History of the American Revolution – Founding of the U.S. Government – 1775-1789


Free online books about the history of the American Revolution, including causes of the Revolution and the Revolutionary War. Also includes the period afterward, of government under the Articles of Confederation through the adoption of the Constitution.

 
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U.S. History – Revolution & After, 1775-1789

American Revolution (1775-1783) Collection

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A Naval History of the American Revolution

– Volume 2

Allen, Gardner W.
1913        Dewey Dec.    973.3

“Scholarly, detailed history of maritime activities of both cruisers and privateers in the war of independence. Based on thorough study of the original sources from which it quotes largely. Nineteen illustrations from portraits and contemporary pictures, 14 maps, bibliography and index.” – Standard Catalog 1929

Contents: 1. The Opening of Hostilities, 1775 2. Naval Administration and Organization 3. Washington’s Fleet, 1775 and 1776 4. The New Providence Expedition, 1776 5. Other events on the Sea in 1776 6. Lake Champlain, 1776 7. Naval Operations in 1777 8. Foreign Relations, 1777 9. Naval Operations in 1778 10. European Waters in 1778

As If an Enemy’s Country: The British Occupation of Boston and the Origins of Revolution

Archer, Richard
Oxford Univ. 2010        Dewey Dec.    973.3

“The uniqueness of Archer’s superbly crafted tale lies in his discussion of how the politics of nonimportation polarized the elite of Boston society on the eve of revolution.” Libr J.

Contents: Introduction : a garrisoned town — Grenville’s innovation — On the brink — Power and the opposition — An accommodation of sorts — The Townshend blunder — A momentous decision — Camping on the Common — Occupation — The merchants and John Mein — Prelude to a tragedy — The massacre on King Street — Aftermath — Conclusion : a revolutionary legacy

Broadsides and Bayonets; the Propaganda War of the American Revolution

Berger, Carl
Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania 1961        Dewey Dec.    973.3

Originally published in 1961, author Carl Berger has “attempted to encompass the story of propaganda and subversion in the American Revolutionary War. The archives and literature of the Revolution contain many intriguing references to “secret arts and machinations,” some relating to incidents familiar to us, others touching on events long forgotten. This book for the first time brings them together in a single narrative, examining their role and importance.” -Publisher

Contents: American Propaganda and the Straggle for Canada – The Campaign to Win the Indians’ Allegiance – The Incitement of Negro Insurrection – The Campaign to Subvert the Hessians – Propaganda and Military Operations – Kidnappings, Rumors, and Bribes – Overseas Propaganda – Washington, Congress, and the Declaration of Independence: Epilogue

A History of the American Revolution

First published in London under the superintendence of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. Improved with maps and other illustrations

Blake, John Lauris
NY: Harper 1846        Dewey Dec.    973.3

Reverend John Lauris Blake (1788-1857) was a Congregational minister from New Hampshire. He was a founder of ‘Ladies’ Magazine’ and headmaster of the Cornhill School for Young Ladies.

Battles of the American Revolution. 1775-1781. Historical and Military Criticism, with Topographical Illustration

Carrington, Henry B.
NY: Barnes 1876        Dewey Dec.    973.3

Henry Beebee Carrington (1824-1912) was a lawyer, professor, author and an officer in the Union Army during the Civil War, when he was promoted to Brigadier General while serving as an intelligence officer. He authored at least a dozen books, published between 1847 and 1910.

Selected Articles about Military History

The War of the American Revolution: Narrative, Chronology, and Bibliography

Coakley, Robert W. and Conn, Stetson
Washington: Center of Military History, U.S. Army 1975        Dewey Dec.    973.3

This publication was produced by the U.S. Army’s Center of Military History in conjunction with the celebration of the U.S. Bicentennial, specifically to commemorate the Continental Army of the Revolutionary War. The purpose was to provide a “ready reference” for study of the Continental Army, a “distillation of existing scholarship in the form of a summary and chronology of events, and a bibliography which provides the basis for additional reading, study, or research.” -Preface

Science and the Founding Fathers: Science in the Political Thought of Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams & James Madison

Cohen, I. Bernard
Norton 1995        Dewey Dec.    973.3

The author “analyzes how Jefferson, Franklin, Adams and Madison incorporated their scientific beliefs and knowledge into their political lives. Cohen examines each man’s scientific education and then searches for examples of how that knowledge was expressed in their published works. He looks closely at phrases from the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and shows that they have a Newtonian basis.” Libr J.

