Origins and Ideologies of the American Revolution : The Great Courses: Modern History

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor Peter C. Mancall
  • Series: The Great Courses: Modern History
  • 24 hrs and 33 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

The years between 1760 and 1800 rocked the Western world. These were the years when colonists on the eastern fringes of a continent converted the ideals of Enlightenment thought first into action, then into an actual form of government.
Now you can learn why this happened and how the colonists did it - in a series of 48 insightful lectures from an award-winning teacher and author.
Professor Mancall brings to life not only the famous but also the little-remembered colonists who were caught up in the debates over rights and power, liberties and empire. It is a story of immense importance and rich discoveries. And because he presents original source materials, including examples of how events were reported and interpreted, you'll more readily grasp the evolution of ideas, the competing pressures, and the misunderstandings - not only in the time leading up to the Revolution, and during the years it was being fought, but afterwards, as well.
That's when the victorious colonists came to learn that in achieving freedom from Great Britain, they had simply traded one set of problems for another. They still had to cope with the extraordinarily difficult task of crafting a workable government - one that could support their ideals of how citizens and government should relate to each other - and achieving respect and success among other nations.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Fills a lot of gaps

Any additional comments?

This was a very worthy addition to the Great Courses, soberly teasing apart a complicated, multi-sided tangle of action, reaction, understanding, and misunderstandings. Its attention to the oft-neglected period between Pilgrims and Stamp Acts was especially welcome.

Mancall does an excellent job, too, of capturing how even individuals--such as Franklin, Adams, and Hutchison--could be divided in their own minds at a time when the right was not so clear and battle lines had yet to harden, as well as the familiar interpersonal debates. A testimony to the thoughtfulness exhibited on many sides of the issue of revolution.

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- Amazon Customer

An Ideal Way to Study the Revolution

This course examines the ideologies that led to the outbreak of the American Revolution, fueled the Revolution during the war and guided the formation of America's government that endures to the present. This course does not cover the military history of the war. Instead, this course focuses on the great thinkers, like John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, whose ideas helped stir the colonists into action. This course is not a biography of these individuals but, rather, is an examination of their thoughts and ideas. The course examines the way that ideas traveled, including by word of mouth, printed materials and propaganda drawings, and the way those ideas impacted history.

One of the more interesting aspects of the course is the discussion about how Americans, Loyalists and British had such divergent views of the same set of facts. For instance, Americans viewed the Boston Tea Party as a justified act of civil disobedience while Loyalists saw it as an act of lawlessness and British saw it as an act of rebellion. Perhaps the best part of the course is its broad scope. I expected the course to focus just on the build-up to the war and the war itself. However, the course went beyond that and dedicated several lectures to the establishment of the peace and the development of the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution. The bottom line is that this course does a great job going behind the scenes of the American Revolution and providing fantastic details often overlooked in other courses. This course provides a deep understanding of the motives that led to the war and leaves a new appreciation for the genius of the nation's founders.
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- Ark1836

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-08-2013
  • Publisher: The Great Courses