April 28

Ep. 0059: The American Revolution Part II: 1775

Join CJ as he discusses:

  • Some thoughts on Great Man historical narratives
  • An overview of what was happening in terms of rising tensions in late-1774 and early-1775, much of which related to British attempts to limit colonists’ access to weapons and gunpowder
  • A fairly detailed account of the Battle of Lexington & Concord on April 19, 1775
  • The actions of the Continental Congress, including the appointment of George Washington as Commander of the new Continental Army, and its consequences for the war and the future of America
  • Ethan Allen & his Green Mountain Boys
  • Some other early battles
  • The situation as of the close of 1775

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Posted April 28, 2015 by profcj in category "American History", "Military History", "Podcasts


  1. By Pete on

    Hey CJ-
    I’m very much enjoying your mini-course on the American Revolution. As an Appleseed instructor, I have heard (and told) the stories of 19 April, 1775 scores of times, and they have yet to get ‘old.’
    Coincidentally, I am presently reading “As If an Enemy’s Country: The British Occupation of Boston and the Origins of Revolution (Pivotal Moments in American History)” by Richard Archer. It provides an awful lot of detail (as the sub-title would indicate) about the occupation of Boston, the impact of and the resistance to the Townsend acts, and the mindset of many colonists in the years leading up to the revolution.

    Keep up the great work!

    1. By profcj (Post author) on

      Hi Pete,

      Glad you’re liking my Am Rev coverage. I’ve not read As if in an Enemy’s Country, but I’ve heard of it. Sounds very interesting. I’ll have to check it out sometime.


  2. By profcj (Post author) on

    I would argue that secession could entail “a radical and pervasive change in society and the social structure,” but that it does not necessarily do so. If the people who are running the seceded polity are largely or entirely the same people who were the local elite prior to the secession, and if how the society is run & organized is largely the same as it was prior to the secession, with the only difference being the removal of a higher level of elites (ie, above the local elites) in some distant capital, then I would argue that a secession has taken place, but that a revolution really hasn’t. However, if the secession is accompanied by a significant change in who is running the seceded polity and how it is being run, then a revolution has accompanied the secession.

    Thus I would argue that the Irish secession from the British Empire in the early 20th century was both a secession and a revolution, because not only did Ireland (at least minus the northern counties) exit the UK and ultimately the British Empire, there was also a lot of significant change in who was running Ireland and how it was being run. The post-secession elites were almost entirely different from the pre-secession ones.

    By contrast, I’d argue that the Confederacy of the South was largely not revolutionary. They simply wanted to remove the Union government in DC from being above the Southern elite. But if you look at who the Confederate leaders (both political and military) were, they were overwhelmingly (with few exceptions) the same planter elites who had run those states (and before that, colonies) for many generations. In fact, most of the individuals who were high-ranking Confederate politicians had previously (in some cases for decades) been high-ranking US politicians prior to 1860; likewise, most of the individuals who were high-ranking Confederate military officers had been high-ranking US military officers prior to 1860.

    The ways in which the Confederacy deviated from how the Antebellum South was organized and governed were relatively minor. There were few significant changes in the Confederate Constitution compared to the US Constitution. Prohibiting protective tariffs was one of the few. And most of the changes the Confederate government wrote into its constitution were actually aimed at preserving the Antebellum South’s way of life and overall economic and social structure, including both slavery and the subordination of non-elite whites as well.

    Interestingly, both mainstream and libertarian-revisionist scholars on the Civil War largely agree that it was the Union that was more revolutionary, as it was the side pushing for more change, while the Confederacy was largely conservative or counterrevolutionary, and for the most part it seceded in order to avoid change.

    I would place the American Revolution somewhere in between – a secession that entailed more genuine revolution than in the case of the Confederate secession in the 1860s, but less than the Irish secession of the early 20th century.

  3. By jeff on

    My view of George Washington was completely changed by your podcasts. I did more research on him and I am thoroughly disgusted by him and our view of how great he was. Thanks Prof CJ to opening up my mind by having to delve into the fascinating world of history that seems to be withheld from the masses.

    1. By Carol on

      Jeff, you know what “the masses” really is? “Them asses”

  4. By NuevoSeguin on

    As a homeschooling parent, I should like to have a copy of the document you give to your students asking them among other things, ‘what it might take before they would take up arms against their own government?’ Many thanks for the consideration. Great series!

    1. By profcj (Post author) on

      It’s very short & simple:
      1. Yes or No: Would you ever seriously consider actively resisting your own government?
      2. If you answered “Yes” to #1, what kinds of things might cause you to seriously consider actively resisting your government?
      3. If you answered “No” to #1, please explain why.
      With a lot of empty space after #2 & after #3 for them to elaborate.

  5. By NuevoSeguin on

    I like how you are not specific about the particular form of ‘resistance’. This leaves the door open to the student to walk through allowing for discussion of creative ways to oppose the government. This may not necessarily mean that it must be done through violent revolution.


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