Video Category: Classroom Videos

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A Handkerchief Commemorating the Reign of King George III

Paul Newman
November 17, 2023

Museum Collections and Operations Manager Paul Newman discusses a handkerchief commemorating the reign of British monarch King George III, made ca. 1812. The large printed handkerchief chronicles contemporary events in a lavishly decorated manner and includes several portraits of notable British figures from the period. This Lunch Bite will focus on the various depictions on […]

An Allegorical Portrait of a French Naval Officer

Emily Parsons
October 31, 2023

Deputy Director and Curator Emily Parsons discusses an allegorical portrait from our museum collections. Completed in 1783 by Parisian artist Nicolas René Jollain, the painting depicts Thomas François Lenormand de Victot, a fallen French naval officer from the Revolutionary War. Lenormand de Victot had been serving in the French navy for twenty years by 1778, […]

Statues of Nathan Hale

Emily Parsons
September 22, 2023

“I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.” The words Nathan Hale is said to have uttered just before being hanged as a spy by the British are among the best remembered of the Revolution. The young schoolteacher-turned-officer-turned-spy was a hero to nineteenth-century Americans, but they didn’t know what […]

The Patriot’s Monitor

Stacia Smith
August 28, 2023

It’s back to school season! To celebrate, this month’s Collections Corner features the Institute’s director of education, Stacia Smith, discussing The Patriot’s Monitor, an 1810 American primer written by Rev. Ignatius Thomson of Pomfret, Vermont. As this textbook was “designed to impress and perpetuate the first principles of the Revolution on the minds of youth,” […]

French Military Treatises of the Eighteenth Century

Joe Stoltz
June 26, 2023

Coping with the sunset that followed Louis XIV’s death, battered by a string of costly military defeats, and influenced by the intellectual currents of the Enlightenment, the French army was primed for reform in the mid-eighteenth century. Scholar-soldiers spilled buckets of ink debating the nature of the French soldier, how to deal with modern reliable […]

Early French Eagle Insignias of the Society of the Cincinnati

Emily Parsons
May 13, 2023

The Society of the Cincinnati’s Eagle insignia has been the most recognizable symbol of the organization and its members for more than two hundred years. Designed in 1783 by Pierre-Charles L’Enfant, the double-sided gold insignia bears scenes of the Society’s namesake, Cincinnatus, on the breast of an American bald eagle, and is suspended from a […]

The New Game of the American Revolution

Stacia Smith
April 24, 2023

This segment of Collections Corner features the Institute’s director of education, Stacia Smith, discussing The New Game of the American Revolution, a 2022 acquisition from our library’s Robert Charles Lawrence Fergusson Collection. Created in 1844 by the author of the Merry Cards, The New Game was printed in Boston by Lorenzo Burge/Thayer & Company Lithographers, […]

A Handkerchief Commemorating the Reign of King George III

Paul Newman
March 23, 2023

Museum Collections and Operations Manager Paul Newman discusses a commemorative handkerchief charting the reign of King George III, ca. 1812, through various political appointments, government ministries, and events of national and global interests. This handkercheif is a valuable artifact in providing a British perspective of the American Revolution, and how it fits into the broader […]

Friedrich Wilhelm Steuben’s Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the Troops of the United States

Andrew Outten
February 23, 2023

On February 23, 1778, Gen. George Washington welcomed Gen. Friedrich Wilhelm Steuben of Prussia at Valley Forge. Throughout the Revolutionary War, Steuben was instrumental in transforming the Continental Army into a professional fighting force. This month’s edition of Collections Corner features the Institute’s historical programs manager, Andrew Outten, discussing one of the most iconic publications […]

Six Letters Written by Capt. Jonathan Birge

Rachel Nellis
January 21, 2023

This segment of  Collections Corner features the Institute’s research services librarian, Rachel Nellis, sharing a remarkable series of six surviving letters written from New York in the summer and fall of 1776 by Capt. Jonathan Birge of Bolton, Connecticut, to his wife Priscilla. This series details Birge’s company’s activities, including descriptions of their supplies, sickness, […]

Anthony Walton White’s Silver Camp Cups

Emily Parsons
December 29, 2022

This pair of silver camp cups was owned by Anthony Walton White, an officer in the New Jersey Line and the Continental Light Dragoons during the Revolutionary War. The cups were made in Philadelphia about 1776 by silversmith Richard Humphreys, who made a similar set for George Washington during the war. Small and simple yet […]

Two Congressional Presentation Swords

Paul Newman
November 19, 2022

This segment of Collections Corner features the Institute’s Museum Collections and Operations Manager Paul Newman discussing two Congressional presentation swords from our museum collections. Resolved by Congress on November 4, 1777, one sword was awarded to Marylander Samuel Smith for his “gallant defense of Fort Mifflin on the River Delaware” — which the Americans were […]

