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HIST303: The Age of Revolutions in the Atlantic World, 1776–1848

Unit 2: The American Revolution   The American Revolution was the first of the Atlantic Revolutions.  The roots of the American Revolution can be traced back to both the Enlightenment and British concepts of Law and Representation.  The tensions between Britain and her American colonies were exacerbated by the French and Indian War, the subsequent taxes imposed on the colonies, and British mercantile policies.  These tensions led to violence in 1775.  Unable to get their grievances addressed, the colonists ultimately declared themselves independent in 1776.
 
In this unit, you will study why the revolutionaries went to war and what they hoped to achieve through independence. You will also consider the impact of the revolution on Europe and the Caribbean. 

Unit 2 Time Advisory
Time Advisory: This unit should take you approximately 19.25 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 2.1: 3.75 hours

☐    Subunit 2.2: 3.5 hours

☐    Subunit 2.3: 3.5 hours

☐    Subunit 2.4: 1.75 hours

☐    Subunit 2.5: 4.75 hours

☐    Subunit 2.5.1: 0.25 hour

☐    Subunit 2.5.2: 1.5 hours

☐    Subunit 2.5.3: 1.5 hours

☐    Subunit 2.5.4: 1.5 hours

☐    Subunit 2.6: 1.5 hours

☐    Unit 2 Assessment: 0.5 hour
 

Unit2 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:
- identify and describe the causes of the American Revolution; - explain the links between the causes of the American Revolution and broader intellectual trends of the period; and - describe the basic sequence of events and outcomes of the American Revolution.

2.1 Origins of the Crisis   2.1.1 Taxation and Mercantilist Policies   - Reading: Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations (1776): “Of Colonies” (HTML) and “The Cost of Empire” Link: Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations (1776): “Of Colonies” (HTML) and “The Cost of Empire” (HTML)

 Instructions: Please read these texts. These two readings provide
the framework for what scholars call the story of the *commercial
revolution*.  

 Reading these texts should take approximately 30 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.
  • Reading: Soame Jenyns’ “The Objections to the Taxation Consider’d, 1765” Link: Soame Jenyns’ “The Objections to the Taxation Consider’d, 1765” (HTML)

    Instructions: Read this text.  In this pamphlet, Jenyns, a member of the board of trade in England, discusses Britain’s rights to impose taxes over its colonies.  Pay special attention to his comments on the colonies’ objections.

    Reading this text should take approximately 15 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

2.1.2 The French and Indian War   - Reading: The Saylor Foundation’s “The Seven Years’ War” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “The Seven Years’ War” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read this text.  This reading offers a review of one of the most important episodes in American history. This conflict destroyed the French Empire in North America and overturned the balance of power on two continents.
 
Reading this text should take approximately 15 minutes.

2.1.3 The Estrangement of the Colonies   - Reading: The Saylor Foundation’s “The American Revolution” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “The American Revolution” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read this text.  In this reading, you will learn about the Revolutionary War that made America independent of Britain. This reading also covers the topic outlined in subunit 2.1.4.
 
As you read, consider the following study question: How did America survive in a dangerous world dominated by European empires?

 Reading this text and answering the question above should take
approximately 45 minutes. 
  • Lecture: YouTube: Yale University: Professor Joanne B. Freeman’s The American Revolution: “Lecture 3: Being a British American” Link: YouTube: Yale University: Professor Joanne B. Freeman’s The American Revolution: “Lecture 3: Being a British American” (YouTube)
     
    Also available in:
    HTML, MP3, Adobe Flash, and QuickTime
     
    Instructions: Please watch this video lecture. In this video, Professor Joanne B. Freeman tries to answer one of the many unresolved questions that the American Revolutionary War brought to the forefront: What constituted the American people?  What could bind the American people together?  Take some time to write a summary about how Freeman responds to and reconciles these questions about what constitutes and unites the American people.
     
    Watching this lecture, pausing to take notes, and completing the writing activity above should take approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

2.1.4 Taxation and Representation   Note: The reading assigned below subunit 2.1.3 covers this topic.  Focus on the sections titled “Political and Economic Factors Leading to the American Revolution” and “Boston Tea Party.”  Take approximately 15 minutes to review these sections.

