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HIST312: Capitalism and Democracy in America

Unit 4: The American Revolution, 1750-1800   This unit examines the reasons why Britain’s American colonies rebelled and investigates the consequences of that decision.  We will pay particular attention to the role that America’s pre-capitalist economy played in pushing the colonies to rebel and the ways in which economic growth created conditions favorable to increased political participation.

Unit 4 Time Advisory
This unit should take you 11.5 hours to complete.

☐    Introduction: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 4.1: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 4.2: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 4.3: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 4.4: 2.5 hours

☐    Subunit 4.5: 4 hours

Unit4 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  • Identify the economic consequences of the Seven Years War for British North America.
  • Identify the various economic systems in existence in Revolutionary North America.
  • Identify the economic and political causes and effects of the American Revolution.
  • Identify the economic consequences of the Seven Years War for British North America.
  • Identify the structure of the United States’ federal government.
  • Identify and describe various interpretations of the U.S. Constitution vis a vis economics and democracy.

  • Reading: Wikibooks’ US History: “Road to Revolution” Link: Wikibooks’ US History: Road to Revolution (PDF)
      
    Instructions: Please read the entirety of the website in order to get a sense of the events that caused the American Revolution prior to moving onto the subunits below.
     
    About the link: This online text was developed by Wikibooks as an open educational resource for use in undergraduate history courses.
     
    Terms of Use: The Wikibooks article above is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0 (HTML).  You can find the original version of this article here (HTML).

4.1 Consequences of the Seven Years War/French & Indian War   - Lecture: iTunesU: Stanford University, Jack Rakove, Colonial and Revolutionary America, Lecture 14, “The View from London” Link: Stanford University, Jack Rakove, Colonial and Revolutionary America, Lecture 14, The View from London (iTunesU)
 
Instructions: Please listen to Professor Jack Rakove’s entire 50-minute lecture to get a sense of Britain’s understanding of the events that were taking place in North America.
 
About the link: This website hosts free lectures from the nation’s top universities in a wide array of academic subjects.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

4.2 Economics, Society, and Government in the North   - Lecture: iTunesU: Stanford University, Jack Rakove, Colonial and Revolutionary America, Lecture 12, “Commerce and Culture” Link: Stanford University, Jack Rakove, Colonial and Revolutionary America, Lecture 12, Commerce and Culture (iTunesU)
 
Instructions: Please listen to Professor Jack Rakove’s entire 50-minute lecture to get a sense of cultural and economic life in Britain’s northern North American colonies.
 
About the link: This website hosts free lectures from the nation’s top universities in a wide array of academic subjects.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

4.3 Economics, Society, and Government in the South   - Lecture: iTunesU: Stanford University, Jack Rakove, Colonial and Revolutionary America, Lecture 5, “Southern Plantations” Link: Stanford University, Jack Rakove, Colonial and Revolutionary America, Lecture 5, Southern Plantations (iTunesU)
 
Instructions: Please listen to Professor Jack Rakove’s entire 50-minute lecture to get a sense of cultural and economic life in Britain’s southern North American colonies.
 
About the link: This website hosts free lectures from the nation’s top universities in a wide array of academic subjects.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Lecture: iTunesU: Stanford University, Jack Rakove, Colonial and Revolutionary America, Lecture 6, “Slavery and the Plantation Complex” Link: Stanford University, Jack Rakove, Colonial and Revolutionary America, Lecture 6, Slavery and the Plantation Complex (iTunesU)
     
    Instructions: Please listen to Professor Jack Rakove’s entire 50-minute lecture to better understand the relationship between slavery and economic and political development in the southern colonies/states of Revolutionary America.
     
    About the link: This website hosts free lectures from the nation’s top universities in a wide array of academic subjects.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

4.4 The American Revolution   - Reading: Wikibooks’ US History: “American Revolution” Link: Wikibooks’ US History: American Revolution (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please read the entirety of the website in order to get a sense for the progress of the American Revolution.
 
About the link: This online text was developed by Wikibooks as an open educational resource for use in undergraduate history courses.
 
Terms of Use: The article above is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0 (HTML).  You can find the original version of this article here (HTML).

  • Lecture: WGBH Boston, Eugen Weber, The Western Tradition, Lecture 34, “The American Revolution” Link: WGBH Boston, Eugen Weber, The Western Tradition, Lecture 34, The American Revolution (Adobe Flash)
     
    Note: You must disable pop-up blockers before attempting to view the video.
     
    Instructions: Please listen to Professor Eugen Weber’s entire 30-minute lecture to get a sense of how the British created a society that “…tested Enlightenment ideas and resisted restrictions imposed by England.”  After clicking the hyperlink, a new webpage should open.  Toggle down to the appropriate lecture and click the box labeled “VoD” on the right – this will open another box that will display the lecture.
     
