Week 2: American Revolution

This week we’re focusing on the formative war of the American republic: the American Revolution. We’ll be thinking about what the war cost, both at the time of the war and afterwards.

Reminder: Grade contracts are due September 7. You can submit them here.


Due today:

  • Sign up for a war that you want to focus your attention on this semester. Sign-up is first-come, first-serve here.
  • Reading: James Ambuske et al., “The American Revolution,” Michael Hattem, ed., in The American Yawp, eds. Joseph Locke and Ben Wright (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2018). (Response options: blog post, Hypothesis, audio)

To do today:

Thought Provoker to Start: Listen to (or watch, if you have Disney+!) “Right Hand Man” from the musical Hamilton. Think about the different characters and how they feel about the war. What are they willing to give up in order to win?

Read a primary source document available at this Google Doc. (5 readers per document, first come, first served; mark in the Google Doc which document you’ve read).

On your own, answer these questions. Then discuss your answers with the other people that read your document, either in Slack or using some other means. (You may need or want to set up a private group DM in Slack to do this.) When you’ve come to a consensus about the answers, select one person to fill the answers in on this Google Form.

  • Who is writing this document? In terms of the American Revolution, how would you describe them?
  • Who are they writing to?
  • Each of these documents discusses one (or more) ways the American Revolution cost someone something. What cost is being discussed in this document?
  • Are there other groups in the Revolution who also share this cost?
  • Is this cost something that will go away when the war is over, or will it persist afterwards?


To do today:

Listen to our course podcast here or read the transcript here. Before you listen, you might want to read this post about how to listen to a podcast for a class.

Respond to the podcast and your document from Monday (and others’ documents), in which you think about who bears the cost of war, and how the American Revolution changed the world for those who experienced it (for good or for ill). (Response options: blog post, audio)