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Textbook Site for:
The Brief American Pageant , Sixth Edition
David M. Kennedy, Stanford University
Lizabeth Cohen, Harvard University
Thomas A. Bailey
Mel Piehl, Valparaiso University
Suggested Lecture Topics
Chapter 8
Developing The Chapter: Suggested Lecture Or Discussion Topics

  • Show how Common Sense and the Declaration of Independence changed the meaning of the fighting. Explain why even Patriots were at first reluctant to proclaim independence and how they eventually came to link their struggle for rights with the break from Britain.

    REFERENCE: Pauline Maier, American Scripture (1997).

  • Show how Washington and his generals essentially pursued a "defensive" strategy in the early phase of the war, while the British had to try for a quick victory. Explain why the Battle of Saratoga was so crucial politically as well as militarily.

    REFERENCE: Bernard Bailyn, Faces of Revolution: Personalities and Themes in the Struggle for American Independence (1990); Piers Mackesy, The War for America, 1775-1783 (1993).

  • Consider the political dimensions of the war, particularly the civil war between Patriots and Loyalists and the politics of the French alliance. The focus might be on the role of the American military effort in swinging the neutral population to the Patriot cause.

    REFERENCE: John Shy, A People Numerous and Armed: Reflections on the Military Struggle for American Independence (1976).

  • Consider how the Revolution has been viewed and celebrated in various periods of American history (e.g., on Independence Day).

    REFERENCE: Michael Kammen, A Season of Youth: the American Revolution and the Historical Imagination (1988).