Revolutions in the Modern World

Dickson College, Semester 1, 2013

Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6 | Week 7 | Week 8 | Week 9 | Week 10 | Week 11 | Week 12 | Week 13 | Week 14 | Week 15 | Week 16 | Week 17 | Week 18 | Glossary | Timelines | American Revolution Bibliography | French Revolution Bibliography | Discussion |
Class FilesOral Presentation Task
Document Test Notice
In-Class Essay Notice
Research Essay Task
Unit Outline
BSSS Course Document
BSSS Course Framework
BSSS Policy and Procedures

Revolutions on ClioThe Boston Massacre | How Britain Lost Thirteen Colonies | The Second Continental Congress | The Cahiers de Doleances of 1789 | The Great War and the Russian Revolution | The Necessity of the New Economic Policy | Revolution and Power

Tom's Contact DetailsOffice - Room N39
Email -
Phone - 62056481
Greenwell Timetable 2013 Term 1.png

Important DatesThursday 21 Feb (Week 3): Meet the Teacher Evening
Tuesday 12 March (Week 6): In-Class Essay
Tuesday 2 April (Week 9): Draft Research Essay Due
Thursday 4 April (Week 9): Parent-Teacher Night
Friday 12 April (Week 10): Research Essay Due
Tuesday 28 May (Week 15): Document Test
Thursday 20 June (Week 18): Oral Presentations in Cross-line testing week

Guide to Grammar & Writing
DC Library
DC Library History Page
Online Etymology Dictionary
Forvo: the pronunciation guide
The complete guide to Harvard Referencing
Textual references
Reference generator - Harvard system
Inserting quotes into essays
How to write a bibliography
See the PPT on annotated bibliographies
A Guide to Citing Sources in Classics

Week 1 (Feb 4 - 8)

Monday: (Year 11 and new Year 12 students only)

Welcome to the unit! The more I can learn about you, the better I’ll be able to teach you. So please think carefully about these questions, discuss them with your group and write down your answers in the space provided below.

Tuesday: The 'Modern' World and the Nature of Revolution

Imagine a person from the ancient past – say, somebody who lived about the same time as Jesus of Nazareth - is brought back to life. Having shaken off the dust and gathered themselves, they ask you to show them one thing that sums up modern life. Write down what you’d show them and why.

There are of course many things you could choose but The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1948, strikingly conveys values that we hold dear but are in many ways unusual, historically speaking. Consider the following articles from the Declaration.

'Article 1. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.''Article 2. Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.''Article 4. No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.''Article 5. No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.''Article 7. All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law.''Article 9. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.''Article 12. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home…''Article 16. Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.'

The Declaration powerfully illustrates the way the modern world celebrates democracy, tolerance, equality and individuality (even if we don't always live up to our self-image or even agree what these values mean). This table sets out the contrast between modernity and the middle ages.

Middle Ages v Modernity.png

For more on modernity, consult Cowie, H.R. (1996), Modern Revolutions, their character and influence, pp. 2 - 8. And what do we mean by 'revolution'?

Reform v Revolution.png

The danger of revolution is that while there might be consensus about getting rid of the old regime it may be harder for a society to agree what to replace it with. And there's no guarantee that the new regime will be better. There is also considerable potential in the course of violent upheaval for extremist elements to gain influence and control. Mark Colvin is now the host of ABC Radio National's 'PM' program but back in 1980 he was ABC's correspondent in Tehran reporting on the Iranian Revolution. Based on his experience, he wrote an article in early 2011 about the revolution that is presently occurring in Egypt, Egypt: much too early to celebrate. Sadly, his note of caution seems all too prescient from the perspective of early 2013. For more on the nature and structure of revolutions, consult Brinton, C. (1952), The Anatomy of a Revolution.

Wednesday: The European Colonisation of the Americas

Our study of the American Revolution will examine events that occurred between 1763 and 1797. In 1763, the British Parliament imposed the Stamp Tax on the thirteen American colonies. This greatly antagonised the colonists and set off a chain of events that led to the Revolution. From 1775 to 1783, the War of Independence was fought. On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress. In 1783, the Treaty of Paris, in which Britain conceded defeat and recognised the independence of the colonies, was signed. In 1789 the Constitution was ratified and George Washington became the first president of the United States. He continued in office until 1797.

Before embarking on this chronology, we need to know about the world of North America in the mid-Eighteenth century. For starters, what were Europeans doing there at all? And how did English speaking people come to dominate North America?

A modern political map of the Americas, like this one below, is very familiar. It's easy to take for granted that most North Americans are white and speak English and that the predominant languages in South America are Spanish and Portuguese. But how did these European people end up in the Americas?


And then look at the map below. It represents the Spanish empire in the Americas circa 1800 (after the American Revolution). Much of the modern-day United States was Spanish.


This map of the territorial acquisitions of the United States makes it clear that the modern map we take for granted is the result of a long history of conflicts, contests, wars and deals.


The following are notes on Brogan 2001, pp. 1 - 23. People have inhabited America since around 30,000 years ago. The ice age meant sea levels were lower. People were able to travel by land across what is now the Bering Straits that divides Russia from Alaska. 11,000 years ago, people reached Patagonia, the southern most point of South America (Brogan 2001: 3).

Numerous great civilizations arose in the Americas. The Mayans independently invented writing in about 300 BC. The Sumerians and possibly the Egyptians and Chinese are the only other human societies to have done this. The Aztecs dominated Mesoamerica between the 14th and 16th centuries. The Inca Empire arose in modern day Peru and dominated a large part of South America.

The Vikings discovered what they called Vinland the Good shortly after the year 1000. It was more appealing than Iceland or Greenland, which they had settled in previous centuries. The Vikings were outnumbered by Native Americans but they lacked the technological advantages enjoyed by later Europeans. They were unable to establish a permanent settlement in America and ultimately abandoned Greenland as well. (Brogan 2001: 4)

Christopher Columbus was from Genoa in modern day Italy. He was employed by the Queen of Spain, Isabella. Columbus sought a westward sea route to Asia. Europeans were interested in the highly valuable spices of Asia. When Columbus discovered America in 1492, he thought it was Asia and he called the people he encountered ‘Indians’.

Amerigo Vespucci was another Italian navigator in Spanish employ. He was the first to establish that Columbus had not sailed to Asia but to a wholly new continent. This new continent thus acquired the name, America.

The Spanish and Portuguese immediately set about conquering South and Central America. Gold and silver were discovered in Mexico and Peru. The mines were worked by slaves imported from Africa (Brogan 2001: 11). Great profits could be made. There was also “the universally accepted necessity of preaching the Christian God's word throughout the world" (Brogan 2001: 5).

Why were the Spanish and Portuguese able to overpower the indigenous peoples of the Americas? Unlike the Vikings, they had guns, horses and more sophisticated sailing vessels. Above all, European diseases destroyed the native populations. Having never encountered diseases like smallpox, measles, malaria and yellow fever, they had not developed any kind of immunity. Up to 90 per cent of the populations of South and Central America was wiped out by European disease. (Brogan 2001: 5). By the middle of the 16th Century Europeans dominated South and Central America and were slowly advancing northwards. While Spain and Portugal possessed immense American territories, nations like England profited from piracy as their enemies ferried their riches across the Atlantic. (Brogan 2001: 6/7)

The English discovered the cod-fisheries of Newfoundland and laid claim to them as early as 1497 (Brogan 2001: 6). This led to trade with Native Americans. Beaver fur was a much sought-after commodity. The Indians were willing to barter it in exchange for European goods. English pirates like Sir Frances Drake and Sir Walter Ralegh raided Spanish ships ferrying treasures across the Atlantic.

In1585 and again in 1587 the English tried to establish a colony on Roanoke Island off the coast of modern-day North Carolina. (Brogan 2001: 7). Both attempts failed. They named North America ‘Virginia’ in honour of the ‘virgin queen’, Elizabeth.


In 1607, the Virginia Company of London established a settlement called Jamestown on the James River, both named after the King of the day, James I. 300 of the settlers returned to England in the first 9 years of settlement. (Brogan 2001: 15) 1609 was known as the starving time as the new settlers struggled to scrape by. In 1610, Jamestown was briefly abandoned before the new Governor, Lord De La Warr, arrived with fresh supplies.

When Jamestown was founded, it was believed the settlement could be made profitable in the same way South America was. The colonists – or their financial backers - hoped to find gold mines and a trading route to Asia (Brogan 2001: 23). John Smith was a central figure in the remarkable survival of Jamestown. (Brogan 2011: 21) He recognised that the colony could only be made profitable by farming it and to farm it, it had to be populated.

"Smith, at least, rapidly learned the lessons of tillage, and saw through some of the delusive visions that were encouraging the Virginia voyage in England. The Virginia Company of London was little quicker to learn than the generality of Englishmen, and Smith complained bitterly about the unrealistic orders it sent him, commanding him to find gold-mines, and the passage to the South Sea, and Ralegh's lost colonists, and not to fight the Indians, and to crown Powhatan King and vassal of James I." (Brogan 2001: 23)

The first crop that was to take off in Virginia was tobacco. Smith is also famous for a dalliance he had with the Indian princess, Pocahontas.

"Captain Smith and Pocahontas
Had a very mad affair
When her daddy tried to kill him
She said, 'Daddy oh don't you dare
He gives me fever with his kisses
Fever when he holds me tight
Fever, I'm his missus
And daddy won't you treat him right?''

'Fever' Peggy Lee

Further Reading: The Shocking Savagery of America’s Early History, By Ron Rosenbaum, Smithsonian, March 2013

Friday: Eugene Weber: The Western Tradition 37, The American Revolution

Eugene Weber was a professor at the University of California. He delivered a series of lectures charting the history of the West, 'The Western Tradition'. To continue developing your understanding of the history of North America prior to 1763, watch Weber's 37th lecture in the series, 'The American Revolution'. Note the following important points made by Weber.

European discovery of America: by Christopher Columbus in 1492. Columbus was from the Italian city of Genoa but was in the pay of the Spanish queen, Isabella I of Castile. He encountered America when searching for a quicker way of reaching Asia than going overland through the Middle East.

America in European consciousness: Awareness of the American continent fired the European imagination. A myth of a continent populated by ‘noble savages’, a place closer to nature, and the dream of creating a ‘new world’ in this faraway place arose. Pursuit of wealth drove initial colonisation of the Americas: South and Central America were colonised by the Spanish and Portuguese considerably before the less attractive lands in North America were settled by Europeans.