A 1770 Edition of John Milton’s Paradise Lost

Ellen McCallister Clark
October 24, 2022

On October 17, 1777, British general John Burgoyne surrendered his army to American forces under Gen. Horatio Gates. To mark the 245th anniversary of this pivotal milestone in the Revolutionary War, this edition of Collections Corner features Library Director Ellen McCallister Clark discussing an unexpected treasure from our library collections, a 1770 edition of John […]

Lt. William Popham’s Orderly Book

Rachel Nellis
September 25, 2022

On September 25, 1780, Benedict Arnold fled West Point and defected to the British as news of his betrayal spread. Our newest Collections Corner video features Research Services Librarian Rachel Nellis sharing an orderly book kept by Lt. William Popham in the late summer and early fall of 1780. This orderly book features the shocking […]

The Historiscope: A Complete Panorama of America

Stacia Smith
August 25, 2022

The historiscope is an educational toy manufactured by Milton Bradley & Company of Springfield, Massachusetts, ca. 1868-1890. It features a scrolling set of hand-colored lithographs wound around two vertical wooden dowels with metal handles set into a cardboard box that allowed a child to present one image after the other to a gathering of family […]

William Truman Stoddert Portrait Miniature

Emily Parsons
July 1, 2022

This watercolor portrait miniature pictures First Lieutenant William Truman Stoddert of the Maryland Continental Line, who served in the Revolutionary War for six years. The portrait was painted about 1778 by Charles Willson Peale, the most important American artist during the war and a soldier himself. Lieutenant Stoddert probably commissioned this miniature as a gift […]

Spanish Model 1757 Flintlock Musket

Andrew Outten
June 22, 2022

The Spanish Model 1757 musket was the standard Spanish infantry firearm during the Seven Years’ War and the American Revolution. In June 1779, Spain formally declared war on Great Britain, creating a de facto alliance with the Americans and expanding the global reach of the Revolution. Spain supplied these muskets and other military stores to […]

The Institution of the Society of the Cincinnati

Ellen McCallister Clark
May 13, 2022

The most important and iconic treasure of the Society of the Cincinnati’s archives is the Institution, the document that formally established the organization of Revolutionary War veterans. On May 13, 1783, a group of Continental Army officers gathered at General Steuben’s headquarters near Newburgh, New York, to finalize and adopt the Institution. The Institution lays […]

French Naval Engraving

Rachel Nellis
April 22, 2022

This recently acquired 1790 engraving depicts two French frigates, the Astrée and the Hermione, engaged in battle against a convoy of six British warships off Cape Breton Island on July 21, 1781. Engraved by François Dequevauviller, after the painting by Auguste-Louis de Rossel de Cercy, the print was a collaboration of the two artists, who […]

Thomas Kempton Powder Horn

Paul Newman
March 17, 2022

This engraved powder horn was made by an unidentified professional carver for Capt. Thomas Kempton of Massachusetts during the Siege of Boston in 1775. The powder horn depicts scenes of Roxbury and Boston, including the Boston lighthouse, a fort flying the British flag, Boston Neck, a barracks and other buildings in Roxbury. Museum Collections and […]

Revolutionary Choices Trailer

RevChoicesGame.org
June 19, 2020

The men and women of the revolutionary generation won our independence and created a free and united republic. Can you do as well? You will face the dilemmas confronted by American revolutionaries as they struggle to recruit and supply troops, win French support, suppress loyalists and defeat the British without trampling on rights or fracturing […]

Global Migration of American Loyalists

Maya Jasanoff
November 5, 2015

At the end of the American Revolution, sixty thousand Americans loyal to the British cause fled the United States and became refugees throughout the British Empire. Loyalists traveled to Canada, sailed for Britain, and journeyed to the Bahamas and the West Indies. Some ventured still farther afield, to Africa and India. Wherever they went, this voyage […]

Benedict Arnold

James Kirby Martin
July 24, 2015

American general Benedict Arnold secretly conspired with the enemy to surrender West Point and George Washington. Disaster for the Americans was thwarted only when Arnold’s co-conspirator, John André, was captured with plans of the West Point fortifications in his boot. Professor Martin tells Arnold’s full story, from his childhood and support for the American cause […]

Oneida and Six Nations

James Kirby Martin
July 24, 2015

The Oneida nation was the only one of the Iroquois Confederacy to ally with the Americans during the Revolutionary War. Congress formally honored the Oneida in 1794 for their service to the American cause, yet over time the Oneida sacrifice faded in American memory and was eventually forgotten. Professor Martin describes their important contributions to […]

