The Era of the American Revolution


This course examines the transformation of North America wrought by the American Revolution against British rule and in favor of a union of republican states.  We will examine the lives of ordinary people as well as the actions of national leaders. In particular, we will focus on the interplay of freedom and slavery, of prosperity and poverty, and of power and dispossession. By learning the meaning and the limits of the revolution, you will deepen your own perspective on contemporary America.  This course also means to challenge and develop your abilities to reason critically from diverse evidence and to argue persuasively in support of your conclusions.


The assigned readings will probably consist of the following four books: (1) Cynthia Kierner, ed., Revolutionary America, 1750-1815 (Pearson); (2) Nicholas Creswell, Journal of Nicholas Creswell (Applewood); (3) Alan Taylor, American Revolutions (Norton); (4) James Kirby Martin and Mark Edward Lender, A Respectable Army (Wiley-Blackwell).  All are available in paperback.  There will also be some online documents assigned. 


There will be two lectures and one discussion section per week. 


The assignments will include (1) participation in discussion sections; (2) a mid-term exam; (3) a pair of short-papers of approximately 2 pages each; (4) a longer paper of approximately 5-6 pages; (5) a final exam. The course will fulfill the second writing requirement.

Corcoran Department of History
University of Virginia
Nau Hall - South Lawn
Charlottesville, VA 22904


(434) 924-7147
(434) 924-7891
M-F 8am to 4:30pm
Department Contacts