First attempts at European settlement of North America: The French first sailed up the St Lawrence (in what was to become Canada) in the 1530s. In the 1580s, the English established a colony in Newfoundland (an island off the North American mainland) and tried to settle Virginia (named after ‘the virgin queen’, Elizabeth I).

Permanent European settlement of North America: In the early 1600s the French settled Quebec and Montreal and the England resettled Virginia. Later that century, the Dutch established New Amsterdam (New York), the Swedes establish New Sweden (today, Delaware). The English established another colony in 1663 - Carolina (named after King Charles II – the Latin for Charles is Carolus). The constitution of Carolina was written by our old friend, John Locke. In the 1600s and 1700s the European colonies in America attracted immigrants such as the Welsh, Scottish, Spanish, German and Austrians.

Puritan migration to America: Apart from an economic motivation, some Europeans settled America to get away from religious persecution at home. Most famously, the Pilgrims who travelled on The Mayflower established New Plymouth in 1620. These people felt that the hold of the Church of England on their country left them no room to practice their brand of Protestant Christianity.

The Seven Years War: A war between the two Eighteenth Century world powers, Britain and France, fought between 1756 and 1763. The war was fought in Europe as well as America. The American colonists called the war The French and Indian War. They fought with the British not just because it was in their interests to fight the French and their Native American allies but because, to a very significant extent they still saw themselves as British. Britain won the war and the French ceded Canada to the British.

Three causes of disagreement between the colonists and the British Government: In the wake of The Seven Years War the British imposed taxes, partly to help pay for a war that they reasonably regarded as having advanced the colonist’s interests. The British imposed the Proclamation Line, which was intended to be the boundary of European settlement. The British wanted to minimise the trouble that would come from taking more Native American land. Thirdly, the British, as before, controlled all trade between North America and the rest of the world. These three policies caused much resentment amongst the American colonists and thus helped caused war to break out between the Americans and the British.

A ‘conservative’ revolution?: The American Revolution, according to Weber, was a conservative revolution. The English were attempting to depart from tradition when they sought to tighten control over the colonies in the wake of the Seven Years War. The colonists were used, by the mid-eighteenth century, to running their own affairs. Revolutions, Weber argues, don’t have to be caused by revolutionary ideas (like freedom and equality) but can be fought to resist change – to conserve things as they are.

Weber argues that America was culturally dependent on Britain long after the American Revolution but that the American colonies were very politically independent right from the beginning (the 1600s). It was, according to Weber, the British attempt to reign in American political independence that lead to the Revolution.

The Enlightenment: was a cultural and intellectual trend in the 1700s in which reason (not God) was advocated as the primary source for legitimacy and authority. At its core was a critical questioning of traditional institutions, customs, and morals, and a strong belief in rationality and science. John Locke’s argument that political authority derives not from God but from a ‘social contract’ is an example of Enlightenment thought.
In their arguments with the British, the Americans appealed to their ‘natural rights’ (similar to human rights). Thomas Jefferson’s assertion in the Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal” (and therefore kings don’t rule by ‘divine right’) is another example of how Enlightenment thought influenced the American Revolutionaries.

Additionally, Weber points out how strains of Enlightenment thought like economic liberalism and humanitarianism undermined the support of the British people for the war against the Americans. Economic liberalism supports trade without restrictions and was thus opposed to the British system of mercantilism whereby they controlled all trade with North America. Humanitarians supported more fair and humane social institutions.

French involvement: The French were delighted to pay the English back for the loss of Canada in 1763. They provided military and naval support to the Revolutionaries that was decisive. Weber points out that The Treaty of Paris was signed not in the American city of Boston but at the palace of the French king in Versaille. He takes this as evidence of how what we think of as the American War of Independence was largely a matter of European power politics (a contest between Britain and France).

Homework: For Tuesday, identify the three most important things you have learnt this week in Modern History. Write one sentence on each.

Week 2 (Feb 11 - 15)

Tuesday: Proclamation Act; Stamp Act

1754 Albany Congress: Benjamin Franklin called for the British colonies to unite expecting a war with France in North America.
1756–1763 Seven Years’ War (French And Indian War): The British defeated the French and took Canada. France was no longer a threat to the English colonies in North America.
1763 Proclamation Act: The British prohibited [forbade] the colonists from settling west of the Appalachian Mountains.
1765 Stamp Act: Parliament passed a tax on colonial newspapers, pamphlets, books, legal documents, and even dice and playing cards.
1765 Stamp Act Congress: A special meeting was called to protest the British tax. A group known as the Sons of Liberty was formed to resist [oppose] British policy.
1766 Repeal of the Stamp Act: Parliament repealed [abolished] the Stamp Act.
1766 The Declaratory Act: On the same day that Parliament removed the Stamp Act it passed a Declaratory Act stating that it had power to pass any laws governing the American colonies.

Read Cowie (1996, pp. 20 - 23 and 25/26. Answer the following questions.

1. What was the Proclamation Act? Why did it anger the American colonists?

2. Create a table with two columns. In the left column, note down all points concerning the British perspective on the Stamp tax (why they imposed it, how they viewed it). In the right column, list all points relating to the American perspective.

British Perspective
American Perspective
- Colonists should share in repaying the war debts; defending the colonies and removing the French (and Indian) threat has benefitted them.
- As well as the war debt, an ongoing military presence in the colonies is needed to deter any attacks. This is expensive and needs to be funded.
- Customs duties are not reaping enough revenue, particularly because the colonists engage in smuggling.
- The English have been paying a stamp tax for seventy years.
- On some estimates, the British tax burden is fifty times higher than the American one.
- ‘No taxation without Representation’. American colonists have the same rights as any other freeborn Englishmen, including this one.
- There isn't a need for a large contingent of British troops in North America now the French have been defeated. British soldiers in colonies to control Americans as much as anything else
- Tax bad in itself, taxation on free communication
- Would have accepted taxation from local assemblies
- The Colonists loyally fought alongside the British in the French and Indian War. Americans often bore the brunt of Indian attacks along the frontier.

3. Which perspective do you think is most fair and reasonable. Discuss with the person next to you and come to a consensus. Write down your view and your reasoning, i.e.. We support x because of y.

Wednesday: No Taxation Without Representation?

Last lesson, we started evaluating the respective positions of the British and Americans regarding the stamp tax. By examining how the protagonists put their case, in their own words, we can deepen our understanding of each side of the argument. The resolutions of the Stamp Act Congress (at which 9 of the 13 colonies were represented) articulates the American position clearly. In the second document, the American position is rebutted by a British parliamentarian of the time, Soame Jennyns. As you read each document, make notes, putting the argument in your own words and commenting on any interesting points that arise.

Notes on the Resolution of the Stamp Act Congress:
- The Stamp Act Congress expresses its loyalty to not only the King but the British Parliament as well.
- It is declared that American colonists owe the same allegiance to the King and parliament as Englishmen themselves. (Article I)
- The Congress insists that the American colonists have the same rights as 'natural born subjects within the kingdom of Great-Britain'. (Article II) The fact that Congress takes the colonists' rights as Englishmen as the basis for their argument underscores the extent to which the idea of a separate, independent nation is still unthinkable.
- As Englishmen, the colonists can only be legitimately taxed by their own elected representatives. (Article III)
- American colonists are not represented in the British government. (Article IV)
- The colonists can only be taxed by someone they have elected. Therefore, they can only be taxed by their local assemblies and not by the British parliament. Note the apparent inconsistency between this claim and the declaration of subordination to the British parliament in Article I. However, Article I refers to Parliament making laws with respect to the British Empire but not the internal affairs of the colonies, particularly taxation.
- As Americans export raw materials to Britain and import its manufactured goods, it plays an essential part in the British economy generally and, particularly, increases taxation revenues. (Article X)
- By taxing the colonists, Britain will reduce colonial demand for its manufactured goods (thereby harming itself). (Article XI)
- England is referred to as the 'mother country' again emphasising the colonists affinity with Britain and affection for it, despite the current argument.

The Resolutions of the Stamp Act Congress, October 19, 1765

The members of this Congress, sincerely devoted, with the warmest sentiments of affection and duty to His Majesty's Person and Government, inviolably attached to the present happy establishment of the Protestant succession, and with minds deeply impressed by a sense of the present and impending misfortunes of the British colonies on this continent; having considered as maturely as time will permit the circumstances of the said colonies, esteem it our indispensable duty to make the following declarations of our humble opinion, respecting the most essential rights and liberties Of the colonists, and of the grievances under which they labour, by reason of several late Acts of Parliament.

I. That His Majesty's subjects in these colonies, owe the same allegiance to the Crown of Great-Britain, that is owing from his subjects born within the realm, and all due subordination to that august body the Parliament of Great Britain.

II. That His Majesty's liege subjects in these colonies, are entitled to all the inherent rights and liberties of his natural born subjects within the kingdom of Great-Britain.

III. That it is inseparably essential to the freedom of a people, and the undoubted right of Englishmen, that no taxes be imposed on them, but with their own consent, given personally, or by their representatives.

IV. That the people of these colonies are not, and from their local circumstances cannot be, represented in the House of Commons in Great-Britain.

V. That the only representatives of the people of these colonies, are persons chosen therein by themselves, and that no taxes ever have been, or can be constitutionally imposed on them, but by their respective legislatures.

X. That as the profits of the trade of these colonies ultimately center in Great-Britain, to pay for the manufactures which they are obliged to take from thence, they eventually contribute very largely to all supplies granted there to the Crown.

XI. That the restrictions imposed by several late Acts of Parliament, on the trade of these colonies, will render them unable to purchase the manufactures of Great-Britain.

XII. That the increase, prosperity, and happiness of these colonies, depend on the full and free enjoyment of their rights and liberties, and an intercourse with Great-Britain mutually affectionate and advantageous.

XIII. That it is the right of the British subjects in these colonies, to petition the King, Or either House of Parliament.

Lastly, That it is the indispensable duty of these colonies, to the best of sovereigns, to the mother country, and to themselves, to endeavour by a loyal and dutiful address to his Majesty, and humble applications to both Houses of Parliament, to procure the repeal of the Act for granting and applying certain stamp duties, of all clauses of any other Acts of Parliament, whereby the jurisdiction of the Admiralty is extended as aforesaid, and of the other late Acts for the restriction of American commerce.