    About the link: This website an entire series of lectures produced by WGBH Boston called “The Western Tradition.”
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Lecture: iTunesU: Stanford University, Jack Rakove, Colonial and Revolutionary America, Lecture 15, “Crisis of Independence” Link: Stanford University, Jack Rakove, Colonial and Revolutionary America, Lecture 15, Crisis of Independence (iTunesU)
     
    Instructions: Please listen to Professor Jack Rakove’s entire 50-minute lecture to better appreciate the symbiotic relationship of economic and political development in the northern colonies/states of British North America.
     
    About the link: This website hosts free lectures from the nation’s top universities in a wide array of academic subjects.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

4.5 The American Constitution   - Reading: Wikibooks’ US History: “Constitution Early Years” Link: Wikibooks’ US History: “Constitution Early Years” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please read the entirety of his entry, which discusses the development of the US constitution.
 
About the link: This online text was developed by Wikibooks as an open educational resource for use in undergraduate history courses.

 Terms of Use: The article above is released under a [Creative
Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License
3.0](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) (HTML).  You
can find the original version of this article
[here](http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/US_History/Constitution_Early_Years)
(HTML).
  • Reading: National Archives and Records Administration: U.S. Constitution Link: National Archives and Records Administration: U.S. Constitution (PDF)

    Also available in:
     
    eText format on the Kindle ($0.00)
     
    PDF

    Instructions: Please read the entirety of the United States Constitution in order to better understand how the Founders envisioned citizens participating in the new national government and the Founders’ attitudes about the relationship between economics and America’s political institutions.  To view in PDF format, please follow the "PDF" link above; the link is at the bottom right of the page.

    About the link: This is a transcription of the United States Constitution in its original form.  Items that are hyperlinked have since been amended or superseded.  The United States Constitution was drafted in the summer of 1787 and ratified (agreed upon) by most of the thirteen original states over the following year. The Constitution lays out the basic institutions of the United States federal government and their function while an ancillary document – the Bill of Rights, or the first ten amendments to the Constitution – places limitations on the power of government to infringe upon individual property, religious, and political rights.

    This material is part of the public domain.

  • Lecture: C-SPAN/The New York Historical Society, “James Madison and the Constitution” Link:  C-SPAN/The New York Historical Society, “James Madison and the Constitution” (Youtube)

    Instructions: Please watch the entire 60-minute debate to better understand the American Constitution.
     
    About the link: This website an entire series of lectures produced by C-SPAN and the New York Historical Society.
     
    Terms of Use: Terms of Use: The material above was produced by C-SPAN, with permission granted for non-commercial use with no modifications to the material.  The original version can be found here http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/281562-1.

4.5.1 Balance of Powers   - Reading: Yale University’s e-copy of James Madison’s “Federalist 51” Link: Yale University’s e-copy of James Madison’s Federalist 51 (PDF)

 Instructions: Please read the entirety of this document to better
understand the philosophical and economic underpinnings of the
constitution. Madison was heavily involved in assembling the
Constitutional Convention and writing the Constitution, and the
Federalist Papers (of which this reading is one) were a series of
articles written by Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay in
defense of the proposed Constitution and arguing that states should
ratify it.  

 About the link: This online text is part of a comprehensive
database at Yale Law School chronicling the history of law and
diplomacy.  

 Terms of use: This material is part of the public domain. 

4.5.2 The U.S. Constitution and Property Rights: Did the Founders sacrifice democracy to protect property rights?   - Reading: Charles Beard, An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States: “Chapter I: Historical Interpretation of the United States” & “Chapter VI: The Constitution as an Economic Document” Link: Charles Beard, An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States: Chapter I (HTML) & Chapter VI (HTML)
 
Also available in:

[PDF](http://en.wikisource.org/w/index.php?title=Special:Book&bookcmd=rendering&return_to=An+Economic+Interpretation+of+the+Constitution+of+the+United+States%2FChapter+VI&collection_id=05206ffd4f8f12ff&writer=rl)  
 [Google
Books](http://books.google.com/books?id=P9QpAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=Charles+Beard,+An+Economic+Interpretation+of+the+Constitution+of+the+United+States&hl=en&ei=u7CgTIP5I8P-8AbK2pXuDw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CC8Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false)  
    
 Instructions: Please read the entirety of these two chapters to
understand Beard’s seminal (and highly controversial) interpretation
of the origins of the Constitution.   
    
 About the link: This online text is based on Charles Beard’s *An
Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States*,
published in 1921.  It has since entered the public domain.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.