary War. They were known[…]

I Spy Something Free

Women spies of the American Revolution. Introduction Throughout the Revolutionary War, there are stories of heroism; those who sacrificed to save others, those who put their lives on the line to warn of impending danger. The vast majority of these stories involve men. But there are countless extraordinary women who risked and sacrificed just as[…]

Love and the Revolution

Two wives of the American Revolution – one a patriot, one a spy. By Victoria Cooney Lucy Flucker of Boston and Peggy Shippen of Philadelphia were beautiful, well-born, and well-bred specimens of the ideal eighteenth-century American lady when love altered the course of their lives and thrust them into the action and intrigue of the[…]

Mythbusting the Founding Mothers

Examining some myths about women during the Revolutionary War and trying to find the truth. We all can picture the Founding Fathers, gathered in Independence Hall in Philadelphia, debating what to do about tyrannical Britain, and finally signing their names onto the Declaration of Independence. But what about the Founding Mothers? Often the women of[…]

The Cookbook That Declared America’s Culinary Independence

An 18th-century guide taught Americans how to eat simply but sumptuously. By Keith Stavely and Kathleen Fitzgerald American Cookery, published by the “orphan” Amelia Simmons in 1796, was the first cookbook by an American to be published in the United States. Its 47 pages (in the first edition) contained fine recipes for roasts—stuffed goose, stuffed[…]

What Did the Founding Fathers Eat and Drink as They Started a Revolution?

They may not have been hosting a cookout, but they did know how to imbibe and celebrate. As we commence celebrating July 4th with the time-honored traditions of beer, block parties and cookouts, it’s fun to imagine a cookout where the Founding Fathers gathered around a grill discussing the details of the Declaration of Independence.[…]

“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[…]