Notes on Soame Jenyns:
- Jenyns engages in a lot of contemptuous rhetoric condemning arguments 'with insolence equal to their absurdity' and people 'who have ears but no understanding'.
- Jenyns recognises that the central argument advanced by the colonists is 'no taxation without representation'. He then suggests that once this argument has been dealt with the colonists' whole case will fall apart.
- He suggests there are three things that the colonists can mean. Firstly, that nobody can be taxed without their direct, personal consent. But clearly that is not what occurs at all in England.
- Secondly, that nobody can be taxed unless the particular representative he has elected consented to (voted for) the tax. Jenyn's response is that some members of parliament may and often do vote against a new tax but if the tax is supported by a majority all Englishmen, including the dissenter's constituents, have to pay it.
- Thirdly, Jenyn suggests that the colonists could mean that nobody should be taxed without the consent of a majority of those elected by the electorate. However, he rejects even this position. He points out that 'for every Englishman is taxed, and not one in twenty represented'. This is a really interesting point. In England of 1765, not even 5% of men had the vote. So, democracy meant something very, very different to the people we're studying than to us. The other interesting point here is that Jenyn seems to be interpreting the idea of 'consent of the governed' so narrowly as to make it meaningless. The American Revolution was to be the triumph of a more meaningful version of this principle.

Soame Jenyns, "The Objections to the Taxation of our American Colonies by the Legislature of Great Britain, briefly consider'd.", 1765

Introduction: Soame Jenyns, a minor poet and a member of Parliament from 1741 to 1780, was a member of the Board of Trade and Plantations when he wrote this pamphlet, the full title of which was "The Objections to the Taxation of our American Colonies by the Legislature of Great Britain, briefly consider'd." In his excerpt he argues the case for Parliament's right to tax the colonies, and states briefly the theory of virtual representation.

The right of the Legislature of Great-Britain to impose taxes on her American Colonies, and the expediency of exerting that right in the present conjuncture, are propositions so indisputably clear, that I should never have thought it necessary to have undertaken their defence, had not many arguments been lately flung out, both in papers and conversation, which with insolence equal to their absurdity deny them both. As these are usually mixt up with several patriotic and favorite words such as Liberty, Property, Englishmen, etc., which are apt to make strong impressions on that more numerous part of mankind, who have ears but no understanding, it will not, I think, be improper to give them some answers: to this, therefore, I shall singly confine myself, and do it in as few words as possible, being sensible that the fewest will give least trouble to myself and probably most information to my reader.

The great capital argument, which I find on this subject, and which, like an Elephant at the head of a Nobob's army, being once overthrown, must put the whole into confusion, is this; that no Englishman is, or can be taxed, but by his own consent…

First then, that no Englishman is or can be taxed but by his own consent as an individual: this is so far from being true, that it is the very reverse of truth; for no man that I know of is taxed by his own consent; and an Englishman, I believe, is as little likely to be so taxed, as any man in the world.

Secondly, that no Englishman is or can be taxed but by the consent of those persons whom he has chosen to represent him; for the truth of this I shall appeal only to the candid representatives of those unfortunate counties which produce cyder, and shall willingly acquiesce under their determination.

Lastly, that no Englishman is, or can be taxed, without the consent of the majority of those, who are elected by himself, and others of his fellow-subjects, to represent them. This is certainly as false as the other two; for every Englishman is taxed, and not one in twenty represented: copyholders, leaseholders, and all men possessed of personal property only, chuse no representatives; Manchester, Birmingham, and many more of our richest and most flourishing trading towns send no members to parliament, consequently cannot consent by their representatives, because they choose none to represent them; yet are they not Englishmen? or are they not taxed?

William Pitt, who was a former British Prime Minister but still a parliamentarian in 1765, argued against the Stamp tax. Read more here: William Pitt's speech on the Stamp Act, January 14, 1766

Friday: Revision - History of the American Revolution Up To 1765

There are four key points to take away from our examination of the resolutions of the Stamp Act Congress and Soame Jenyns' rebuttal of the American position.
1. The American Revolution is an argument about democracy. This is a central reason why it is so important. The colonists insisted on 'no taxation without representation' because this is a fundamental aspect of what is meant by consent of the governed. In their eyes, this huge principle was at stake. (There was, of course, plenty of naked self-interest involved as well).
2. Democracy didn't mean the same thing in the British Empire of the 18th century as it does to us. According to Cowie, less than 5% of men (and no women) had the vote because to vote you had to own a certain amount of property. So note that democracy can mean different things to different people at different times. Consider also that the American Revolution can be seen as a step in changing the meaning of democracy to something more like we would recognise.
3. In 1765, Americans were and felt themselves to be British subjects. An independent, united nation separate to Britain existed only in the unforeseeable future.
4. The Stamp Act Congress is a pivotal moment in the transition towards an independent and united nation precisely because the colonies (well, nine of them) assemble and act in unified opposition to Britain.

Watch Salman Khan, 'US History Overview 1: Jamestown to the Civil War' until 8.48. This provides a useful overview of what we have learnt about the history of the American Revolution until 1765 and a sketch of what comes next.

Attempt the first fourteen questions of this quiz to test your understanding of the material covered thus far.

Homework: For Tuesday, identify the three most important things you have learnt this week in Modern History. Write one sentence on each.

Week 3 (Feb 18 - 22)

Tuesday: Boston Massacre, March 5, 1770

June 29, 1767: The Townshend Revenue Act. "Taxes on glass, paint, oil, lead, paper, and tea were applied with the design of raising £40,000 a year for the administration of the colonies."

The Boston House of Representatives responded to the Townshend taxes with the Boston Circular Letter (authored by Samuel Adams) which restated American opposition to taxes imposed by the British Parliament and calling for boycotts of British goods. When Boston refused to retract the circular letter, the Governor, under instructions from Secretary of State, Lord Hillsborough, dissolved the local assembly. This, in turn, led to rioting.

Summer 1768: British customs officials impounded a sloop (sailboat) belonging to John Hancock, a prominent Bostonian and also a smuggler. The officials were mobbed by rioting Bostonians and had to retreat to British warship.

October 1, 1768: In response, four regiments of British soldiers occupied Boston.

1768-69: The colonists established non-importation agreements powerfully undermining British trade. "Purchases of British goods in the American colonies fell by 33 per cent... By 1769 the colonists of New York had cut their imports to only 14% of what they had been in 1764." (Cowie 1996: 21)

March 5, 1770: In the context of ongoing disagreement about the taxation issue and the British military presence in Boston, an incident that eventually came to be known as the Boston Massacre occurred.

Below is Paul Revere's famous engraving of the Boston Massacre. Paul Revere was a silversmith and a member of the Sons of Liberty, a group of anti-British militants. He is believed to have based his engraving on drawings by a Henry Pelham, another engraver. Within three weeks of the massacre, copies of Revere's engraving were on sale and beginning to circulate around the colonies. Examine the image closely. Consider what it suggests about the composition and motives of the crowd, how the incident started and the approach of the British soldiers.


Read p. 152 of Hugh Brogan's The Penguin History of the USA. Contrast the impression given by Revere's engraving with Brogan's claim (2001: 152) that British soldiers were acting in self-defence against a rioting mob.

In order to adjudicate between the conflicting interpretations provided by Revere and Brogan, we can examine the primary sources below. Of particular interest are the witness testimonies given during the subsequent trial (all the soldiers were acquitted of murder, two were convicted of manslaughter). Use the primary sources to answer the following questions to your own satisfaction.

Q1. What was the crowd doing there?
Q2. Who was in the crowd?
Q3. Why did the British open fire?
Q4. Who did the British shoot at?
Q5. Were the British soldiers ordered to fire on the crowd?

Post your answers in the discussion section below. Your answers should:
- state your view about whether Revere, Brogan or neither is right in regard to the question
- quote from the primary sources
- explain why you think they should be believed, considering factors like the author's bias and ability to know.
- explain how the evidence is relevant to your conclusion about the question
- refer to more than one source where appropriate

Captain Preston's account of the Boston Massacre March 5 1770
Anonymous Account of the Boston Massacre
The Boston Massacre, Boston Gazette and Country Journal, March 12, 1770.
Deposition of Theodore Bliss
Deposition of Benjamin Burdick
Deposition of Robert Goddard
Other Boston Massacre Trial Depositions

While you should NOT use it as evidence, theWikipedia entry may be helpful in understanding and interpreting the sources.

Wednesday: The Boston Massacre - What Really Happened?

1. Complete your first answer. Ensure you make clear why you think we can rely on the source you’ve used – why we can trust them (or how much we can). Consider any feedback from me. Ensure spelling and punctuation is correct.

2. Post your answer in reply to my question in the discussion area on our class page. Use your Clio username and password to log in. Ask me if you don’t have it.

3. Keep an eye on the discussion area. Are any other posts supporting or contradicting a view you have advanced? If the latter, consider carefully the evidence that has been presented and respond accordingly. Do you agree/disagree? Why/not?

4. Defend your view but make sure you always: supply evidence by quoting it; explain what that evidence tells us; explain why you think that evidence can be trusted; and ensure spelling and punctuation is correct.

5. Try to compose answers to as many of the questions as possible. Also try to take in and use as much of the primary source evidence as possible.

Thursday 21 February: 5.30pm – Year 12 Certificate Information, Dickson College Hall;
6.00pm – Meet the Teachers, Dickson College Canteen

Friday: The Role of Propaganda

Review the comments in the discussion area on the five questions posed on Tuesday. Reflect on your view on each question. Examine Paul Revere's engraving again. If propaganda is a one-sided representation aimed at influencing opinion, should we call Revere's engraving 'propganda'? Why or why not?

As a way of reviewing the narrative of the unit thus far, watch 'America the story of Us - Rebels and Revolution Part 1' from 16 to 28 minutes.

Homework: For Tuesday, identify the three most important things you have learnt this week in Modern History. Write one sentence on each.

Week 4 (Feb 25 - Mar 1)

Tuesday: The Boston Tea Party

As an introduction to the Boston Tea Party, watch this lecture, 'Being a Revolutionary', by Professor Joanne Freeman at Yale University.

Wednesday: Eyewitness Account of the Tea Party

George Hewes was a participant in the events now known as the Boston Tea Party. Read his account (Boston Tea Party Historical Society) of what happened and answer the following questions.

1. What threat by the British precipitated the actions of the radical Bostonians?

2. What, if anything, seems notable about the conduct of the ‘citizens of the county of Suffolk’?

3. Hewes notes that the captain of the ship “... requested me to do no danger to the ship or rigging”. What does Hewes' acknowledgment of this request - and apparent acceptance of it - suggest about him and his comrades and how they saw themselves?

4. “We were surrounded by British armed ships, but no attempt was made to resist us.” Why do you think the British didn’t intervene?

