The Road to Revolution: America, 1763-1776: A Four-Part Course with Dr. Richard Bell

The Road to Revolution: America, 1763-1776: A Four-Part Course with Dr. Richard Bell


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In 1763 colonists across British North America could not have been prouder to be members of the British Empire. Fighting shoulder to shoulder with redcoat soldiers, the colonists had trounced their mutual enemies in the French and Indian War. In towns and cities across America, colonists toasted King George, his ministers, and his military. In New York City, grateful colonists erected a statue to their great king, a testament to the belief that their future lay with him.

On July 9, 1776, a crowd of American soldiers and sailors tore down this same statue and melted down its precious lead into 42,088 musket balls to fire at the king’s army. The two sides were now at war—delegates in Philadelphia had finalized the Declaration of Independence just five days earlier—and that war would rage for the next seven years.

In this four-part course, historian Richard Bell explores the tumultuous thirteen years between 1763 and 1776. The day’s four talks will examine four of the extraordinary events that turned thirteen loyal British colonies into a united confederation willing to go to war to achieve independence.

Lecture 1: Stamps & Mobs

The Stamp Act was not supposed to be controversial. But when the British Parliament authorized this new tax on the commercial use of paper in 1765, it sparked unprecedented protests that forged common cause between merchants and consumers.

Lecture 2: Redcoats & Snowballs

In 1768, Parliament sent four redcoat regiments to Boston to keep the peace. Instead, these occupying troops and the residents of this struggling port city taunted and antagonized each other. After two years of escalating provocations, the powderkeg finally exploded when, on March 5, 1770, a fistfight and a stray snowball triggered a shoot-out that left five local men dead in the street.

Lecture 3: Tea & Tar

The imperial crisis sprang back to life in December 1773 when a team of working men acting on behalf of leading smugglers like John Hancock threw cases of East India Company tea into Boston’s muddy harbor. Later known as the Tea Party, this act of property destruction and terrorism poisoned relations between Crown and colonies as never before.

Lecture 4: Hearts & Minds

In the wake of the Tea Party, most colonists still hoped for a peaceful reconciliation with King and Parliament. But that was about to change. Focusing upon the propaganda efforts of a small group of patriots this concluding talk examines why ordinary people – not just in Boston but across twelve other mainland colonies – finally embraced armed resistance and the cause of independence.

Dr. Richard Bell is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Maryland. He holds a Ph.D. from Harvard University and is the recipient of the National Endowment of the Humanities Public Scholar award. He has won more than a dozen teaching awards and has held major research fellowships at Yale, Cambridge, and the Library of Congress. He has published a number of books; his latest is "Stolen: Five Free Boys Kidnapped into Slavery and their Astonishing Odyssey Home".

How does it work?

This is a four-part series held weekly and hosted on Zoom. Please check the schedule for the specific dates and times for each lecture.

Is there a reading list in advance?

Though the course is open to participants with no background in early American history, there are suggested readings for further investigation. You will receive this soon after course registration.

How long are the lectures?

Each lecture is 90 minutes long with time for Q&A.

How much is the course?

The course is $140.00 for 4 lectures.

Is a recording available?

In general, our courses are not recorded. However, if you need to miss a lecture please let us know in advance and we can arrange for a recording for that session on an individual basis.

This course is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 3 reviews
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b.R.
Crispus Attucks
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Great seminar!
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E.M.

Customer Reviews

Based on 3 reviews
67%
(2)
33%
(1)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
b
b.R.
Crispus Attucks
B
B.
Great seminar!
E
E.M.