The American Revolution: Lecture 1 - Introduction: Freeman's Top Five Tips for Studying the Revolution| 40mins
Director: Open Yale Courses | Producer: Open Yale Courses
Focus Years: 2010 | Country: United States
The American Revolution entailed some remarkable transformationâ€”converting British colonists into American revolutionaries and a cluster of colonies into a confederation of states with a common causeâ€”but the revolution 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.
Professor Freeman offers an introduction to the course, summarizing the readings and discussing the course's main goals. She also offers five tips for studying the Revolution: 1) Avoid thinking about the Revolution as a story about facts and dates; 2) Remember that words we take for granted today, like "democracy," had very different meanings then; 3) Think of the "Founders" as real people rather than mythic historic figures; 4) Remember that the "Founders" arenâ€™t the only people who count in the Revolution; 5) Remember the importance of historical contingency: that anything could have happened during the Revolution.