5. Why, do you imagine, the Tea Partiers disallowed theft of the tea?

Friday: Conflicting British Perspectives

The British reacted with anger to the Tea Party and implemented what became known in the Colonies as the Intolerable Acts. But not all members of the British political class supported this confrontational policy. The father of modern conservatism, Edmund Burke, was distinctly sympathetic to the American perspective.

"By this measure we let loose that dangerous spirit of disquisition, not in the coolness of philosophic inquiry, but inflamed with all the passions of a haughty, resentful people, who thought themselves deeply injured, and that they were contending for everything that was valuable in the world… They took no one step to divert the dangerous spirit which began even then to appear in the colonies, to compromise with it, to molify it, or to subdue it." (Edmund Burke, 1769, Pamphlet on the Townshend Taxes)

“If I thought I could appease that factious and disobedient temper which prevails in the colonies, I should be glad to do it. And yet to these people, who ought to be our subjects, we are to make concessions because they have the hardihood to set us at defiance. Upon my word, if we are to run after America in search of reconciliation in this way, I do not know a single act of Parliament that will remain... [I want to be] “… thought what I really am to the best of my conviction: a friend to trade; a friend to America.” (Lord North, speaking on the partial repeal of the Townshend Taxes, 1770, quoted in Freeman, ‘Being a Revolutionary’ 2011)

“I would rather all the Hamilcars and Hannibals that Boston ever bred; all the Hancocks. And all the sad-Cocks, and sad dogs of Massachusetts Bay; all the heroes of tar and feathers, and the champions, maimers of unpatriotic horses, mares and mules, were led up to the altar, on the Liberty Tree, there to be exalted and rewarded according to their merit or demerit [he meant hanging] than that Britain should disgrace herself by receding from her just authority.” (Lord North, speaking in reaction to the Boston Tea Party of 1773, quoted in Brogan 1999: 161)

"Again, and again, revert to your old principles – seek peace and ensure it – leave America, if she has taxable matter in her, to tax herself. I am not here going into the distinctions of rights, nor attempting to mark their boundaries. I do not enter into these metaphysical distinctions; I hate the very sound of them. Leave the Americans as they anciently stood, and these distinctions, born of our unhappy context, will die along with it… The question with me is, not whether you have a right to render your people miserable, but whether it is not your interest to make them happy. It is not what a lawyer tells me I may do, but what humanity, reason, and justice tell me I ought to do. Is a politic act the worse for being a generous one? Is no concession proper but that which is made from your want of right to keep what you grant?" (Edmund Burke, Speech on Taxation of the Colonies, 1774)

Read more about Edmund Burke and the American Revolution here.

Homework: Why don't Americans drink tea? Has it got anything to do with the Tea Party or the Revolution more generally? Post your answer in the discussion area.

Week 5 (Mar 4 - Mar 8)

Tuesday: Moderation day - no classes
Wednesday: The Intolerable Acts (1774) to the Battles of Lexington and Concord (April, 1775)

View this presentation on the major events leading to the Revolution, from the Tea Party to the first battle of the War of Independence in April 1775.

Reaction to the Tea Party

Frederick North, Lord North was British Prime Minister from 1770 to 1782 .

“I would rather all the Hamilcars and Hannibals that Boston ever bred; all the Hancocks. And all the sad-Cocks, and sad dogs of Massachusetts Bay; all the heroes of tar and feathers, and the champions, maimers of unpatriotic horses, mares and mules, were led up to the altar, on the Liberty Tree, there to be exalted and rewarded according to their merit or demerit [he meant hanging] than that Britain should disgrace herself by receding from her just authority.” (Lord North, Speaking in Reaction to the Tea Party of 1773, Quoted in Brogan 1999: 161)

“The Americans have tarred and feathered your subjects, plundered your merchants, burnt your ships, denied all obedience to your laws and authority; yet so clement and so long forbearing has our conduct been that it is incumbent on us now to take a different course. Whatever may be the consequences, we must risk something; if we do not, all is over.”
(Lord North defending the Intolerable Acts in the House of Commons, On April 22, 1774)

The Intolerable Acts

In response to the Boston Tea Party, the British Government responded with a series of measures that came to be known as the Coercive Acts or Intolerable Acts. The Boston Port Act (March 31, 1774) closed the Port of Boston until such time as the East India Company was compensated for the destroyed tea. The Massachusetts Government Act (May 20, 1774) took away self-government from the colonists and placed Massachusetts under the direct control of Britain. Officials were appointed by the King. Only one townhall meeting a year was allowed. To prevent local courts looking too kindly on the transgressions of the colonists, the Administration of Justice Act (May 20, 1774) meant trials could be moved to Britain. The Quartering Act (June 2, 1774) granted the Governor rather than colonial assemblies the power of finding accommodation for British soldiers, thus giving earlier attempts to impose obligations on the colonists more teeth.

Edmund Burke’s Opposing Views

“Again, and again, revert to your old principles – seek peace and ensure it – leave America, if she has taxable matter in her, to tax herself. I am not here going into the distinctions of rights, nor attempting to mark their boundaries. I do not enter into these metaphysical distinctions; I hate the very sound of them. Leave the Americans as they anciently stood, and these distinctions, born of our unhappy context, will die along with it… The question with me is, not whether you have a right to render your people miserable, but whether it is not your interest to make them happy. It is not what a lawyer tells me I may do, but what humanity, reason, and justice tell me I ought to do. Is a politic act the worse for being a generous one? Is no concession proper but that which is made from your want of right to keep what you grant?” (Edmund Burke, Speech on Taxation of the Colonies, 1774)

Committees of Correspondence

A Boston Committee of Correspondence had been established in late 1772 by the constantly active radical, Samuel Adams. The committee was designed to keep radicals connected with each other to sustain their morale and help coordinate action. In Adams’ words, its purpose was to protect “the rights of the colonists and of this province in particular, as men and Christians and as subjects and to communicate and publish the same to the several towns and to the world, as the sense of this town, with the infringements and violations thereof that have been, or from time to time may be made.” (Quoted in Freeman, ‘Being a Revolutionary’ 2011)

The Boston Committee of Correspondence was replicated across Massachusetts and the thirteen colonies, greatly strengthening the anti-British cause. The role of the Committees can be witnessed in its communications regarding the Intolerable Acts

Circular Letter of the Boston Committee of Correspondence; May 13, 1774

“We have just received the copy of an Act of the British Parliament passed in the present session whereby the town of Boston is treated in a manner the most ignominious, cruel, and unjust… They have ordered our port to be entirely shut up, leaving us barely so much of the means of subsistence as to keep us from perishing with cold and hunger; and it is said that [a] fleet of British ships of war is to block up our harbour until we shall make restitution to the East India Company for the loss of their tea, which was destroyed therein the winter past, obedience is paid to the laws and authority of Great Britain, and the revenue is duly collected. This Act fills the inhabitants with indignation. The more thinking part of those who have hitherto been in favour of the measures of the British government look upon it as not to have been expected even from a barbarous state.”

The First Continental Congress, September 5, 1774

- September 5, 1774
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Response to the Intolerable Acts
- Attended by twelve of the thirteen colonies
- The exception was Georgia which wanted British help against Indians
- Delegates to the Continental Congress were appointed by each colonial legislature
- Resolved to escalate economic boycotts: absolute ban on importation of British goods.
- Threat to cease exporting goods to Britain if the Intolerable Acts had not been repealed by September 1775, a year hence.
- Also, commissioned the drafting of a petition to King George setting out their complaints. This became known as the Olive Branch Petition.
- Agreed to convene a Second Continental Congress in May, 1775

Declaration and Resolves of the First Continental Congress, October 14, 1774

Resolved, That the following acts of parliament are infringements and violations of the rights of the colonists; and that the repeal of them is essentially necessary, in order to restore harmony between Great Britain and the American colonies, viz.
… the three acts passed in the last session of parliament, for stopping the port and blocking up the harbour of Boston, for altering the charter and government of Massachusetts-Bay, and that which is entitled, "An act for the better administration of justice, etc."
Also the act passed in the same session, for the better providing suitable quarters for officers and soldiers in his majesty's service, in North-America.
Also, that the keeping a standing army in several of these colonies, in time of peace, without the consent of the legislature of that colony, in which such army is kept, is against law.
To these grievous acts and measures, Americans cannot submit, but in hopes their fellow subjects in Great Britain will, on a revision of them, restore us to that state, in which both countries found happiness and prosperity, we have for the present, only resolved to pursue the following peaceable measures: 1. To enter into a non-importation, non-consumption, and non-exportation agreement or association. 2. To prepare an address to the people of Great-Britain, and a memorial to the inhabitants of British America: and 3. To prepare a loyal address to his majesty, agreeable to resolutions already entered into.

Instructions to petition the King

Resolved unanimously, That a loyal address to his Majesty be prepared, dutifully requesting the royal attention to the grievances that alarm and distress his Majesty's faithful subjects in North-America, and entreating his Majesty's gracious interposition for the removal of such grievances, thereby to restore between Great-Britain and the colonies that harmony so necessary to the happiness of the British empire, and so ardently desired by all America. (First Continental Congress, October 1, 1774)
Resolved, That the Committee appointed to prepare an Address to his Majesty, be instructed to assure his Majesty, that in case the colonies shall be restored to the state they were in, at the close of the late war, by abolishing the system of laws and regulations-for raising a revenue in America-for extending the powers of Courts of Admiralty-for the trial of persons beyond sea for crimes commited in America-for affecting the colony of the Massachusetts-Bay and for altering the government and extending the limits of Canada, the jealousies which have been occasioned by such acts and regulations of Parliament, will be removed and commerce again restored. (First Continental Congress, October 5, 1774)

[Excerpts from] the Petition to the King, October 26, 1774

“To a Sovereign, who glories in the name of Briton, the bare recital of these Acts must, we presume, justify the loyal subjects, who fly to the foot of his Throne, and implore his clemency for protection against them... that overwhelm your Majesty's dutiful Colonists with affliction... But, thanks be to his adorable goodness, we were born the heirs of freedom, and ever enjoyed our right under the auspices of your Royal ancestors, whose family was seated on the British Throne to rescue and secure a pious and gallant Nation from the Popery and despotism of a superstitious and inexorable tyrant. Your Majesty, we are confident, justly rejoices that your title to the Crown is thus founded on the title of your people to liberty; and, therefore, we doubt not but your royal wisdom must approve the sensibility that teaches your subjects anxiously to guard the blessing they received from Divine Providence, and thereby to prove the performance of that compact which elevated the illustrious House of Brunswick to the imperial dignity it now possesses.”

