Today's lecture concludes Professor Freeman's discussion of the four phases of the Revolutionary War. America's victory at the Battle of Saratoga in 1777 marked the end of the third phase of the war, and led to a turning point in the conflict: France's decision to recognize American independence and enter into an alliance with the fledging nation. Although the British made one final attempt at reconciliation in 1778 with the Conciliatory Propositions, they were rejected by the Continental Congress. The fourth and final phase of the war lasted from 1779 to 1781, as the British Army focused its attention on the American South. The British seized Charleston and South Carolina, and defeated the Continental Army in a series of battles. But with the help of the French fleet, Washington was able to defeat Cornwallis's army at the Battle of Yorktown in 1781. Peace negotiations to end the Revolutionary War began in Paris in June of 1782.
Raphael, A People's History of the American Revolution, chapters 3, 5-6
Brown, Major Problems in the Era of the American Revolution, pp. 224-28, 238-47, 256-85, 287-305
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.