Professor Freeman discusses the differences between society in the American colonies and society in Britain in the eighteenth century. She uses examples from colonists' writings to show that the American colonies differed from British society in three distinct ways: the distinctive character of the people who migrated to the colonies; the distinctive conditions of life in British America; and the nature of British colonial administration.
Brown, Major Problems in the Era of the American Revolution, pp. 27-69
The American Revolution entailed some remarkable transformations--converting British colonists into American revolutionaries, and a cluster of colonies into a confederation of states with a common cause--but it was far more complex and enduring then 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.
This Yale College course, taught on campus twice per week for 50 minutes, was recorded for Open Yale Courses in Spring 2010.