American Prisoners of the Revolution

Dandridge, Danske
Charlottesville, VA: Michie 1911        Dewey Dec.    973.3

Caroline “Danske” Dandridge (1854-1914) was a daughter of the first U.S. Ambassador to Denmark. She married a farmer in Shepherdstown, VA, and began in the 1880s to write poetry for the “New York Independent” and other periodicals. From 1891 to 1904 she turned to writing gardening articles and works on American history.

Contents: (First 14 or 40 chapter headings) Introductory – The riflemen of the revolution – Names of some of the prisoners of 1776 – The prisoners of New York–Jonathan Gillett – William Cunningham, the provost marshal – The case of Jabez Fitch – The hospital doctor–a Tory’s account of New York in 1777–Ethan Allen’s account of the prisoners – The account of Alexander Graydon – A foul page of English history – A boy in prison – The newspapers of the revolution – The Trumbull papers and other sources of information – A journal kept in the provost – Further testimony of cruelties endured by American prisoners

A Struggle for Power: The American Revolution

Draper, Theodore
Times 1996        Dewey Dec.    973.3

An “elegantly written, masterful study … Drawing freely on period pamphlets, letters, petitions, travelogues and assembly minutes, the author vividly evokes the populist discontent, intellectual gymnastics and mob violence that led to revolution.” Publ Wkly

Contents: An accession of power — Speculative reasoners — He is the patriot — Fashionable reading — What subordination? What obedience? — This million doubling — A sort of independency — Combustible material — The winners, and the losers — Our British privileges — Patchwork government — The very foundations of this kingdom are sinking — We are therefore, SLAVES — Flattering whispers of independency — Blood in the streets — If this be not a tyranny — The dye is now cast — To raise a flame — The Rubicon passed — A degree of importance.

Sister Revolutions: French Lightning, American Light

Dunn, Susan
Faber and Faber 1999        Dewey Dec.    973.3

“In a narrative style, with particular emphasis on lively portraits of major actors, Dunn (French literature, history of ideas, Williams College) traces the legacies of the American and French revolutions through modern history and up to the revolutionary movements of our own time. She examines why the two revolutions followed such different trajectories, and asks what influence these two different visions of democracy had on modern history. Her combination of history and political analysis will appeal to all who take an interest in the way democratic nations are governed.” -Publisher

Contents: Sister revolutions — Revolutionary leadership — Conflict or consensus? — Revolutionary talk, revolutionary stage — Declaring–and denying–rights — Enlightenment legacies — On “Her majesty’s loyal opposition” — The Bill of Rights — Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen.”

The lives of many historical figures are covered in books on our Biography Page

Death or Liberty: African Americans and Revolutionary America

Egerton, Douglas R.
Oxford Univ. 2009        Dewey Dec.    973.3

“Seizing the unprecedented opportunities presented by the Revolutionary War, thousands of enslaved Americans – including slaves owned by Jefferson and Washington – made their own declarations of independence and undertook the arduous and perilous journey from slave to freedom. Now, for the first time, the scores of recent investigations of black participation in the American Revolution have been synthesized into an elegant and seamless narrative.” historian Woody Holton

Contents: The trials of William Lee: A life in the age of revolution — Equiano’s world: The British Atlantic Empire in 1763 — Richard’s cup: Slavery and the coming of the revolution — The transformation of Colonel Tye: Black combatants and the war — Quok Walker’s suit: Emancipation in the North — Absalom’s “meritorious service” : Antislavery in the Upper South — Captain Vesey’s cargo: Continuity in Georgia and the Carolinas — Mum Bett takes a name: The emergence of free Black communities — Harry Washington’s Atlantic crossings: The migrations of Black loyalists — A suspicion only: Racism in the Early Republic — Eli Whitney’s cotton engine: Expansion and rebellion — General Gabriel’s flag: Unsuccessful coda to the revolution.

