In this lecture, Professor Freeman discusses how the new nation moved towards creating a stronger, more centralized national government than the Articles of Confederation. Complications of commerce between individual states - a factor that wasn't regulated by the Articles - led to a series of interstate gatherings, like the Mount Vernon Conference of March 1785. Some strong nationalists saw these meetings as an ideal opportunity to push towards revising the Articles of Confederation. Professor Freeman ends with a discussion of James Madison's preparations for the Federal Convention, and the importance of his notes in understanding the process by which delegates drafted a new Constitution.
Wood, The Radicalism of the American Revolution, chapters 13-19
Raphael, A People's History of the American Revolution, chapter 7
Brown, Major Problems in the Era of the American Revolution, pp. 1-25, 306-309, 494-521
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.