Tag: American Revolution

Historical Nuance & America’s Founding

It’s always important to define one’s terms before delving into an explanation of anything. I would like to begin with a definition of the following word: Nuance: A subtle or slight degree of difference, as in meaning, feeling, or tone. Expression or appreciation of subtle shades of meaning, feeling, or tone. Nuance needs to be applied to history, especially in the current atmosphere where many are angry over injustices that have occurred in American history. There are three attitudes one… Read more »

When Loss of Liberty Was Real

I love liberty, properly understood as something that also entails personal responsibility. I’m also alert to attempts to undermine genuine liberty and have been so most of my adult life. Yet I want to clearly differentiate what is a real threat to liberty and what is not. One conservative commentator recently posted this on Twitter: Dropped by a department store to buy a toaster oven. Mandatory hand sanitizer squirt and mask. One way aisles and if you deviate from the… Read more »

Assessing the Battle of Bunker Hill

Sometimes, a victory is more of a defeat and a loss is more of a victory. That’s the story of the Battle of Bunker Hill during the American Revolution. To be as historically accurate as possible, most of the fighting actually took place on Breed’s Hill, but that’s not what’s important here. The chief significance of this battle is that an untrained, makeshift militia took on the disciplined British army and came away with greater confidence. After the skirmish at… Read more »

Preserving Freedom: Lexington & Concord

Among the innumerable examples of bravery in American history, the events surrounding the first battle of the American Revolution are prominent. Massachusetts was under martial law; Boston was ruled by a British general. A shadow government of sorts had been set up by those who were opposed to how the Mother Country was tightening her screws of control. The two leaders of the resistance, Samuel Adams and John Hancock, were in the small village of Lexington, planning their passage to… Read more »

Three Revolutions

Three revolutions: American, French, Russian.  A world of difference when you compare them. The American Revolution, in my view, was not a revolution in the popular understanding of that term, whereas the other two were. In fact, my students know that I famously (infamously?) rename the American Revolution as The American War for Continued Self-Government. Not very catchy, I know, but more accurate. I point to the fact that this perceived revolution was for the maintenance of the rights and… Read more »

A Historian’s Perspective on Bad Times in American History

I don’t think there’s really any disagreement about how pessimistic the majority of Americans are about the future. Currently, all the polls reveal that pessimism.  As I survey the scene—the spiritual/moral, political, and cultural aspects [what does that leave?]—I have grave concerns as well. I’d like to offer a historian’s perspective. Since I teach American history, I have a more in-depth knowledge of what has transpired previously. I can imagine myself transported back into earlier eras and think about how… Read more »

Was the American Revolution Revolutionary?

In my ongoing analysis of American history (which has been interrupted by all the crucial current events that needed commentary), I am up to the point of the American Revolution. I have to use that term so people will know what I’m talking about, but I let my students know I don’t fully agree that it was all that revolutionary. What do I mean? Revolutions, by nature, try to upend the existing establishment. However, in the case of the American… Read more »