Liberty Lectures

The Institute sponsors a variety of lectures and other presentations on aspects of the American Revolution and its legacy, given by leading scholars in the American history field. A selection of these talks—many given as public lectures at the Institute’s headquarters, Anderson House—has been recorded and is available below. These presentations address major political, social and cultural aspects of the Revolutionary era, from the interests of the British Empire to the ratification of the United States Constitution. The videos also explore major people and events of the Revolutionary War, from the Battle of Bunker Hill to the Newburgh Conspiracy. Most of the productions are available both in full length and in shorter chapter segments for use either in classroom instruction or for personal learning.

 

T. Cole Jones spoke about his book, Captives of Liberty, dealing with prisoners of war, at the American Revolution Institute.

Prisoners of War in the American Revolution

T. Cole Jones
February 27, 2020

Prisoners of war presented an enormous challenge for Patriot forces during the American Revolution. Patriots captured more than seventeen thousand enemy soldiers during the war. At times the prisoners in American hands outnumbered the Continental Army. At the outset of…

Louis XVI biographer John Hardman presents the 2019 George Rogers Clark lecture discussing the factors that ultimately led to French support for the War for American Independence.

Louis XVI and the War of American Independence

John Hardman
October 25, 2019

Aid sent by Louis XVI tipped the scales in favor of a Patriot victory in the War for American Independence. However, this assistance was far from assured. John Hardman argues that the French monarch possessed sharp political insight and talent…

Christy Pichichero discussed the military enlightenement and the French army at the American Revolution Institute.

The American Revolution and the French Military Enlightenment

Christy Pichichero
October 10, 2019

Christy Pichichero illustrates how the French Enlightenment philosophies of foreign officers in the American Revolution informed their perspective of American customs. Selecting the marquis de Chastellux and the comte de Rochambeau—whose memoirs are a part of the Institute’s…

Patrick Spero is the Director of the American Philosophical Society.

Rebels on the Pennsylvania Frontier

Patrick Spero
December 13, 2018

Patrick Spero examines the overlooked conflict between the Black Boys of Pennsylvania, Native American forces and the British Empire prior to the American Revolution. As the Stamp Act riled eastern seaports, frontiersmen clashed with the British Empire over another issue…

Emily Schulz Parsons, deputy director and curator of the American Revolution Institute, discusses a portrait of loyalist James DeLancey.

A Portrait of American Loyalist James DeLancey

Emily Parsons
November 16, 2018

American loyalist Colonel James DeLancey of Westchester County, New York, who led several loyalist cavalry and infantry units during the American Revolution is the subject of this portrait ca. 1778-1782 attributed to itinerant artist John Durand. Portraits of American…

Historian Bob Selig discusses burial of the dead on Revolutionary War battlefields.

Battlefield Burial during the Revolutionary War

Robert Selig
October 30, 2018

Although battlefield burial is seldom covered by modern historians, following almost any military engagement, corpses needed to be buried. Who was responsible for disposing of these corpses? How can we tell who buried whom? Were officers and other ranks buried…

Kathleen DuVal gave the George Rogers Clark Lecture on the Revolution in the Spanish borderlands.

The American Revolution on the Spanish Borderlands

Kathleen DuVal
October 26, 2018

Kathleen DuVal illuminates the American Revolution on the Spanish borderlands—recounting clashes between the Spanish and British forces over the territory along the Gulf of Mexico. The capture of Mobile and the Siege of Pensacola were critical to the outcome…

Colonel Jeremiah Lee of Marblehead

Robert Booth
October 3, 2018

Colonel Jeremiah Lee was a fabulously wealthy colonial merchant who turned against the British Empire and became a leader of the rebel movement in Massachusetts. Historian Robert Booth brings this outspoken revolutionary to life as part of the 250th anniversary…

Robert Allison of Suffolk University is the author of several books on Boston in the American Revolution.

Was the American Revolution Inevitable?

Robert Allison
October 27, 2017

“Was the American Revolution inevitable?” is a complex question posed by Robert Allison. The achievement of independence hinged upon the cooperation of colonists from diverse backgrounds to unite in a common cause. The people in British North America had profound…

Rachel Engle discusses her research on camraderie in the Continental Army.

The Social Community of the Continental Army

Rachel Engl
October 24, 2017

Rachel Engl charts social community—the ways individuals initiated and maintained casual and intimate relationships—in the Continental Army. Over the course of the Revolutionary War, tens of thousands of men served in the Continental Army, many of whom formed…

C.L. Bragg discusses his research on the execution of Isaac Hayne in Revolutionary South Carolina.