Failed Attempt By the British Parliament to Win Back the Americans

- February 1, 1775, Chatham tabled proposals to settle the conflict
- Repeal of all acts that had antagonised the colonists: the Sugar Act
- Continental Congress to become an American Parliament
- Vote lost in the House of Lords 61 - 32

A shadow government develops in reaction to the British occupation of Boston

“Gage had long been virtually besieged in Boston, while the countryside hummed with drilling militiamen and military stores were piled up. The money for these activities had been voted by a Massachussetts provincial congress, which had in effect completely superseded the old General Court.” (Brogan 1999: 165)

Battles of Lexington and Concord, April 19, 1775

Lexington and Concord Map.png

- 700 British Regulars set out from Boston to capture and destroy military supplies destroyed at Concord
- Set out at 9pm on the night of the 18th
- Patriot intelligence meant they were aware the Redcoats were coming
- alarm and muster: notification and deployment of militia forces
- Captain Parker of the Lexington militia: knew they were outnumbered; knew most of the supplies had already been moved from Concord; knew the British had gone on marches liked this before and returned to Boston empty handed.
- "Stand your ground; don't fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here."
- Somebody, we don’t know who, fired a shot
- Marched onto Concord, a bloody and costly battle
- Ralph Waldo Emerson: “a shot heard round the world”

Watch the Richard Holmes documentary, Rebels and Redcoats: The American Revolutionary War, episode 1, to enhance your understanding of the complex course of events that led to the first shots of the war being fired at Lexington and Concord.

Friday: Revision

Revise your notes and create a 'cheat-sheet' in preparation for the in-class essay on Tuesday.

Homework: Revise for the in-class essay on Tuesday.

Week 6 (Mar 11 - 15)

Tuesday: In-class essay
Wednesday: Battle of Bunker Hill (June 1775); Siege of Boston (April 1775 - March 1776); Common Sense by Thomas Paine (January 1776)

June 1775: Battle of Bunker Hill (actually fought on Breed’s Hill)
- Boston besieged by rebel militia immediately after the Battles of Lexington and Concord
- Generals Howe, Clinton and Burgoyne had arrived in America with reinforcements in May 1775.
- To defend Boston, General Gage needed to command the heights around the town. But this he failed to do. (Brogan 1999: 171/2)
- On the 17th, General Howe led 1550 men across the Charles River (and soon called for 750 more soldiers as reinforcement). (Holmes, ‘Rebels and Redcoats’, episode 1)
- Two columns marched straight up Breed’s Hill
- British repulsed with severe losses; 96 dead from beach assault alone but were able to storm the Americans’ fortifications when the Americans ran low on ammunition
- 226 British were killed and 828 were wounded compared with 140 American dead, 270 wounded and 30 taken prisoner (Brogan 1999: 172)
- Pyrrhic victory

Bunker Hill.png

Siege of Boston
- Second Continental Congress created the Continental Army, under the command of General George Washington.
- Winter 1775: Washington sent General Henry Knox to Fort Ticonderoga to retrieve a captured arsenal of 44 cannons, 14 mortars and a Howitzer. Transported 300 miles across difficult territory.
- Then the Rebels negotiated the challenging task of fortifying the strong, elevated position of Dorchester Heights and moving the cannons in to place.

Siege of Boston.png

The Olive Branch Petition and the Proclamation of Rebellion
- The Continental Congress a petition, that became known as the Olive Branch Petition to the King in July, 1775.
- It was authored by John Dickinson, a strong advocate of reconciliation with Britain.
- The petition proposed that the King could achieve a resolution by either a) taxing the colonies but allowing free trade or b) maintaining regulations on trade but not imposing any taxes.
- The King did not reply directly to the petition. He did not accept the legitimacy of the Continental Congress.
- In response to the news of the Battle of Bunker Hill in late August, the king declared the colonies to be in a state of rebellion.The Proclamation of Rebellion was the effective reply to the Olive Branch Petition.

17 March 1776: British garrison of Boston evacuated by sea to Halifax, Novia Scotia
- Once Dorchester Heights had been occupied , the British position in Boston became untenable.
- 1000 loyalists taken with them (Holmes, ‘Rebels and Redcoats’, episode 1)
- “With them went many Loyalists, the first of an ever-swelling body of refugees which the war was to create.” (Brogan 1999: 172)

British response to the loss of Boston
- Gage replaced by General Howe as commander of British forces in America.
- Naval blockade of all American ports proclaimed.
- “18,000 mercenary soldiers were hired from minor German princelings...” (Brogan 1999: 172)
- British assault on New York, where there was very significant Loyalist support, was planned. To be led by General Howe’s brother, Admiral Howe.

January 1776: Thomas Paine publishes Common Sense.
- While armed conflict had broken out in Massachusetts, at the end of 1775 the colonists were still torn about whether to seek reconciliation and compromise or to separate from Britain altogether. Of course, there was never to be anything like unanimity on this point. Many Americans, like the Loyalists who were evacuated from Boston with the British in March 1776, never supported the break with Britain. However, as late as 1775, opinion was fairly evenly divided and debate raged throughout the thirteen colonies. It was in this context, that Thomas Paine's pamphlet, Common Sense, was to make its mark.
- Common Sense was initially published anonymously because it contained treasonous material.
- It was first published on January 10, 1776.
- An earlier title considered by Paine was 'Plain Truth'. This captures the style of the book: simple and straightforward and without the classical allusions that would make it inaccessible to the less educated.
- Sold 120,000 copies (Brogan 1999: 173) in America in 1776 and many more in Europe
- Paine donated the royalties from Common Sense to the Continental Army.

Thomas Paine.png

Read these excerpts from Common Sense.

1. In your own words, what is the argument for independence being advanced by Paine?
2. What about the argument - or the way it is formulated and/or expressed - might have made it persuasive?
3. In what ways is Paine’s argument similar or different to the anti-British arguments of the years prior to 1776?
4. Can any modern American values be identified in Paine’s argument?

Friday: Common Sense, Analysis

How did Thomas Paine persuade Americans that what they were fighting for was not reconciliation or compromise but independence? Examine these short quotations from Common Sense. Analyse the quotations in terms of the questions above.

1. Argument
2. Persuasiveness
3. Comparison with earlier arguments
4. Contemporary America
A: “… there is another and greater distinction for which no truly natural or religious reason can be assigned, and that is the distinction of men into KINGS and SUBJECTS.”
The distinction a hereditary monarch and his subjects is one created by some people for particular purposes. It’s not permanent and pre-ordained (as are those distinctions created by God).
Empowering: what been created by man can be changed by man.
Different to petitions from Congress: an attack on monarchy per se
-Self-made man
-Social mobility
A: “In the early ages of the world, according to the scripture chronology there were no kings; the consequence of which was, there were no wars; it is the pride of kings which throws mankind into confusion.”
- According to the Bible, in the period before kings, there weren’t wars either.
- The pride and ambition of kings cause wars.
- Relies on the Bible which was both familiar to readers and regarded with reverence.
Republican attack on kingship itself, rather than the conduct of the British Government or the King George III.
- Is the President seen in the same way as a King?
- Does the pride and ambition of presidents cause wars?
B: “We may as well assert that because a child has thrived upon milk, that it is never to have meat…”
Even if the relationship with Britain has been profitable in the past, it’s wrong to simply assume the future will be the same.
Simple analogy that can easily be related to by the whole audience
More radical in that it is questioning the whole relationship rather than just trade or tax policy.

C: “This new world hath been the asylum for the persecuted lovers of civil and religious liberty from every part of Europe.”
- If Britain was a mother, it has been a bad one
- Britain is not the sole mother of the Colonies, Europe is.
- Rational argument.
- Emotional
- Appeals to America’s ideals
- More Extreme (d)
- ‘Revenge’ a theme (s)
- European not British (d)
- Freedom
- Land of opportunity
D: “… any submission to, or dependence on, Great Britain, tends directly to involve this continent in European wars and quarrels, and set us at variance with nations who would otherwise seek our friendship, and against whom we have neither anger nor complaint.”
- Alliance with Britain has negative effect on relations with other nations
- Kings are petty
- Economic and political argument
- an appeal to financial self-interest
- Continuity with tax and trade issues
- Isolationism
E: “In no instance hath nature made the satellite larger than its primary planet; and as England and America, with respect to each other, reverse the common order of nature, it is evident that they belong to different systems. England to Europe: America to itself.”
- America is too big and too far away to be ruled by England
- argument made persuasive by analogy to natural fact.
- England is too far away (s)

F: “…otherwise it is like wasting an estate on a suit at law, to regulate the trespasses of a tenant whose lease is just expiring.”
- The war should resolve fundamental issues otherwise it isn’t worth it
- Relates whole war to an everyday situation

G: “For as in absolute governments the king is law, so in free countries the law ought to be king; and there ought to be no other.”

H: “Ye that tell us of harmony and reconciliation, can ye restore to us the time that is past? Can ye give to prostitution its former innocence?”
- The damage done is irreversible because American blood has been shed
- There is no trust between Britain and America
- Emotional argument appeals to people who have suffered from the British
-No hope of reconciliation (d)

I: “0! receive the fugitive, and prepare in time an asylum for mankind.”
- America is the last best hope for mankind
- Bacon of liberty
- Appeals to patriotism
- international significance
- attacks tyrannical Britain (s)
- unapologetic independence (d)
- world role (d)
- America still values freedom
- Interventional ist/imperialist role in advancement of freedom

Homework: For Tuesday, determine which question you will write your research essay on. Use what we've covered in class, Brogan, Cowie and the internet to find out what interests you. Navigate Brogan using the contents and index. If you would like to formulate your own question, send me a proposal before Tuesday.

Week 7 (Mar 18 - 22)

Tuesday: The Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776; Overview of The War of Independence, 1775 - 1781

Watch this scene from the television series, 'John Adams'. It begins with the passing of a resolution by the Continental Congress on July 2, 1776, that made American an independent nation (from the Patriot perspective, at least). It then depicts a reading of the Declaration of Independence, which was composed by Thomas Jefferson and then assented to by Congress on July 4, 1776.

Read the Declaration of Independence. At the beginning of the unit, we noted that the modern world is defined, in part, by the way it celebrates the values of reason, democracy, tolerance, equality and individuality. In large part, by modernity, we mean: the application of reason to human affairs; the challenge to social hierarchy and hereditary privilege, the assertion of inalienable rights; the principle of government by consent. How are these values reflected in the Declaration?

This timeline is an abbreviated version of one provided by Dr. Quintard Taylor. Read it in conjunction with the map below to form an understanding of the overall course of the War of Independence.