Domestic History of the American Revolution

Ellet, Elizabeth Fries Lummis
Lippincott 1850        Dewey Dec.    973.3

The object of this work is ” … to exhibit the spirit and character of the Revolutionary period; to portray, as far as possible in so brief a record, the social and domestic condition of the times, and the state of feeling among the people, with something of the services and experience of a class not usually noticed among those whose names live in historical remembrance. With this view, a short and comprehensive narrative of the successive events of the war is interspersed with domestic details and anecdotes illustrative of the state of the country at various intervals.” – Author’s Preface

Contents: (First 12 of 27 chapters) The British Colonies in North America – Difficulties with Great Britain – Commencement of the War – State of Society—Female Influence—Evacuation of Boston—Attempt at the South—Battle of Moore’s Creek – Declaration of Independence—Female Spy—Battle of Long Island – Occupation of New York—State of the Country—Retreat through New Jersey—American Successes – Sentiment of Europe—Winter Quarters—New Attempt on Philadelphia—Occupation—March of Burgoyne—Murder of Jane McCrea – The Battles of Saratoga—the Prisoners at Cambridge – Female Agency—Valley Forge—State of Philadelphia – British Prisons in New York – British Prison Ships—The Illicit Trade on Long Island Sound—Whaleboat Warfare – The French Alliance—The Mischianza—Battle of Monmouth—Condition of the Country

The Fathers of the Constitution; a Chronicle of the Establishment of the Union

Farrand, Max
New Haven: Yale University 1921        Dewey Dec.    973.3

Contents: The treaty of peace — Trade and industry — The Confederation — The Northwest Ordinance — Darkness before dawn — The Federal Convention — Finishing the work — The union established — Appendix. The Declaration of independence, 1776 — Articles of confederation, 1777 — The Northwest territorial government, 1787 — Constitution of the United States, 1787.

Setting the World Ablaze: Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and the American Revolution

Ferling, John E.
Oxford Univ. 2000        Dewey Dec.    973.3

“The story of the American Revolution and of the three Founders who played crucial roles in winning the War of Independence and creating a new nation: George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson. Braiding three strands into one rich narrative, John Ferling brings these American icons down from their pedestals to show them as men of flesh and blood, and in doing so gives us a new understanding of the passion and uncertainty of the struggle to form a new nation… ‘Setting the World Ablaze’ shows in dramatic detail how these conservative men–successful members of the colonial elite–were transformed into radical revolutionaries.” -Publisher

Signers of the Declaration: Historic Places Commemorating the Signing of the Declaration of Independence

Ferris, Robert G., ed.
U.S. Dept. of Interior, National Park Service 1975        Dewey Dec.    973.91

This is a volume in the series, “The National Survey of Historic Sites and Buildings”. Part I: Signers of the Declaration: Historical Background. Part II: Signers of the Declaration: Biographical Sketches. Part III: Signers of the Declaration: Survey of Historic Sites and Buildings. Part III has profiles for approximately 55 buildings and sites identified with the signers. There appears to be a photo included for each site.

The True History of the American Revolution

Fisher, Sydney George
Philadelphia: Lippincott 1912        Dewey Dec.    973.3

Contents: Early Conditions and Causes – Smuggling, Rioting, and Revolt against Control – Parliament passes a Stamp Tax and repeals it – Parliament taxes Paint, Paper, and Glass, and then Abandons Taxation – The Tea Episode – The Final Argument – The Rights of Man – A Reign of Terror for the Loyalists – The Real Intention as to Independence – The Continental Congress – The Situation in England – Triumphant Toryism – Lexington and the Number of the Loyalists – The Second Continental Congress and the Protests of the Loyalists – Bunker Hill – The Character and Condition of the Patriot Army – The Attack upon Canada – The Evacuation Of Boston And The Declaration of Independence – The Battle Of Long Island – The Battles Of Trenton And Princeton – The Battle Of Brandywine – The Battle Of Saratoga And Its Results – Clinton Begins The Wearing-Out Process – Arnold, The Loyalist, Tries To Save The British Empire – Cornwallis Brings the War to an End at Yorktown

The American Revolution

– Volume 2

Fiske, John
Houghton Mifflin 1891        Dewey Dec.    973.3

“An unusually successful work written in a delightful style.” – Standard Catalog 1929
Mr. Fiske’s book ought to be in every high school and college library in the country, and, indeed, bought and read by everyone who can afford to buy books at all. – Lit. of American History (1902)

Contents: Volume I: 1. The Beginnings 2. The Crisis 3. The Continental Congress 4. Independence 5. First Blow at the Centre 6. Second Blow at the Centre 7. Saratoga
Volume II: 8. The French Alliance 9. Valley Forge 10. Monmouth and Newport 11. War on the Frontier 12. War on the Ocean 13. A Year of Disasters 14. Benedict Arnold 15. Yorktown

The Critical Period of American History, 1783-1789

Fiske, John
Cambridge: Riverside 1902        Dewey Dec.    973.3

Contents: Results of Yorktown — Thirteen commonwealths — League of friendship — Drifting toward anarchy — Germs of national sovereignty — Federal convention — Crowning the work