The Execution of Isaac Hayne, South Carolinian

Cordell Lee Bragg
March 7, 2017

Col. Isaac Hayne was hung for treason on August 4, 1781, in Charleston, South Carolina, by the British army. The death of a patriot for the cause of liberty was not a unique occurrence, but the unusually well-documented events…

Carl Borick discussed his book on Revolutionary War prisoners of war at the American Revolution Institute.

American Prisoners in the Revolutionary South

Carl Borick
April 19, 2016

American prisoners in the revolutionary South held captive by the British forces were a logistical and financial burden that contributed to their failure in the South. During the Siege of Charleston in 1780, British forces under General Sir Henry Clinton…

Wendy Wick Reaves discussed George Washington in art at the American Revolution Institute.

How Revolutionary Americans Imagined George Washington

Wendy Wick Reaves
February 23, 2016

Prints of an imagined George Washington circulated around the country in the late eighteenth century as Americans yearned for images of their new leaders. At the start of the Revolutionary War, almost any fictitious image could pass as a portrait…

Archaeologist Meg Watters was the lead investigator at Parker's Revenge, a Revolutionary War battle site between Lexing and Concord, Massachusetts.

Archaeology at Parker’s Revenge

Meg Watters
December 9, 2015

Parker’s Revenge, the scene of intense fighting between the retreating British and militia on April 19, 1775, is the site of recent archaeological discoveries. Because contemporary documents reveal little about this fight, an archaeological survey was needed to reveal…

Maya Jasanoff presents her research about the global migration of American Loyalists after the Revolution at the American Revolution Institute.

American Loyalists in the Revolutionary World

Maya Jasanoff
October 23, 2015

Global migration of American Loyalists following the Revolutionary War is a topic easily overlooked by scholars and educators as they trace the path of the victorious Patriot forces. However, at the end of the American Revolution, sixty thousand Americans loyal…

Librarian Rachel Jirka discussed two French accounts of the Yorktown campaign.

Two Narratives of the French Army’s March to Yorktown

Rachel Jirka
August 14, 2015

French narratives of the march to Yorktown from the American Revolution Institute’s collection—written by Henri-Dominique de Palys, chevalier de Montrepos, and Robert Guillaume, baron de Dillon—are highlighted in this presentation by Rachel Jirka, an Institute librarian…

Robert Selig presents a lecture on the march to Yorktown at the American Revolution Institute’s headquarters.

The March to Yorktown

Robert Selig
July 16, 2015

The epic march to Yorktown undertaken by the French and patriot forces was the largest troop movement in the Revolutionary War. From 1781-1782 French forces marched under the command of the comte de Rochambeau to and from Yorktown, alongside…

Andrew O'Shaughnessy is the author of a study of the Revolution in the Caribbean.

The American Revolution in the Caribbean

Andrew O'Shaughnessy
December 4, 2014

In British America in 1776, there were twenty-six, not thirteen colonies—the majority of the colonies outside the mainland were in the Caribbean. Even though they shared many important similarities and connections with the mainland colonies, they did not…

James Kirby Martin of the University of Houston is an authority on the military history of the American Revolution.

George Washington and the Newburgh Conspiracy

James Kirby Martin
October 24, 2014

In March of 1783, the Newburgh Conspiracy threatened to derail the fragile calm at the end of the Revolutionary War. The rumors of peace after Yorktown brought anxiety to soldiers in the Continental Army. The Continental Congress had not paid…

Dennis Conrad, formerly an editor of the Nathanael Greene Papers, now edits Naval Documents of the American Revolution, presents a lecture about the Continental Navy.

Naval Warfare in the Spring of 1778

Dennis Conrad
September 24, 2014

Dennis Conrad recounts the significant alterations the Continental Navy underwent during the American Revolution in the spring of 1778. Naval warfare in the Revolutionary War took place in the Atlantic and beyond—stretching as far away as the Mediterranean Sea…

Farar Ellliott, curator of the U.S. House of Representatives, discusses portraits of Revolutionary War in the U.S. Capitol in a lecture at the American Revolution Institute.

Revolutionary War Heroes in the Art of the U.S. Capitol

Farar Elliott
November 15, 2013

The Revolutionary War portraits that adorn the U.S. Capitol serve a purpose beyond artistic decoration. In the early nineteenth century, Americans searched for icons to unite them as a new nation, particularly ones that evoked civic virtue. The only…

Carol Berkin, a leader in Revolutionary era women's history, presents the vital role Patriot and Loyalist women played in the American Revolution.

Women in the American Revolution

Carol Berkin
October 25, 2013

The American Revolution was a home-front war that brought scarcity, bloodshed and danger into the life of every American, women included. While men left to fight, women shouldered greater responsibility as they maintained their farms alone and tried to…