Watch the Richard Holmes documentary, Rebels and Redcoats: The American Revolutionary War, episode 4, to develop a deeper understanding of the decisive Siege of Yorktown, 1781.

Wednesday: Siege of Yorktown

Read this summary of the Siege of Yorktown. Analyse the summary in terms of the following three questions.
1. How important was French support to the American victory in the War of Independence?
2. Assess the contribution made to the American Revolution by George Washington.
3. How did the Rebels win the war?
1. How important was French support to the American victory in the War of Independence?
2. Assess the contribution made to the American Revolution by George Washington.
3. How did the Rebels win the war?
- Summer of 1780, French had supplied American’s with 5,500 troops.
- French victory in the Battle of Capes. (Fleet under De Grasse)
- Dropped off 3,000 troops.
- Large percentage of troops fighting at Yorktown was French.
- The deep belief in George Washington kept the American forces together.
- Pragmatism/ Nature of the war.
- He feigned an attack on New York which demonstrated flexibility and cunning.
- Use of trenches and surprise night time attack was crucial to Yorktown victory.
- Rebels defeated the British spirit.
- It was about winning hearts and minds.
- Decision to focus attack on Yorktown.
- All their battle tactics fell in place.

Friday: Battle of Trenton (1776); Battle of Saratoga (1777)

The important role of the French is evident from the course of the Siege of Yorktown (1781). The Rebel victory at the Battle of Saratoga (1777) was crucial in persuading the French that the British could be beaten and that they should therefore join in the war. The Battle of Trenton at the very end of 1776 gave the Rebels a much-needed boost in morale after having lost New York and being pushed back through New Jersey. To understand these two battles, watch episode 2 of the Richard Holmes documentary, 'Rebels and Redcoats'.

Homework: For Tuesday, locate as many valuable sources as possible on your essay question. Submit a bibliography to .

Week 8 (Mar 25 - 29)

Tuesday: Essay Research

Continue researching the essay question you have chosen to answer. Compile a list of sources (primary and secondary). When you feel like it is sufficiently comprehensive, email it me. Then, read each source you have identified and make notes.

Wednesday: The Formation of a National Government

Read Olson, K. W. et al (n.d.), An Outline of American History, pp. 41 - 55. Circle any words you don’t understand: ask me or look them up if you have a phone. Answer the following questions.

Q1. List the rights that appeared in the various state constitutions. What is a right? What is the point and effect of enshrining one in the constitution?
- Right of affordable bail
- Right to fair and speedy trial by jury
- Right to vote
- Humane punishment (Basic human rights)
- Right to free speech and freedom of the press
- Right to rebellion
- Right to free association
- Right to petition
- Right to bear arms
- (Habeas Corpus) Must have a just reason to jail someone
- Home can’t be forced or broken into by authorities without approval of court. (Inviolability of domicile)
- A right is a legal obligation to the people. (An entitlement that the individual possesses)
- Enshrining one in the constitution means that the Highest Court in the land will decide whether a proposed law is constitutional.

Q2. In what ways were the newly formed state constitutions undemocratic by modern standards?

Q3. What were the problems with the Articles of Confederation?

Q4. What was Shays’ Rebellion? How was rebellion subdued?

Q5. The Federal Convention of 1787, which came ultimately to produce a new constitution, agreed on the ‘balance of powers’ principle. What is this principle and why might it be a good idea?

Homework: Complete your essay draft for Tuesday.

Good Friday: no classes

Week 9 (Apr 1 - 5)

Monday (1/4): Easter holiday - no classes
Tuesday: Creating a Constitution

This presentation outlines how to quote and reference in your essay and, otherwise, how to correctly format it.

Use this guide to Harvard Referencing to correctly format in-text references and your bibliography. You are required to included annotated bibliographies with your essay. Annotations should be one or two sentences and explain i) how you used the source (what information you got from it) and ii) why you think the source is reliable and authoritative to the extent that you do. These two essays both have good annotated bibliographies that you can use as models for your won: The Achievements of General John Monash; US Intervention in Vietnam.

Watch Professor Freeman's lecture on 'Creating a Constitution'.

Draft Research Essay due
Wednesday: The Constitutional Convention

Q1 (p.85) What was Shays’ Rebellion? How was rebellion subdued? What do you think was at stake here in terms of the overall direction of the Revolution?

- Shay’s rebellion was a group of poor farmers heavily indebted protesting against foreclosure and debt imprisonment.
- Subdued by State Militia and the Federal Government.
- Stability of the new institution. Issue about popular control of the Government.
- Was the Revolution about Economic equality?

Q2 (p.89) How did the Constitutional Convention address the fears of the small states?

Q3 (p. 89 & p. 91) The Federal Convention of 1787, which came ultimately to produce a new constitution, agreed on the ‘balance of powers’ principle. What is this principle and why might it be a good idea? Considering US politics today, are there any disadvantages to this system of checks and balances?

- The arms of Government regulate each other.
- The legislature: makes the laws.
- The executive: implements laws and policies.
- The judiciary judges and interprets the law.
- Stops absolute power.

Thursday 4 April: Parent-Teacher Night, Dickson College Hall
Friday: The American Republic

Homework: Work on your research essay, to be submitted next Friday.

Week 10 (Apr 8 - 12)

Tuesday: Draft Conferencing

Use this double period to work on your essay and consult with me regarding my feedback.

Wednesday: Reflecting on the American Revolution

Watch John Green's short video: 'Taxes & Smuggling - Prelude to Revolution: Crash Course US History #6'. In about ten minutes, it traverses most of the history we have studied over the last ten weeks. Use the video as stimulus for your own reflections about the most important things you have learnt over this time.

Friday: How it all ended

This brief presentation outlines three important events in the early life of the American Republic.

- While there was significant ideological support for the Revolutionaries in France, America remained neutral in the wars between France and the major European powers. The economic and military risks of war seemed to great to the fledgling nation. In adopting a stance of neutrality, Washington inaugurated a long tradition of American isolationism, one of the major strands in American foreign policy (although increasingly peripheral since the Second World War).

- In 1803, Napoleon sold the United States the French territory of Louisiana, 530,000,000 acres.

Louisiana Purchase.png

- The War of 1812 between the United States and Great Britain actually occurred between 1812 and 1814. The war broke out when the U.S. refused to endure a British embargo on American trade with France and British impressment of American sailors. By 1814 neither side had established a clear military advantage and peace was negotiated, restoring the status quo ante bellum.

Research essay due

Week 11 (Apr 29 - May 3)

Tuesday: The Ancien Regime

This presentation introduces France in the 18th Century. France before the Revolution is known as the Ancien Regime or Old Regime. It's most important features were a monarch with absolute powers and a privileged clergy and nobility (just 1% of the population) who prospered at the expense of commoners (99% of the population).

Marie-Antoinette was the wife of Louis XVI. This letter was written by Marie-Antoinette to her mother in 1773 (when Louis was still the dauphin or heir presumptive). It is useful as evidence of how royalty and commoners felt about each other in the ancien regime.

1. Analyse each of the following quotes from Marie-Antoinette’s letter: what does each quote demonstrate about Marie-Antoinette’s attitude to commoners?

“As for honors, we received all that we could possibly imagine; but they, though very well in their way, were not what touched me most. What was really affecting was the tenderness and earnestness of the poor people”

“… who, in spite of the taxes with which they are overwhelmed, were transported with joy at seeing us.”

“The dauphin and I gave repeated orders to the Guards not to beat any one, which had a very good effect.”

“I cannot describe to you, my dear mamma, the transports of joy and affection which every one exhibited towards us. Before we withdrew we kissed our hands to the people, which gave them great pleasure.”

“What a happy thing it is for persons in our rank to gain the love of a whole nation so cheaply. Yet there is nothing so precious; I felt it thoroughly, and shall never forget it.”

2. What does the letter suggest about the attitude of commoners to the royal family in 1773?

'Dreams of Freedom' is a documentary that focuses on the village of Montsecret. It follows the people of the village as they reenact the events that their ancestors took part in during the REvolution. ITis useful for gaining a sense of the deprivations of the peasantry and the way the nobility lorded it over them.

Wednesday: The Causes of Crisis

Read H.R. Cowie, Modern Revolutions (1996), pp. 38 - 42 to consolidate your undestanding of the ancien regime.

To gain an introductory understanding of the causes of the crisis that would ultimately lead to the Revolution, read Cowie 1996: 44 - 46. Note down Cowie's main points in the relevant columns.

Disorder of the Finances
The State of Mind
The War in America
of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette
The desperate plight of the peasants
- Monarchy went bankrupt.

- Forces change in the tax and revenue collection system.

- Inadequacy of the tax-base became a big problem ie. France could no longer afford not to tax the nobility and the clergy.

- Financial crisis created space for questioning the monarchy (for auditing the finances).

- In return for accepting taxation, the Nobility demanded an increase of political power.

- Financial crisis leads to a political crisis.
- The Enlightenment advocated rational organisation of society. (Questioning established ‘old’ order).

- The Enlightenment encouraged a spirit of social critique.
- War of Independence (America) main cause of disorder in the finances.

- Influence on French thinking derived from soldiers fighting in America.

- The American precedent raised questions about the fairness of French society.

- The power of precedent showed what was possible.
- The King was weak and vacillating (indecisive).

- The Queen was impulsive.
- Massive increase of population in France during the 1700’s.

- Land- “a fixed resource”.

- Millions of unemployed peasants immigrate to towns.

- Poor harvest of 1788.

Friday: 1786 - 1788: The Aristocratic Revolution

Read these notes on Adcock 2009: 46 – 52 which explain the chronology of events between 1786 – 1788, understood by historians as the 'aristocratic revolution'.

The financial crisis

- Four wars waged between 1733 and 1783 cost a total of 4000 million livres.
- Total cost of involvement in American War of Independence: 1066 million livres.
- France had borrowed 1250 million livres since 1776.
- Annual deficit in 1786 of 112 million livres compared to total revenue of 475 million.
- If a nation has too much debt, people will cease to lend to it or only do it at a high rate of interest.

Turgot’s warning

- Controller-General of Finances (1774 – 1776)
- “The first shot will drive the state to bankruptcy.”

Calonne’s Plan

- Controller-General (1783 – 1787)
- Replace various income taxes (vingtiemes) which the First and Second Estates largely avoided paying with a land tax. Estimated to increase annual revenues by 35 million livres.
- Land tax to be administered by local assemblies.
- Abolition of internal taxes and tariffs to stimulate economic activity.
- Refinancing on better terms.