A Well-Regulated Militia: History of the Second Amendment

Saul Cornell
June 16, 2015

Professor Cornell delves into the complicated history and interpretation of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. He argues that the amendment neither guarantees the right to own guns nor simply protects the rights of states to maintain militias—the two most common modern interpretations of the amendment. The American founders understood the right to bear […]

An Empire Divided: Revolution and the British Caribbean

Andrew O’Shaughnessy
September 26, 2014

There were twenty-six colonies, not thirteen, in British America in 1776, and 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 rebel. Dr. O’Shaughnessy examines the British colonies in the Caribbean during the American Revolution and […]

Lord North

Andrew O'Shaughnessy
September 24, 2014

The policies of Lord North, the British prime minister during the American Revolution, united the American colonies in rebellion. The Tea Act and the Coercive Acts solidified many colonists’ objections to what they considered British oppression. Dr. O’Shaughnessy examines the successes and failures of Lord North’s administration, which ended with his resignation six months after […]

Mel Gibson’s The Patriot: An Historian’s View

Walter Edgar
July 13, 2014

Mel Gibson’s film The Patriot, released in 2000, is a valuable teaching tool, as Professor Edgar argues in this look at its themes and accuracy. The film illustrates two important themes very well: the vicious, partisan nature of the war in the South, and the wide range of interests and ideals that motivated southerners, whether […]

The Southern Frontier in the American Revolution

Walter Edgar
May 8, 2014

The American Revolution did not begin and end in Boston. The backcountry in the South was an especially important region in the struggle for American independence. Professor Edgar examines the complicated factors that influenced the conflict in this region, including Southerners’ reactions to the Stamp Act and Townsend Duties and the political empowerment of backcountry […]

Revolutionary Transformation of Women’s Role in Society

Carol Berkin
April 10, 2014

The Revolution transformed the role of women in American society. Law and custom in colonial America reflected the idea that women were morally inferior to men. Mothers bore and nursed their infants, but the task of teaching children right from wrong fell, at least in principle, on their fathers. Professor Berkin reveals how the Revolution […]

Women Who Followed the Continental Army

Carol Berkin
April 10, 2014

In the popular imagination, men conducted the Revolutionary War and the Continental Army and its encampments were an all-male environment. Professor Berkin reveals that, in reality, women and children accompanied the army and provided important services to sustain it, including cooking and laundering. The presence of these women decreased desertion and supplied necessary labor, although, […]

African American Women and the American Revolution

Carol Berkin
April 10, 2014

African American women longed for freedom as much as anyone in revolutionary America, but few enjoyed its blessings. Liberty proved elusive, whether offered by the British or articulated by American revolutionaries. Some African American women in Virginia liberated themselves in response to Lord Dunmore’s proclamation, only to be sold back into slavery. Others fled to […]

Native American Women and the American Revolution

Carol Berkin
April 10, 2014

The American Revolution was many revolutions, argues Professor Berkin, transforming the lives of Native Americans while the colonists fought for independence. For many Native Americans, victory meant increased pressure from white settlers. Native American women shared their peoples’ struggles for independence and autonomy. Professor Berkin highlights the story of Molly Brant, a Mohawk woman who […]

Daughters of Liberty and Loyalist Women

Carol Berkin
April 9, 2014

Professor Berkin illuminates how women—both supporters of American liberty and loyalists to the Crown—participated in the Revolutionary War and the challenges they faced during the period. Patriot women maintained boycotts of imported goods, joined the army disguised as men, acted as spies, and followed the Continental Army. Loyalist women were often stripped of their property […]

The Global Tea Party

Benjamin L. Carp
April 2, 2014

The Boston Tea Party was not just a local story, Professor Carp argues, it was also a global story. The East India Company was becoming a territorial power in South Asia. Its principal import, tea, came from China and was becoming a popular drink among Europeans. These Europeans drank their tea with sugar, planted and […]

Civic Virtue in Early America

Saul Cornell
August 9, 2013

Revolutionary Americans regarded civic virtue—a willingness to sacrifice personal interests for the good of the community—as vital to the preservation of republican institutions. The ideal of virtuous citizenship was rooted in classical antiquity and influenced American political thought and the art, architecture and literature that helped define the iconography of the new nation. Professor Cornell […]

From Articles of Confederation to US Constitution

Saul Cornell
August 9, 2013

After winning its independence, the new American republic faced internal threats to its survival political, economic and cultural differences resurfaced during the return to peacetime. These pressures prompted the nation’s leaders to abandon the loose confederacy formed during the Revolutionary War and embrace a more unified country under a federal constitution. Professor Cornell highlights specific […]