American Archives: Fifth Series. Containing a documentary history of the United States of America …

from the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776, to the definitive treaty of peace with Great Britain, September 3, 1783″. Three volumes

Force, Peter, comp.
Washington: Government Printing Office(?) 1848-1853        Dewey Dec.    973.3

“American archives: consisting of a collection of authentick records, state papers, debates, and letters and other notices of publick affairs, the whole forming a documentary history of the origin and progress of the North American colonies; of the causes and accomplishment of the American Revolution; and of the Constitution of government for the United States, to the final ratification thereof”

Washington’s Secret War: The Hidden History of Valley Forge

Fleming, Thomas J.
Smithsonian Books 2005        Dewey Dec.    973.3

“A superb retelling of the story of Valley Forge and its aftermath, demonstrating that reality is far more compelling than myth.” – Gordon S. Wood.

“The defining moments of the American Revolution did not occur on the battlefield or at the diplomatic table, writes New York Times bestselling author Thomas Fleming, but at Valley Forge. Fleming transports us to December 1777. While the British army lives in luxury in conquered Philadelphia, Washington’s troops huddle in the barracks of Valley Forge, fending off starvation and disease even as threats of mutiny swirl through the regiments. Though his army stands on the edge of collapse, George Washington must wage a secondary war, this one against the slander of his reputation as a general and patriot… Written with his customary flair and eye for human detail and drama, Thomas Fleming’s gripping narrative develops with the authority of a major historian and the skills of a master storyteller. Washington’s Secret War is not only a revisionist view of the American ordeal at Valley Forge – it calls for a new assessment of the man too often simplified into an American legend. This is narrative history at its best and most vital.” -Publisher

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Tom Paine and Revolutionary America

Foner, Eric
Oxford Univ. 1976        Dewey Dec.    973.3

“A critical biography of the Revolutionary pamphleteer, exploring the origins, expression, and impact of his ideas and the place of his radical ideology in the eighteenth-century world. Eric Foner is the preeminent historian of his generation. His books have won the top awards in the profession, and he has been president of both major history organizations, the American Historical Association and the Organization of American Historians.” -Publisher

Contents: The making of a radical — Paine’s Philadelphia — Common sense and Paine’s republicanism — Paine, the Philadelphia radicals, and the political revolution of 1776 — Price controls and laissez-faire : Paine and the moral economy of the American crowd — Paine and the new nation — Epilogue : England, France, and America.

The Day of Concord and Lexington; the Nineteenth of April, 1775

French, Allen
Little, Brown 1925        Dewey Dec.    973.3

“An extremely interesting narrative of the 19th of April, 1775, based on original documents and the evidence of eye witnesses. There is a discussion of military tactics and of the weapons used. It is illustrated from old prints and photographs. Bibliography”- A.L.A. Catalog 1926

Contents: 1. The Nineteenth in History 2. The General Situation 3. Boston in 1774-1775 4. American Preparations 5. Flintlocks and Marksmanship 6. Both Sides Make Ready 7. Gage and his Problem 8. The Evening of April 18th 9. Paul Revere and William Dawes 10. Revere’s Ride 11. The News in Lexington 12. The Firing at Lexington 13. American Testimony on Lexington 14. British Statements 15. Doolittle’s Picture, and British Tactics 16. The Provincials at Lexington 17. Concord in 1775 18. The Provincials Retreat before the British 19. The Regulars in Concord 20. The Search for Military Stores 21. Concord Fight 22. British Tactics Again 23. William Emerson at the Fight 24. The Americans on the Jones Hill 25. The Boy and his Hatchet 26. Meriam’s Corner 27. Smith’s Desperate Case 28. The Rescue 29. Percy’s Halt in Lexington 30. The Fight in Menotomy 31. The American Fire 32. Pickering’s Chance 33. The British Reach Safety 34. Summary 35. Bibliography

The American Revolution Considered as a Social Movement

Jameson, J. Franklin
Beacon 1956        Dewey Dec.    973.3

“Four lectures delivered at Princeton [in 1925] picturing vividly the social background and conditions of the revolutionary period. “To those attracted by such a subject these lectures are an illuminating introduction and guide. It need not be said that the scholarship is impeccable, the style is polished, and that, above all, the outlook is broad and thoughtful.” – American Historical Review

Contents: 1. The Revolution and the Status of Persons 2. The Revolution and the Land 3. Industry and Commerce 4. Thought and Feeling