2.2 The Coming of Revolution   2.2.1 Protest and Solidarity   - Lecture: YouTube: Yale University: Professor Joanne B. Freeman’s The American Revolution: “Lecture 5: Outraged Colonials: The Stamp Act Crisis” and “Lecture 6: Resistance or Rebellion? (Or, What the Heck Is Happening in Boston?)” Links: YouTube: Yale University: Professor Joanne B. Freeman’s The American Revolution: “Lecture 5: Outraged Colonials: The Stamp Act Crisis” and “Lecture 6: Resistance or Rebellion? (Or, What the Heck Is Happening in Boston?)” (YouTube)
 
Also available in:
Lecture 5: HTML, MP3, Adobe Flash, and QuickTime
Lecture 6: HTML, MP3, Adobe Flash, and QuickTime
 
Instructions: Please watch both lectures.  In these lectures, Professor Freeman discusses the questions that dominated the contemporary debates about the American Revolution: How would America survive in a dangerous world dominated by European empires?  What would the American union look like, and how would it be bound together?  Take some time to write a summary about Freeman’s responses to these questions.  These lectures cover the topics outlined in subunits 2.2.1 and 2.2.2.
 
Watching these lectures, pausing to take notes, and completing the writing activity above should take approximately 3 hours and 30 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

2.2.2 Violence and Organization   Note: The lectures assigned below subunit 2.2.1 cover this topic.

2.3 Revolution   2.3.1 The Declaration of Independence   - Reading: Archives.gov: “The Declaration of Independence” Link: Archives.gov: “The Declaration of Independence” (HTML)
 
Also available in:

[JPG ](http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/charters_downloads.html)     
    
 Instructions: Read this text.  The Declaration of Independence of
the United States justifies its independence of Britain by asserting
several natural and legal rights.  
    
 As you study the declaration, consider the following questions:
Which sentence of the Declaration of Independence is considered to
be a major statement on human rights?  What are the intentions of
the authors of the declaration?  
    
 Reading this text and answering the questions above should take
approximately 30 minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.
  • Lecture: YouTube: Yale University: Professor Joanne B. Freeman’s The American Revolution: “Lecture 11: Independence” Link: YouTube: Yale University: Professor Joanne B. Freeman’s The American Revolution: “Lecture 11: Independence” (YouTube)
     
    Also available in:
    HTML, MP3, Adobe Flash and QuickTime
     
    Instructions: Please watch this lecture.  In this lecture Professor Freeman discusses the Declaration of Independence and its unique role in history. 
     
    As you watch this lecture, consider the following study question: Why do you think the Declaration was initially ignored after the Revolution?
     
    Watching this lecture, pausing to take notes, and answering the question above should take approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

2.3.2 War and Victory   - Lecture: YouTube: Yale University: Professor Joanne B. Freeman’s The American Revolution: “Lecture 18: Fighting the Revolution: The Big Picture” Link: YouTube: Yale University: Professor Joanne B. Freeman’s The American Revolution: “Lecture 18: Fighting the Revolution: The Big Picture” (YouTube)  

 Also available in:  
 [HTML, MP3, Adobe Flash, and
QuickTime](http://oyc.yale.edu/history/hist-116/lecture-18)  
    
 Instructions: Please watch this lecture. In this lecture, Professor
Freeman offers a comprehensive narrative of the revolutionary fight
for independence.    
    
 Watching this lecture and pausing to take notes should take
approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

2.4 Goals of the Revolution   2.4.1 Independence   - Lecture: YouTube: Yale University: Professor Joanne B. Freeman’s The American Revolution: “Lecture 10: Common Sense” Link: YouTube: Yale University: Professor Joanne B. Freeman’s The American Revolution: “Lecture 10: Common Sense” (YouTube)
 
Also available in:
HTML, MP3, Adobe Flash, and QuickTime
 
Instructions: Please watch the video lecture. In this lecture, Professor Freeman offers a comprehensive analysis of Thomas Pain’s pamphlet, Common Sense, which helped ignite the American Revolution.
 
As you watch the lecture, consider the following study question: According to Paine, was reconciliation with England still possible?
 
Watching this lecture, pausing to take notes, and answering the question above should take approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

2.4.2 Equal Rights   - Reading: The Saylor Foundation’s “Goals of the Revolution” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “Goals of the Revolution” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read this text.  This reading also covers the topic outlined in subunit 2.4.3. This reading offers a fresh look at the thinking of the individuals who made the Revolution.
 
As you read, consider this study question: Based on your knowledge of each of the following and in consideration of this reading, how did each impact the goals of the revolutionaries: intellectual influences, Enlightenment ideology, traditional common law, and covenant theology?

 Reading this text and answering the question above should take
approximately 15 minutes.

