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.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
©2006 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2006 The Great Courses
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.
Although I was a history minor in college, there a few facts presented in this course of which I was not previously aware. The lecturer is engaging. Many of the concepts presented are essential to real understanding of the constitutional basis of our government and the continued conflict between Federalists and anti-Federalists today.
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.
The lecture is successful in completely covering the motivations behind the American War of Independence but Prof. Mancall is a horrible speaker. He's constantly tongue-tied and he sounds like he's reading aloud.
I purchased this course because I felt the other major American Revolution courses (“The History of the United States” and “The American Revolution”) did not cover the major events preceding (the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, Lexington and Concord) and post (Creation of the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution) armed conflict in enough depth. When I saw that this course dedicated entire lectures to each event I thought I found my answer. Unfortunately, the opposite occurred: the pace of the course was too slow and the Professor spent too much time on the minutia detail of government proclamations and resolutions vs. the events themselves.
While there were good morsels of information presented, too often they were scattered across portions of the course that seemed to drag out. Portions that were too heavy with minutia such as the details (and wording) of government resolutions when the professor could have made his points in less time. For example the main theme of 7 early lectures was to express the idea that the colonies were self ruled and the system worked up until the 1760's because of the partnership between the British and the colonists led to economic successes. Did we really need 7 lectures to establish this?
An ideal course length felt like it should be 24 lectures. Combine that with the Professor staying away from reading all of the details of the various government proclamations and resolutions and this may have come out as a much more interesting and engaging course.
If you are extremely interested in the words of the revolutionaries (and the loyalists) themselves be it diaries, pamphlets, or government documents/resolutions then you may find this course worthwhile. If you are more interested in the events of this period and the general story they told then I would recommend “The American Revolution”.
Excellent presentation excellent subject matter, sometimes a bit slow in making his point. A book that everyone should read to teach them about our nation's history.
Lecture 5 out of 49 ... There is a lot of eulogy for Native Americans, perhaps warranted, but extremely repetitive. Lot of material that was already covered in the lecture 4. Let's hope it get's better with progress, so far, it is rather odd. Will update.
Nasal, whiny voice. But very animated.
Well presented. A good reminder that it was not all a noble undertaking and there were a great many financial interests that lead to the revolution.
All Americans should study this course today! Even though I'M a physician and past physical scientist, also perpetual student of history. A copy of Washington's farewell address should be printed on the front page of every newspaper , read on every news program and school classroom. I'm giving this course as a gift to many to re-direct them about our society. Thank you Professor Mancall!!!
Horrifying many "err"s ...almost after every second or fifth word...that s really bad and i am having a hard time with listening to the story. If you record a book you should erase ALL the "um's" and "err's as much as possible.
Want to return it !!
“The American colonists believed that they, as British subjects, had a right for representation in any body that would to subject them to taxation.” Everyone knows this! Repeat this phrase over and over and you have this course. There is no attempt to seriously look at the conflicting ideologies that are at play here. The colonists are continually represented as a homogeneous block that have the same reaction to everything, as is the British government.
There were 20 British colonies in North America at the time- why did 7 of them not join with the 13? What did people living there think about what was happening? What was the thinking in colonies with a very different origin, such as the Floridas and Quebec? What did the citizens of the UK think? What was the rational for those in the UK who agreed with the dissent and spoke up? What debate was there in Parliament? What did the Government and King think about the direct appeals to them? Approx 20% of colonists were loyalists, who were they and what was their rational? Others were neutral, why is that? Why were troops from Hesse there, and what did they think? The French are mentioned, but essentially entirely from the point of view of Franklin, what were their ideologies and motivations? To have a lecture on ‘African Americans’, and yet not even mention the Dunmore Proclamation, or indeed the point of view of a single black person and instead solely focus on the rebel leaders’ views on slavery is completely unacceptable! All the above are excluded, apart from lone fleeting mentions of Hutchinson. Whigs and Tories are mentioned as terms, with no explanation of what these fundamental terms mean!
It's not just the views of groups external to the rebels that are completely ignored. What about other issues apart from taxation/representation? No mention whatsoever about the drive for westward expansion, or migration as motivators except when he reads them out as part of the Declaration of Independence! There's no attempt to look at different factions amongst the rebels: every colonist is presented as a rebel with exactly the same motivations and reactions, with a brief mention of Dickinson as exception. I give some kudos for going beyond the strict end date, but again we have the same wilful rejection of any wider view. The American Revolution was a direct precursor to the French Revolution, how did the ideas transfer and adapt? Similarly for the next 30 years of the Latin American Wars of Independence. The British Empire significantly restructured how it ran colonies as a result of the Revolution, how did the ideals influence this and impact on the thoughts of those living in other colonies? In fairness the lectures on women and native Americans are good, and do at least attempt to look at other views. But it is far too little too late.
What disappoints is the praise heaped in reviews on the content, with the criticism reserved for the fact that he spends too much time reading out texts; compared to the gaping holes in terms of subject matter this hardly matters! Every nation has its foundational myths and the Founding Fathers are, in US society, idolized to such an extent that any view other than theirs is unthinkable, as Prof Mancall admits. I hadn't expected an impartial discussion of the interplaying ideologies, but just that some analysis of them would be present. I expect this level of blinkered disinterest in the rest of the world or in any counter-narratives at high school level, I’m just amazed that such lazy academic thinking exists at alleged undergraduate level as well. The logic that history is written by the winners, so why bother to examine any other point of view?
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