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  1. 21. A Union Without Power

    The American Revolution (HIST 116)

    In this lecture, Professor Freeman discusses the Articles of Confederation. Although they seem hopelessly weak in the long view of history, the Articles made perfect sense as a first stab at a national government by a people who deeply distrusted centralized power - a direct product of their recent experience of the British monarchy. Among the many issues that complicated the drafting of the Articles, three central issues included: how war debts to European nations would be divided among the states; whether western territories should be sold by the national government to pay for those debts; and how large and small states would compromise on representation. When a series of events - like Shays’ Rebellion - highlighted the weaknesses of the Articles, some Americans felt ready to consider a stronger national government.

    00:00 - Chapter 1. Introduction: A Union Without Power 02:12 - Chapter 2. Representation, Taxation, Western Lands: Debates on the Articles of Confederation 10:03 - Chapter 3. The Immediate Effects of the Articles 17:15 - Chapter 4. Frail Foreign Relations, Weak Congress, Splitting States: Weaknesses in the Confederation in the 1780s 30:40 - Chapter 5. Shays’ Rebellion and Newbough Conspiracy: Their Impacts on Thoughts…

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  2. 24. Creating a Nation

    The American Revolution (HIST 116)

    Professor Freeman discusses the national debate over the proposed Constitution, arguing that in many ways, when Americans debated its ratification, they were debating the consequences and meaning of the Revolution. Some feared that a stronger, more centralized government would trample on the rights and liberties that had been won through warfare, pushing the new nation back into tyranny, monarchy, or aristocracy. The Federalist essays represented one particularly ambitious attempt to quash Anti-Federalist criticism of the Constitution. In the end, the Anti-Federalists did have one significant victory, securing a Bill of Rights to be added after the new Constitution had been ratified by the states.

    00:00 - Chapter 1. Introduction: Creating a Nation 02:53 - Chapter 2. Difficulties in Ratifying the Constitution: Exchanges between Jefferson and Madison, and Ezra Stiles’s Diary 14:20 - Chapter 3. Debates on Balance of Power between Anti-Federalists and Federalists 22:32 - Chapter 4. In Defense of the Constitution: The Federalist Essays 28:54 - Chapter 5. The Anti-Federalists’ Push for Bill of Rights 36:04 - Chapter 6. General Consensus on Experimenting with Republican Government and Conclusion

    Complete course materials are available at…

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  3. 23. Creating a Constitution

    The American Revolution (HIST 116)

    Professor Freeman discusses the national debate over the proposed Constitution, arguing that in many ways, when Americans debated its ratification, they were debating the consequences and meaning of the Revolution. Some feared that a stronger, more centralized government would trample on the rights and liberties that had been won through warfare, pushing the new nation back into tyranny, monarchy, or aristocracy. The Federalist essays represented one particularly ambitious attempt to quash Anti-Federalist criticism of the Constitution. In the end, the Anti-Federalists did have one significant victory, securing a Bill of Rights to be added after the new Constitution had been ratified by the states.

    00:00 - Chapter 1. Introduction: The Constitution was Not Inevitable 08:48 - Chapter 2. State Fears of Monarchy: Attendees of the Constitutional Convention 22:24 - Chapter 3. Initial Plans to Revise the Articles and Madison’s Virginia Plan 29:11 - Chapter 4. The New Jersey Plan and Hamilton’s Praise of British Governance 34:56 - Chapter 5. Debates on State Representation, Slavery, and the Executive Branch 44:44 - Chapter 6. Conclusion

    Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website: http://open.yale.edu/courses

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  4. 22. The Road to a Constitutional Convention

    The American Revolution (HIST 116)

    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.

    00:00 - Chapter 1. Introduction: The Road to the Constitutional Convention 06:07 - Chapter 2. Complications of Interstate Commerce and the Mount Vernon Conference 13:11 - Chapter 3. Nationalist Hopes to the Revise the Articles of Confederation 23:29 - Chapter 4. Madison’s Historical Analyses of Republics and the Results of the Annapolis Convention 37:27 - Chapter 5. Madison’s Notes on the Constitutional Convention

    Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website: http://open.yale.edu/courses

    This course was recorded in Sp…

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  5. 25. Being an American: The Legacy of the Revolution

    The American Revolution (HIST 116)

    Professor Freeman discusses when we can consider a revolution to have ended, arguing that a revolution is finally complete when a new political regime gains general acceptance throughout society - and that, for this reason, it is the American citizenry who truly decided the fate and trajectory of the American Revolution. Yet, in deciding the meaning of the Revolution, the evolving popular memory of its meaning counts as well. Founders like Thomas Jefferson and John Adams frequently told younger Americans not to revere the Revolution and its leaders as demigods, insisting that future generations were just as capable, if not more so, of continuing and improving America’s experiment in government. Professor Freeman concludes the lecture by suggesting that the ultimate lesson of the American Revolution is that America’s experiment in government was supposed to be an ongoing process; that the Revolution taught Americans that their political opinions and actions mattered a great deal - and that they still do.

