The American Revolution was the first of a series of world-shaking democratic revolutions that swept the Atlantic World in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Radical ideas of self-government, liberty, and republicanism challenged the Old World institutions of monarchy, aristocracy, and religious authority, transforming the modern world. In a sweeping work of intellectual history, Jonathan Israel investigates this global spread of enlightenment ideas in The Expanding Blaze: How the American Revolution Ignited the World, 1775-1848.
Deborah Sampson joined the Continental Army in the Fourth Massachusetts Regiment at the age of 21 disguised as a man. Enlisted as Robert Shurtliff, Sampson participated in numerous skirmishes from 1782-1783 in New York's Lower Hudson River Valley. After an illness, her secret was discovered and Sampson received an honorable discharge at West Point in 1763. Later in life, she received a pension for her military service and went on a national tour giving speeches about her wartime experiences and demonstrations of the manual of arms.
In the eighteenth century, love letters were not always meant for your lover's eyes only. Rather public expressions of love and affection were common during a courtship. We learn in this week's featured excerpt, that as courting men and women navigated a romantic relationship, they were also in a delicate negotiation of power.
In a 1793 letter to Angelica Schuyler Church in 1793, Thomas Jefferson described himself as "the most blessed of the patriarchs," a revealing sentiment that provides a window into the mindset of one of America's most famous founding fathers.
As a republican patriot and plantation patriarch, the contradictions of Thomas Jefferson's private and public worlds continue to fascinate and confound. Two of the leading scholars of Thomas Jefferson, Annette Gordon-Reed and Peter S. Onuf, collaborated to produce an insightful study of how Jefferson understood himself and his life's work as a revolutionary, politician, president, and slaveholder. 'Most Blessed of the Patriarchs': Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination, offers readers an intimate and provocative exploration of Thomas Jefferson's progression through life.
When eleven-year-old Nathaniel Fox runs away from his cruel uncle, he finds himself alone in New York City in the middle of the Revolutionary War! Young Nate soon meets an old friend and joins up with a Connecticut regiment as a camp helper. As he settles into camp life, chopping wood, digging trenches, and hauling water for the Continental Army, Nate learns more about the Revolutionary War, the Declaration of Independence, and, of course, hears stories about the feared Hessian soldiers and their deadly bayonets. Yet, Nate's courage will soon be tested as he and the Continental Army prepare for the Battle of Brooklyn.
At the outset of the Revolutionary War, the differences between the thirteen American colonies seemed insurmountable and the likelihood of them uniting together to defeat a global superpower appeared to be impossible. The leaders of the Revolutionary movement recognized that they would need a ‘common cause’ to unify the people politically. In The Common Cause: Creating Race and Nation in the American Revolution, Robert G. Parkinson explores the creation and propagation of a ‘common cause,’ crafted by Patriot leaders, to rally colonists from South Carolina to Massachusetts against a common enemy.
From the insignia on a soldier’s coat buttons to the shape of their cap, Don Troiani’s Soldiers of the American Revolution brings to the life the soldiers and battles of the Revolutionary War. Surviving objects and primary source descriptions of the uniforms, weapons, and accessories of the Revolutionary War serve as Troiani’s source material for his full-color illustrations of British, American, Oneida, and Hessian soldiers presented in various poses and scenes. A historical artist specializing in military paintings of the American Revolution and the Civil War, Troiana shows his work by featuring his original paintings of soldiers alongside the actual objects he studied in his artistic recreations.
Take a break from Thanksgiving preparations to learn about a classic American dessert- Gingerbread! We’ve whipped up a delicious double feature for this week’s Read the Revolution email with tempting and intriguing stories about our early American culinary history.
In Revolution Against Empire: Taxes, Politics, and the Origins of American Independence, Justin du Rivage argues that the American Revolution was about more than the simple “no taxation without representation” slogan. Essentially, he argues that the violent break between Great Britain and its colonies was the product of a fierce ideological debate taking place throughout the eighteenth century over the question of “what kind of empire the British Empire would become.” In the decades leading up to the Declaration of Independence, this ideological debate regarding issues of taxation, public debt, and inequality raged on both sides of the Atlantic. The author seeks to reposition American Independence as part of this larger political debate over the fate of the British Empire by focusing on three rival political factions and their competing and incompatible visions of empire that dominated the political environments of Great Britain and its colonies from Boston to Bengal.
Over one year before the Boston Tea Party, a group of colonial protestors captured and burned a British naval schooner stationed in Rhode Island waters. The Burning of His Majesty’s Schooner Gaspee: An Attack on Crown Rule Before the American Revolution by Steven Park examines this oft-forgotten moment that helped accelerate tensions between Great Britain and its American colonies. In early 1772, British Lieutenant William Dudingston arrived in Rhode Island's Narragansett Bay abroad the HMS Gaspee and aggressively enforced customs collections and cargo inspections.. Dudingston cracked down on American smugglers, but he also incited anger among colonists by harassing some lawful ships. Park’s volume surveys the hostilities leading up to the colonial retaliation against the Gaspee and repositions the episode as a pivotal spark that re-ignited colonial resistance to British authority in the early-1770s.