The Assembly of Notables

- Calonne’s plan represents significant change. Knowing the parlements might baulk before registering these changes, Calonne wanted a display of national consensus that would force their hand.
- An Estates-General hadn’t been called since 1614 and was far too unpredictable to be countenanced.
- Instead an Assembly of Notables was convened. Almost all delegates were from the clergy and nobility and it was anticipated that the honour of being chosen to participate would ensure the delegates were co-operative.
- The Assembly didn’t really disagree with Calonne’s plan in principle. However, they wanted more information about the true state of the finances; they wanted explanations about how things had got this bad; and they disagreed about certain technicalities regarding assessment and collection of the new land tax.
- When they raised these objections, it became apparent that they had no real power and were being asked to rubber stamp Calonne’s proposals.
- The Assembly of Notables was dismissed by the King in April of 1778 but not before it had called for a permanent committee to audit royal spending and the whole issue of the nation’s finances had become a very public and contested matter.
- Calonne resigned and was replaced by Brienne.

Battle with the Parlements, July 1787

- The Paris parlement refused to register a stamp duty proposed by Brienne. It insisted on being able to view the Royal accounts first.
- The King stated, correctly, that they had no right to do this an commanded that they register the tax.
- The parlement disobeyed and insisted only an Estates-General could approve a new tax.

The King Cracks Down

- Paris parlement ordered to retire to the town of Troyes
- Closure of political clubs
- Night curfew

Royal Session, November 1787

- Brienne attempted to negotiate a compromise between the King and the Notables: abandonment of the stamp tax; Notables could examine royal accounts; new taxes; austerity.
- The King blundered at the Royal Session and ordered the parlement to register the new laws.
- The parlement complied but immediately cancelled the registration when the King departed.
- The King exiled three judges; forbade parlement from starting a new session.
- Paris parlement bombarded the monarchy with remonstrances, particularly in regard to the exile of three of its judges.
- Members of the parlement published a call for taxation via representation, via the Estates-General.
- King ordered the authors to be arrested and closed the parlements.

Calling of the Estates-General, 1788

- Parlements met in defiance of the King.
- Crowds rose up in support of the parlements: in Pau smashed open the locked doors of the parlement; massive celebration in Bordeaux; in Grenoble Royal troops were bombarded with roof tiles.
- In some areas, army officers were unwilling to fire on the crowds.
- Brienne responds to this upheaval by signifying a willingness to call an Estates-General.
- August: France suddenly found it was bankrupt. Estates-General called for May 1, 1789.

Homework: For Tuesday, identify the three most important things you have learnt this week in Modern History. Write one sentence on each.

Week 12 (May 6 - 10)

Tuesday: Cahiers de Doleances (Statements of Grievances)

This timeline outlines the key events of 1789 and this glossary explains key words we'll be using in coming weeks.

In the lead-up the Estates-General of May 1789, each estate in each locality in France met to draw up a list of their grievances with France as it was. The cahiers de doleances provide a wonderful insight into the minds of the French people in early 1789. Read the cahier or list allocated to your group and note down the following:

- What are their main hopes and objectives?

- What is their attitude to the monarchy?

Wednesday: Analysing the Cahiers

Friday: Revision of the Cahiers and the Estates-General

French Revolution (Part 1): Part 1 of the French Revolution. From the Convocation of the Estates General to the storming of the Bastille

Homework: For Tuesday, identify the three most important things you have learnt this week in Modern History. Write one sentence on each.

Week 13 (May 13 - 17)

Tuesday: What is the Third Estate? / The Tennis Court Oath

Emmanuel Joseph Sieyes: "What is the Third Estate? [Excerpts]

Wednesday: Images of Revolution

Friday: Revision - From the Beginning to the Storming of the Bastille

Ancien Regime Hierarchy of the Orders.png

Watch the History Channel documentary 'The French Revolution' up to 32 minutes to revise the narrative so far and learn about the next step, the storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789.

Homework: Revise the work we've done this term in preparation for the document test in Week 15

Week 14 (May 20 - 24)

Tuesday: Storming of the Bastille

The Document Test Notice explains what will be in the document test next Tuesday.

Chronology: June/ July 1789

• June 17- Tennis Court Oath
• June 17- 20- Necker encourages the King to make a compromise
• June 20- Louis XVI ordered a royal session of the Estates- General and had the assembly hall surrounded by armed troops. He declared the National Assembly’s decrees void and that the Estates- General continue to meet. He also stated that although there would be some reforms, the social structure of France would remain the same.
• June 26- Louis XVI ordered four regiments to leave frontiers for Paris
• July 1- Louis XVI ordered more troops, bringing the number of troops in Paris to 20 000.
• July 8- Louis refuses to withdraw troops and states that they are needed to ‘keep order’.
• June 30- 4 000 Parisian people broke into provincial prison and liberated soldiers
• July 11- Necker dismissed
• July 12- news of his dismissal hits Paris and large crowds gather at public gardens. Young journalist, Camille Desmoulins calls for the people to arm themselves and the urban working classes revolt
• July 13- the crowds began searching for weapons and food- they were convinced that the nobles were hoarding grain.
• July 14- 30 000 people attacked Les Invalides, a military hospital. They looted the hospital, seizing weapons. The crowd then stormed the Bastille, killing about 98 people- including the governor of the Bastille, de Launey.


1. What was the role of Louis XVI is triggering the events that led to the Storming of the Bastille?

2. Why did the bourgeois leaders of the revolution both need the violent action of the crowd, but also fear it?

3. Why did the Parisians storm the Bastille?

4. What other actions might the King have taken in late June and early July of 1789 and how might have the events of the French Revolution turned out if he had acted differently? Discuss.

5. What is the significance of the Storming of the Bastille?

6. How do we see that the revolution reflected the people that lead it?

7. What impact did this have on the revolution?

8. ‘The Great Fear’ was the rural rebellion of the peasants as they expressed their grievances. What were the main grievances they had?

9. What was the significance of the peasant revolt?

Wednesday: The Fall of the Bastille - A Contemporary Account

Read this account of the Fall of the Bastille in a Parisian newspaper.

1. Why was this event important to the common people of France?
2. Why does the article refer to the governor as “treacherous”?
3. What did the author mean by saying “the citizens had become hardened to the fire”?
4. Why do you think the governor and some of his officers were killed by the citizens
instead of being put on trial?
5. What is the meaning of the following sentence, found near the end of the article: “This glorious day must amaze our enemies, and finally usher in for us the triumph of
justice and liberty.”
6. Do you feel the author of the article supported the people or the French nobility and the king? Explain.
7. Do you consider the actions of the citizens who stormed the Bastille as heroic, or do you think they simply gave in to a mob mentality? Explain.

Imagine you were a Parisian in 1789. Write a diary account of which discusses what you heard and saw about the day's events.

Friday: The Abolition of Feudalism

Your group will be assigned one of the three estates. Imagine you are the meeting in your estate to discuss the abolition of feudalism and how this will affect your Estate. Assign roles to members in your group to represent the different people in your estate and discuss the: positives; negatives; opportunities; threats

First Estate: Some roles might include: A delegate who has returned from Paris to bring you the news about the abolition of feudalism; Archbishops or members of the clergy who are at the top of the hierarchy; Priests or members who are at the bottom of the hierarchy

Second Estate: Some roles might include: A delegate who has returned from Paris to bring you the news of the abolition of feudalism; A nobleman that sympathizes with the revolutionary cause (such as Lafayette); Regular nobles

Third Estate: Some roles might include: A delegate who has returned from Paris to bring you the news about the abolition of feudalism; a Bourgeois; A peasant

There will be prizes given to the performance that:
- is the most realistic
- best displays the common interests within the Estate
- best displays the diversity within the Estate
- wins the popular vote

Homework: Revise for the document test on Tuesday.

Week 15 (May 27 - 31)

Document Test
Wednesday: The Declaration of the Rights of Man

Read The Declaration of the Rights of Man. Answer Cowie's questions (1996: 53-54) on this famous document.

Q1. God/higher power. They had been oppressed under the church and its belief in the supernatural. Deism- kind of Christian belief, where god created the world then left it to its own devices. Supreme Being is a deist term for god.
Q2. Utility: use, or value. Distinctions have some kind of longer term benefit. Rewarding merit, not born into social standing as in the old regime.
Q3. The right to property (private property) being inviolable.
Socialism: state ownership of land.
Q4. Absolute monarchy won and divine right of kings.
Q7. Practice of arbitrary imprisonment. The rule of law.
Q8. Freedom of speech/the press.
Q9. The Americans wanted representation in what taxes they had, echoed in this clause.


Oral Presentation Task

Watch the History Channel documentary 'The French Revolution'.

Homework: For Tuesday, identify the three most important things you have learnt this week in Modern History. Write one sentence on each.

Week 16 (June 3 - 7)

Tuesday: The Civil Constitution of the Clergy

1789 was a year of world-hisotrical significance and concluded with a significant degree of unity in France behind the Revolution. The emotions of that time were perhaps best expressed by William Wordsworth, the English poet who visited France in November 1791 (and, as it happens, fell in love).

The French Revolution (as It Appeared to Enthusiasts at Its Commencement)
William Wordsworth, 1805

Oh! pleasant exercise of hope and joy!
For mighty were the auxiliars which then stood
Upon our side, we who were strong in love!
Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,
But to be young was very heaven!—Oh! times,
In which the meagre, stale, forbidding ways
Of custom, law, and statute, took at once
The attraction of a country in romance!
When Reason seemed the most to assert her rights,
When most intent on making of herself
A prime Enchantress—to assist the work
Which then was going forward in her name!
Not favoured spots alone, but the whole earth,
The beauty wore of promise, that which sets
(As at some moment might not be unfelt
Among the bowers of paradise itself )
The budding rose above the rose full blown.
What temper at the prospect did not wake
To happiness unthought of? The inert
Were roused, and lively natures rapt away!
They who had fed their childhood upon dreams,
The playfellows of fancy, who had made
All powers of swiftness, subtilty, and strength
Their ministers,—who in lordly wise had stirred
Among the grandest objects of the sense,
And dealt with whatsoever they found there
As if they had within some lurking right
To wield it;—they, too, who, of gentle mood,
Had watched all gentle motions, and to these
Had fitted their own thoughts, schemers more wild,
And in the region of their peaceful selves;—
Now was it that both found, the meek and lofty
Did both find, helpers to their heart's desire,
And stuff at hand, plastic as they could wish;
Were called upon to exercise their skill,
Not in Utopia, subterranean fields,
Or some secreted island, Heaven knows where!
But in the very world, which is the world
Of all of us,—the place where in the end
We find our happiness, or not at all!

