American Revolutions

In the 1760s, Benjamin Rush, a native of Philadelphia, recounted a visit to Parliament. Upon seeing the king’s throne in the House of Lords, Rush said he “felt as if he walked on sacred ground” with “emotions that I cannot describe.” Throughout the eighteenth century, colonists had developed significant emotional ties with both the British monarchy and the British constitution.–American Yawp, chapter 5

Image Gateway:  Boston Massacre (1770)

Boston Massacre

Paul Revere’s print depicting the Boston Massacre (1770)

Discussion Question

  • What was the main ideology or belief system which led to the American Revolution?  (Consider how to weigh factors such as Lockean liberalism, republicanism or American nationalism)

Timeline:  Colonial Crisis

Image Gateway:  Washington Crossing the Delaware (1776)

Washington Crossing

Emanuel Leutze’s 1851 depiction of Washington Crossing the Delaware (1776)

Discussion Question

  • What was the key to Washington’s successful military strategy during the Revolutionary War? (Consider how to weigh factors such as strategic patience, diplomatic alliances or the American landscape)

Timeline:  Revolutionary War 



Image Gateway:  September 17, 1787Christy painting

Discussion Question

  • The Founders were never entirely unified in their quest to form a “more perfect union,” one that could bring to reality their revolution in self-government.  How and why did their partisan divisions shift between 1783 and 1800?

Timeline:  Forging a Constitutional Republic

For every parade, thanksgiving proclamation, or grand procession honoring the unity of the nation, there was also some political controversy reminding American citizens of how fragile their union was. And as party differences and regional quarrels tested the federal government, the new nation increasingly explored the limits of its democracy.  —American Yawp, chapter 6