2.4.3 Democracy   Note: The reading assigned below subunit 2.4.2 covers this topic.  Consider how unity and the identity of the American people as well as what they wanted freedom from (i.e., tyranny) relates to democracy.

2.5 Challenges of the Revolution   2.5.1 What Kind of Government?   - Reading: The Saylor Foundation’s “Challenges of the Revolution” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “Challenges of the Revolution” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read “Challenges of the Revolution.” This text analyzes the main challenges of the new nation, from foreign relations to the fact that there was no clear governing head.
 
As you read, consider the following study question: Why did the European powers believe that an American federal union would not succeed?
 
Reading this text and answering the question should take approximately 15 minutes.

2.5.2 The Articles of the Confederation   - Lecture: YouTube: Yale University: Professor Joanne B. Freeman’s The American Revolution: “Lecture 20: Confederation” Link: YouTube: Yale University: Professor Joanne B. Freeman’s The American Revolution: “Lecture 20: Confederation”(YouTube)
 
Also available in:
HTML, MP3, Adobe Flash, and QuickTime
 
Instructions: Please watch this lecture. In this lecture, Professor Freeman offers new insights into the contemporary debates on how to integrate all the new American states.
As you watch the lecture, consider the following study question: What was the relationship between individual rights and popular sovereignty?    
 
Watching this lecture, pausing to take notes, and answering the question above should take approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

2.5.3 Threats to the New Nation   - Lecture: YouTube: Yale University: Professor Joanne B. Freeman’s The American Revolution: “Lecture 21: A Union without Power” Link: YouTube: Yale University: Professor Joanne B. Freeman’s The American Revolution: “Lecture 21: A Union without Power” (YouTube)
 
Also available in:
HTML, MP3, Adobe Flash, and QuickTime
 
Instructions: Please watch this lecture.  In this lecture, Professor Freeman analyzes the First Federal Constitution of the United States before the Constitution.  Remember that American historian Professor Merrill Jensen describes these Articles of Confederation as the written expression of the political philosophy of the Declaration of Independence.
 
Watching this lecture and pausing to take notes should take approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes .
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

2.5.4 The Constitution   - Lecture: YouTube: Yale University: Professor Joanne B. Freeman’s The American Revolution: “Lecture 23: Creating a Constitution” Link: YouTube: Yale University: Professor Joanne B. Freeman’s The American Revolution: “Lecture 23: Creating a Constitution” (YouTube)
 
Also available in:
HTML, MP3, Adobe Flash, and QuickTime
 
Instructions: Please watch this lecture.  In this lecture, Professor Freeman captures the dynamic of the debates by the men who labored the American Constitution.

 As you view the lecture, consider the following study question: Why
do you think the American Constitution is the world’s most enduring
constitution?  
    
 Watching this lecture, pausing to take notes, and answering the
question above should take approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

2.6 Outcomes   2.6.1 Revolutionary Change   - Reading: The Saylor Foundation’s “How Revolutionary Was the American Revolution?” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “How Revolutionary Was the American Revolution?” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read this text.  As you read, consider the following study questions: Do you think the American Revolution produced a social transformation? Why, or why not? What principles were espoused during the Revolution?

 Reading this text and answering the questions above should take
approximately 15 minutes.

2.6.2 Impact of the American Revolution   - Lecture: YouTube: Yale University: Professor Joanne B. Freeman’s The American Revolution: “Lecture 25: Being an American: The Legacy of the Revolution” Link: YouTube: Yale University: Professor Joanne B. Freeman’s The American Revolution: “Lecture 25: Being an American: The Legacy of the Revolution” (YouTube)
 
Also available in:
HTML, MP3, Adobe Flash, and QuickTime
 
Instructions: Please watch this lecture.  In this lecture, Professor Freeman delves into the many facets of the aftermath of the American Revolution.  Pay special attention to Professor Freeman’s conclusions on the lessons of the Revolution.
 
Watching this lecture and pausing to take notes should take approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

Unit 2 Assessment   - Assessment: The Saylor Foundation’s “Unit 2 Assessment”

Link: The Saylor Foundation’s [“Unit 2
Assessment”](https://resources.saylor.org/wwwresources/archived/site/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/HIST303-OC-Unit-2.Assessment.FINAL_.pdf)
(PDF)  

 Instructions: Please complete this assessment.  You can check your
work against The Saylor Foundation’s [“Guide to
Responding”](https://resources.saylor.org/wwwresources/archived/site/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/HIST303-OC-Unit-2.Answer-Key.FINAL_.pdf)
(PDF).  
    
 Completing this assessment should take no more than 30 minutes.