Teaching Resource Catalog

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The Revolutionary Era (1763-1789)

 

                                

England and America in 1763:

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This lecture looks at the aftermath of the French and Indian War, with a particular focus on the important legacies of the conflict which set the stage for the “Imperial Crisis” and the Revolution.    Key themes to discuss are the elimination of New France, the British government’s western land policies (including the Proclamation of 1763), rising tensions between colonial Americans and British officials/officers, Pontiacs Rebellion, and Great Britain’s crushing national debt.

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From the Stamp Act to the Coercive Acts

                           
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This lecture explores the American reaction to British attempts to raise taxes and customs duties in the colonies as well as to tighten the enforcement of imperial regulations.  Important topics to focus upon are the British government’s measures(e.g., Stamp Act, Townshend Duties, Tea Act), the colonial American ideological response, American non-importation agreements, urban mob actions against royal officials and growing inter-colonial cooperation as the crisis progressed.

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Debates over Independence

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This lecture explores the ideological and political debates over American independence.  Important topics to raise with students include colonial definitions of the “rights of Englishmen,” concepts of natural rights, political debates over tactics to deal with the crown, the influence of Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, and Jefferson’s drafting and Congress’s revision and adoption of the Declaration of Independence.

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The War for Independence: Washington and the Patriot Victory

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This lectures looks at the military side of the Revolution.  Important topics to cover include George Washington’s selection as commander-in-chief, the early campaigns of the Continental Army (including New York, the retreat through New Jersey, and Trenton/Princeton), role of militia in the conflict, civilian support for the war effort, the French alliance, the Southern campaigns of 1779-1781, and final victory at Yorktown.

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The Perils of Peace (1783-1787)

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This lecture explores the peace treaty with Great Britain and the years which immediately followed.  Important topics to examine are the terms of the Treaty of Paris (1783), the post-war economic depression, the ineffectualness of the Continental Congress, political and economic disputes among the states, Shays Rebellion, and growing calls among leaders for a new national government.

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The Writing and Ratification of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights

 
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This lecture looks at the creation and adoption of the U.S. Constitution in 1787-88.  Important topics to focus upon include the need for a stronger and more centralized national government, James Madison and his “Virginia Plan,” the competing interests and goals of the various state delegations, the compromises on slavery, the congress, and the executive branch, the emergence of federalism, and the idea of “checks and balances.”  This lecture should also explore the ratification debates, including an examination of The Federalist Papers as well as some of the Anti-Federalist essays.  Finally, the adoption of the Bill of Rights in 1791 should be mentioned as emerging out of the ratification debates of 1787-88.

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