    00:00 - Chapter 1. Introduction: The End of the Revolution 02:21 - Chapter 2. Change and Acceptance of Revolutionary Principles between the 1770s and 1790s 15:00 - Chapter 3. Gauging Change in Public Opinion and Acceptance of New Go…

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    Original video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RtlB13DleLk&list=PLDA2BC5E785D495AB&index=25
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  6. 20. Confederation

    The American Revolution (HIST 116)

    This lecture discusses the ongoing political experimentation involved in creating new constitutions for the new American states. Having declared independence from Great Britain, Americans had to determine what kind of government best suited their individual states as well as the nation at large; to many, this was the "whole object" of their revolutionary turmoil. Different people had different ideas about what kind of republican government would work best for their state. Should there be a unicameral or a bicameral legislature? How should political representation be organized and effected? How far should the principle of popular sovereignty be taken?

    00:00 - Chapter 1. Introduction: Confederation 03:13 - Chapter 2. An Atmosphere of Experimentation with Governance 07:47 - Chapter 3. Congressional Encouragement of New State Constitutions 13:38 - Chapter 4. Adams’s Thoughts on Government: Support for Bicameral Legislature 20:12 - Chapter 5. Core Tenets and Ideas in the State Constitutions 32:30 - Chapter 6. The Development of the Articles of Confederation 41:31 - Chapter 7. Conclusion

    Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website: http://open.yale.edu/courses

    This course was recorded in Spring 2010.

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  7. 19. War and Society

    The American Revolution (HIST 116)

    In this lecture, Professor Freeman discusses the experiences of African Americans, women, and Native Americans during the Revolution, framing her discussion within a larger historical debate over whether or not the Revolution was "radical." Freeman ultimately concludes that while white American males improved their position in society as a result of the Revolution, women, African Americans, and Native Americans did not benefit in the same ways.

    00:00 - Chapter 1. Introduction: War and Society 01:53 - Chapter 2. How Radical was the Revolution? 08:52 - Chapter 3. African Americans during the American Revolution: Issues on Fighting and Slavery 24:02 - Chapter 4. The Extent of Inclusion of Women in the Political Community 34:24 - Chapter 5. Native Americans’ Relations with the British and the Americans 41:34 - Chapter 6. Conclusion

    Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website: http://open.yale.edu/courses

    This course was recorded in Spring 2010.

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  8. 18. Fighting the Revolution: The Big Picture

    The American Revolution (HIST 116)

    Today’s lecture concludes Professor Freeman’s discussion of the four phases of the Revolutionary War. America’s victory at the Battle of Saratoga in 1777 marked the end of the third phase of the war, and led to a turning point in the conflict: France’s decision to recognize American independence and enter into an alliance with the fledging nation. Although the British made one final attempt at reconciliation in 1778 with the Conciliatory Propositions, they were rejected by the Continental Congress. The fourth and final phase of the war lasted from 1779 to 1781, as the British Army focused its attention on the American South. The British seized Charleston and South Carolina, and defeated the Continental Army in a series of battles. But with the help of the French fleet, Washington was able to defeat Cornwallis’s army at the Battle of Yorktown in 1781. Peace negotiations to end the Revolutionary War began in Paris in June of 1782.

    00:00 - Chapter 1. Introduction: The Revolution was Not Inevitable 04:46 - Chapter 2. Summary of the First Three Phases of the War 12:13 - Chapter 3. Franklin in Paris and France’s Recognition of America 21:20 - Chapter 4. The British Conciliatory Propositions and their Rejection 25:09 - Chapter 5. The Fina…

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  9. 17. The Logic of a Campaign (or, How in the World Did We Win?)

    The American Revolution (HIST 116)

    In this lecture, Professor Freeman explains the logic behind American and British military strategy during the early phases of the Revolution. First, she discusses the logistic disadvantages of the British during the war: the difficulties shipping men and supplies from more than three thousand miles away; the vast expanse of countryside with no one central target to attack; difficulties in recruiting British soldiers to fight in America; and the fact that the British faced a citizen army comprised of highly motivated soldiers who didn’t act in predictable ways. In addition, the British consistently underestimated the revolutionaries in America, and overestimated Loyalist support. Professor Freeman also discusses the four main phases of the Revolutionary War, differentiated by shifts in British strategy. During the earliest phase of the war, the British thought that a show of military force would quickly lead to reconciliation with the colonists. During the second phase, the British resolved to seize a major city - New York - in the hope that isolating New England from the rest of the colonies would end hostilities. By 1777, the war had entered its third phase, and the British set their sights on seizing Philadelphia and defeating Ge…

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  10. 16. The Importance of George Washington

    The American Revolution (HIST 116)

    This lecture focuses on George Washington and the combined qualities that made him a key figure in Revolutionary America, arguing that the most crucial reason for his success as a national leader was that he proved repeatedly that he could be trusted with power - a vital quality in a nation fearful of the collapse of republican governance at the hands of a tyrant.

    00:00 - Chapter 1. Introduction: The Importance of George Washington 03:36 - Chapter 2. The Many Merits of Washington from the Letters of Hamilton and Adams 15:42 - Chapter 3. Ingredients of the Washington Phenomenon: Self-Presentation, Fortune, and the Need for a King 25:07 - Chapter 4. Balancing Solemnity with Humility: Washington as the Reluctant Leader 30:13 - Chapter 5. Washington’s Symbolic Gestures as Commander-in-Chief of a Republican Army 43:08 - Chapter 6. Washington’s Legacy as a Leader

    Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website: http://open.yale.edu/courses

    This course was recorded in Spring 2010.

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