Professor Freeman concludes her discussion (from the previous lecture) of the three early instances in which the American colonies joined together to form a union. She then turns to a discussion of the Stamp Act crisis, and how American colonists found a shared bond through their dissatisfaction with the Stamp Act. Faced with massive national debts incurred by the recent war with France, Prime Minister George Grenville instituted several new taxes to generate revenue for Britain and its empire. The colonists saw these taxes as signaling a change in colonial policy, and thought their liberties and rights as British subjects were being abused. These feelings heightened with the Stamp Act of 1765. Finding a shared cause in their protestations against these new British acts, Americans set the foundation for future collaboration between the colonies.
Wood, The Radicalism of the American Revolution, Introduction and chapters 1-5
Brown, Major Problems in the Era of the American Revolution, pp. 72-96, 98-136, 138-55
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.