U.S. Constitution as the Fulfillment of the Revolution

Saul Cornell
August 9, 2013

The creation and adoption of the U.S. Constitution was a fulfillment of the American Revolution, not a conservative counterrevolution. Professor Cornell details how James Madison, known as the architect of the Constitution, arrived at his proposal for the delegates’ consideration in the Constitutional Convention. He reviewed the new nation’s problems, the literature and history of […]

The Revolutionary Challenge to Slavery

James H. Hershman, Jr.
July 3, 2013

The Revolutionary War disrupted the institution of slavery in the United States. Lord Dunmore’s 1775 proclamation in Virginia promised freedom to men enslaved by rebel masters if they would fight in the royal army. The additional social unrest provided by war made it difficult for slaveholders to retain their property, and many enslaved people liberated […]

From the Revolution to the Civil Rights Movement

James H. Hershman, Jr.
July 3, 2013

A powerful thread connects the American Revolution and the civil rights movement of the 1960s: the world-shaking proclamation of the Declaration of Independence “that all men are created equal” and have an undeniable right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” It became the centerpiece of African American political thought for the next two […]

Slavery and America’s Revolutionary Leaders

James H. Hershman, Jr.
July 3, 2013

Slavery is the great American contradiction. The independence of the United States held the promise of liberty and equal rights for all, yet the country’s founding documents permitted slavery to endure. Indeed, many of the men who wrote and signed these documents owned enslaved men and women. Professor Hershman examines eight leading revolutionaries—George Washington, John […]

The Critical Time After Yorktown

William M. Fowler, Jr.
April 5, 2013

Many people assume that the Revolutionary War ended with the surrender of the British army at Yorktown in October 1781. In fact, the war continued for two more traumatic years. During that time, the Revolution came as close to being lost as any time in the preceding six years. When Congress failed to pay the […]

Revere and Longfellow

William M. Fowler, Jr.
April 5, 2013

“Listen my children and you shall hear.” With those lines, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow began his epic poem about Paul Revere’s ride on the night of April 18, 1775. When it was first published in 1861, the poem was an immediate sensation, and it has remained in Americans’ popular memory of the Revolution ever since. Many […]

Hardships of the Continental Army

William M. Fowler, Jr.
April 5, 2013

The soldiers of the Continental Army suffered extreme hardships during the Revolutionary War. Beyond experiencing the terror of combat, the troops were chronically undersupplied. The close of the war brought further anxiety as many of the soldiers had not been paid in months or even years, and the impending disbanding of the army would send […]

The Revolutionary War at Sea

William M. Fowler, Jr.
April 5, 2013

Battles at sea played a key role in securing American independence, even though the size and prowess of the Royal Navy dwarfed that of the nascent Continental Navy. John Paul Jones, who defeated the HMS Serapis, became the great hero of the American navy—both in his own time and to later generations of Americans. French […]

The Boston Massacre and the Boston Tea Party

Robert J. Allison
February 21, 2013

The people of Massachusetts had more power over their own government than anyone else in the British Empire. Bitterness and resentment festered among these independent-minded colonists as the Crown raised taxes on American goods and sent soldiers to enforce the new policies. These rising tensions eventually led to outward expressions of resistance, most notably the […]

The South in the American Revolution

Walter Edgar
January 4, 2013

For the latter part of the American War of Independence, the British focused on taking control of the South. They captured Savannah and Charleston and launched a campaign to crush rebels in the Carolinas and Virginia. George Washington responded to the threat by entrusting Nathanael Greene with command the American army in the South. Greene […]

The Seven Years’ War

Julia Osman
July 24, 2012

Winston Churchill called the Seven Years’ War the first world war. Yet, Americans typically think of this conflict only in terms of its North American theater, where it is most often referred to as the French and Indian War. The Seven Years’ War was a much bigger conflict involving world powers France, England, Prussia, Hanover […]

Rochambeau and Lafayette

Julia Osman
July 24, 2012

The marquis de Lafayette and the comte de Rochambeau were each vital to the fight for American independence, but they took different paths to their service in the American war. Unlike most other French officers, Lafayette did not seek a position in the American army to bolster his military resume or to simply follow his […]

Victory at Yorktown

Julia Osman
July 24, 2012

In August 1781, British commander Lord Cornwallis moved his troops to Yorktown, Virginia, hoping he could more easily receive supplies and reinforcements via the York River, near the Chesapeake Bay. Professor Osman details the events that followed, leading to the allied victory at Yorktown. The allied Franco-American forces, most under the command of the comte […]

King Louis XVI

Julia Osman
July 24, 2012

King Louis XVI’s people called him the “Liberating King” for his support of the American Revolution, so how did he end up beheaded at the guillotine? Professor Osman assesses Louis XVI’s conduct during the American and French Revolutions and how he met his downfall. The fortune he spent in support of the American War of […]