Not long after visiting France, Wordsworth became disenchanted with the Revolution and so did many Frenchmen. While opposition to the Old Regime was widespread, agreeing on the shape of the new society was more problematic. The first matter in which this became apparent was the reform of the French Church, enacted by the National Constituent Assembly. Read Adcock (2009: 125 - 129) and answer the following questions.

1. What initiative did the National Assembly take in relation to the Church in November, 1789?
“In August 1789, the Church lost both feudal dues from its lands and the tithe payed by peasants... plural appointments were abolished.”
“On 2 November 1789 assembly duly confiscated Church property.” (Adcock 2009: 126)

2. Why was the proposed new structure of the Church called the Civil Constitution of the Clergy?
“Their document was a civil constitution because it only dealt with the way the Church was organised.” (Adcock 2009: 127)

3. What, in essence, did the Civil Constitution of the Clergy entail?
“The state guaranteed generous salaries for all clergy. All clergy needed to live near their appointment.”
“Creating 83 bishops for 83 departments.”
“the appointment of clergy was democratised; everybody from bishop to priest was elected by meeting of citizens” (Adcock 2009: 127)

4. In what regards was the Civil Constitution of the Clergy controversial?
"... deprived the Pope of the power to appoint bishops and archbishops.”
“... the appointment of clergy was democratised: everybody from bishop to priest was elected by meetings of citizens.”
“... such significant changes should only be made up after consultation with either the Pope or an assembly of the Church.” (Adcock 2009: 127)

5. Why did the National Assembly pass a decree demanding an oath of loyalty in November, 1790? How did this move backfire?
“The result was chaos.”
“... the Assembly believed that there would be little resistance.”
“It ignored that many priests regarded this as a matter of conscience, no matter what the price.”
“On 21 march, the Pope formally condemned the reforms and later urged all clergy to refuse the oath, and if they had taken it to deny it.” (Adcock 2009: 128)

Wednesday: The Constitution of 1791

“The Church reform was, arguably, the first great mistake of the revolution and although it might have been made in all innocence, it was no less disastrous. Historian Andre Latreille refers to it as a ‘tragic error’.” (Adcock 2009: 129)

 What arguments support the characterisation of the Church reforms as a tragic error?

 Can the Church reforms be defended?

The Constitution of 1791 made France a constitutional or limited monarchy. In what ways did the King retain power? In what ways did it give power to the people and their representatives in the legislature?

Powers of the King
Powers of the People (via the Legislative Assembly)
Still the King – now King of the French rather than King of France
Approve new taxation and expenditure
Power to declare war and peace
Legislature had veto over decisions of war and peace
Suspensive veto (4 years)
The power to pass laws
Appoints ministers, generals and diplomats
King’s appointed ministers are accountable to the National Assembly

That the Revolution has gone far enough

Your team will be allocated the responsibility to either affirm or negate this proposition. 

It’s September 1791... You need to put yourself in the shoes of people in France at that time. You also need to be clear about what the Revolution has and hasn’t achieved at this point. You then need to reflect on what you think a just society looks like. Does your vision match up with how things looked in France on the passing of the Constitution? Is everybody getting a fair go? Are they able to prosper? Have all the weaknesses of the Old Regime been addressed?

Friday: The Flight to Varennes

Read the account of Louis' attempt to flee France in June of 1791 in Adcock (2009).

Homework: Work on your oral presentation.

Week 17 (June 10 - 14)

Monday: Public holiday
Tuesday: The Revolution Divided: Constitutional Monarchists vs. Republicans

Read Adcock (2009) on the events of June to September, 1791. Discuss each of the following questions with the person sitting next to you.

1. Why did the Assembly construct a new version of events in relation to the King’s attempt to escape the country in June 1791?
2. The Constitution that came into effect in September of 1791 was controversial and contested, (ie not everybody supported it). Who disagreed with it? In what respects?
3. Why did Lafayette leave the Jacobin Club and form the Feuillants Club?
4. What was the demand of the petitioners/ protesters at the Champ de Mars on 17 July, 1791?
5. The National Guard, led by Lafayette, fired on the crowd and killed 50 people. What justification could Lafayette provide for these actions? What’s your provisional assessment of Lafayette’s actions? What more information do you think you’d need to make a more complete assessment? What does this incident indicate about where Lafayette stood in relation to the goals of the Revolution?

Read the quotation in Adcock (2009: 137) from the influential Marxist historian of the Revolution, George Rude, on the growing division amongst revolutionaries . In your own words, explain the following phrases. Focus, in particular, on how the Revolutionary unity of 1789 evaporated. Provide as much detail as possible.

“The King had only accepted the Constitution with his tongue in his cheek...”
· The king retains significant power within the constitution
· Flight to Varennes: indicated king’s opposition to the Revolution and his desire to marshal forces outside France to overthrow it
· Undermines the case for constitutional monarchy and increases concerns about external threats > feeds radicalisation
“More serious perhaps was the division caused among the clergy by the new Church settlement...”
· The Civil Constitution of the Clergy
· Opposed because it took the power of making senior appointments away from the Pope
· Gave parishioners the power to vote in clergy
· Oath of loyalty backfires because it asks clergy to choose between the church and the Revolution
“... the intervention of classes that had looked to the outbreak of 1789 for a solution to their problems and whose initial hopes had, in the outcome, been disappointed...”
· The peasants and the working class had supported the Revolution initially
· The division between active and passive citizens meant their interests would not be adequately represented in the new system.

Wednesday: 1791 - 1792

Read Adcock (2009: 139 - 154).

Friday: How France Became A Republic

The constitutional monarchy created in September of 1791 lasted only 11 months. This presentation draws on Adcock to explain the major steps by which France moved to becoming a republic with universal male suffrage (but one faced with war abroad and increasingly authoritarian government at home).

Homework: Work on your oral presentation.

Week 18 (June 17 - 21)

Tuesday: Robespierre and the Reign of Terror

Wednesday June 19: Cross-line testing week begins
Oral presentations, Friday, June 21
Friday 21/6 (Week 18)

Hayley: Louis XVI
Matt B: Louis XVI
Conor: Lafayette
Matt C: Lafayette
Justin: Manon Roland
Harry: Tom Paine
Daniel: Robespierre
Joseph: Pauline Leon
Matt F: Napoleon

Mrad: Louis XVI
Hannah: Louis XVI
Owen: Lafayette
Rachael: Pauline Leon
Hayden: Robespierre
Te Whenua: Napoleon

Anna: Necker
Blake: Louis XVI
Jessica: Lafayette
Henry: Napoleon


Puritans: Puritans were Protestants who felt that the Church of England was too close in nature to the Roman Catholic Church, that the English Reformation had not gone far enough in purifying Christianity of, as they saw it, the corruption, hierarchy and empty ritualism of Catholicism.


Timeline: War of Independence, Dr. Quintard Taylor

American Revolution Bibliography

Print Sources

Bailyn, B. (2003), To Begin the World Anew, New York: Alfred A. Knopf

Brinton, C. (1952), The Anatomy of a Revolution, New York: Vintage

Brogan, H. (2001), The Penguin History of the USA (New Edition), London: Penguin

Countryman, E. (1992), The American Revolution, New York: Hill & Wang

Cowie, H. R. (1996), Modern Revolutions: Their Character and Influence, Melbourne: Nelson

Hawke, D. (1998), Everyday Life in Early America, New York: Harper & Row

Kerner, C. (2003), Revolutionary America, 1750 - 1815, Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall

Olson, K. W. et al (n.d.), An Outline of American History, United States Information Agency

Zinn, H. (2005), A People's History of the United States, New York: HarperCollins

Electronic Sources

American Social History Productions (1998 - 2013), History Matters: The U.S. Survey Course on the Web, Accessed April 22, 2013,

Freeman, J. (2010), HIST 116: The American Revolution, Open Yale Courses. Accessed January 11, 2013,

Freeman, J. (2010a), 'The Importance of George Washington', Lecture 16, HIST 116: The American Revolution, Open Yale Courses. Accessed April 1, 2013,

Halsall, P. (n.d.), Internet Modern History Sourcebook, IV: American and French Revolutions, Fordham University. Accessed January 11, 2013,

Hone (n.d.), Historiography of The American Revolution. Accessed January 11, 2013,

Library of Congress (n.d.), American Memory: 1700-1799. Accessed January 11, 2013,

Massachusetts Historical Society (n.d.), The Coming of the American Revolution, 1764 - 1776, Accessed January 11, 2013,

McCoy, J. (n.d.), Common-Place, American Antiquarian Society, University of Oklahoma. Accessed January 11, 2013,

Parry, R. (2012), The Right’s Second Amendment Lies,, December 21, 2012. Accessed January 11, 2013,

Roland, J. (2000 - 2012), Primary Source Documents Pertaining to Early American History, Constitution Society. Accessed January 11, 2013,

Rosenbaum, R. (2013), The Shocking Savagery of America’s Early History, Smithsonian, March 2013

The JDN Group (2012), Portraits in Revolution. Accessed January 11, 2013,

University of Oklahoma College of Law (2009), A Chronology of US Historical Documents. Accessed January 11, 2013,

U.S. Department of State, Office of the Historian (n.d.), Milestones: 1750-1775. Accessed January 11, 2013,

Vitale, D. (1995 - 2013), Archiving Early America. Accessed January 11, 2013,

Yale Law School (n.d.), '18th Century Documents : 1700 - 1799', Avalon Project, Lillian Goldman Law Library. Accessed January 11, 2013,

French Revolution Bibliography

Print Sources

Adcock, M. (2009), Analysing the French Revolution, 2nd Edition, Cambridge University Press

Cowie, H. R. (1996), Modern Revolutions: Their Character and Influence, Melbourne: Nelson

Doyle, W. (2002), The Oxford History of the French Revolution, 2nd Edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press

Moore, L. (2006), Liberty The Lives and Times of Six Revolutionary Women, London: Harper Press
Pauline Leon: Chapter 2 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 12
Manon Roland: Chapter 5 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 13

Electronic Sources

Halsall, P. (n.d.), Internet Modern History Sourcebook, IV: American and French Revolutions, Fordham University. Accessed January 11, 2013,

Halsall, P. (n.d.), French Revolution, Fordham University. Accessed April 14, 2013 at

Kreis, S. (2006), The Origins of the French Revolution, 'The History Guide'. Accessed 23/4/2013 at