Saratoga: Turning Point of America’s Revolutionary War

Ketchum, Richard M.
Holt 1997        Dewey Dec.    973.3

“In the summer of 1777 (twelve months after the Declaration of Independence) the British launched an invasion from Canada under General John Burgoyne. It was the campaign that was supposed to end the rebellion, but it resulted in a series of battles that changed America’s history and that of the world. Stirring narrative history, skillfully told through the perspective of those who fought in the campaign, Saratoga brings to life as never before the inspiring story of Americans who did their utmost in what seemed a lost cause, achieving what proved to be the crucial victory of the Revolution.” -Book jacket

Contents: The secret mission — They wish to see our throats cut — The enemy’s plans are dark and mysterious — To effect a junction with Howe’s forces — A matter of personal interest and fame — A theater of glory — The scalping knife and the gospel — The scene thickens fast — The most delicate and dangerous undertaking — I have beat them! — The wolves came down from the mountains — Considerable difficulties may be expected — The rebels will chicane you — Giving stretch to the Indians — The dismal place of Bennington — A continual clap of thunder — The moment is decisive — We had something more at stake — I will make a push in about ten days — They poured down like a torrent from the hill — All remains still like Sunday — The king fell into agonies.

The American Revolution 1763-1783, being the Chapters and Passages relating to America from the Author’s History of England in the Eighteenth Century

Lecky, William Edward Hartpole
Appleton 1898        Dewey Dec.    973.3

William Edward Hartpole Lecky (1838-1903) was an Irish historian whose major achievement was the 8-volume ‘History of England during the Eighteenth Century’, published from 1878 to 1890. This book consists of excerpts from that 8-volume work, differing from most of the books on this web page in that events of the Revolution are told from the British perspective. “American history, like recent American politics, is to be studied in the light of Europe. European interests and movements have frequently been the dominant factors in events of our national history, and the American citizen’s intelligence of that history is too meagre if he has his knowledge merely in the study of American subjects from American schoolbooks and American authors.” – Editor’s Introduction

Selected Articles about How Historians Work

American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence

Maier, Pauline
Vintage 1998        Dewey Dec.    973.3

“Pauline Maier shows us the Declaration as both the defining statement of our national identity and the moral standard by which we live as a nation. It is truly “American Scripture,” and Maier tells us how it came to be — from the Declaration’s birth in the hard and tortuous struggle by which Americans arrived at Independence to the ways in which, in the nineteenth century, the document itself became sanctified… Finally, she shows how by the very act of venerating the Declaration as we do — by holding it as sacrosanct, akin to holy writ — we may actually be betraying its purpose and its power.” -Publisher

Contents: Introduction: Gathering at the shrine — Independence: Congress ; Independence? ; Common sense ; A republic? ; Decision — The “other” declarations of independence: In English ways ; Mobilizing the people ; Declaring independence ; Founding a republic — Mr. Jefferson and his editors: The drafting committee ; Jefferson’s draft : the charges against the King ; Jefferson’s draft : a revolutionary manifesto ; Congress’s declaration — American scripture: Spreading the news ; An all-but-forgotten testament ; A partisan document ; Sacred text ; Equality and rights — Epilogue: Reflecting at the memorials — Appendix A: State and local declarations of independence, a log : April-July 1776 — Appendix B: Local resolutions on independence : some examples — Appendix C: The Declaration of Independence : the Jefferson draft with Congress’s editorial changes

From Resistance to Revolution: Colonial Radicals and the Development of American Opposition to Britain, 1765-1776

Maier, Pauline
Norton 1991        Dewey Dec.    973.3

“An intellectual interpretation of the American revolution that raises it to a new height of comprehensiveness and significance… A superbly detailed account of the ideological escalation of the decade from 1765 to 1776 that brought Americans to revolution.” Gordon S. Wood, NY Times Book Review.

Contents: PART ONE: TRADITIONS – Popular Uprisings and Civil Authority – An Ideology of Resistance and Restraint – PART TWO: RESISTANCE – The Stamp Act Riots and Ordered Resistance, 1765 – The Intercolonial Sons of Liberty and Organized Resistance, 1765—1766 – Resistance in Transition, 1767—1770 – PART THREE: FROM RESISTANCE TO REVOLUTION – The International Sons of Liberty and the Ministerial Plot, 1768—1770 – The Implication of the King, 1770—1772 – The Making of an American Revolution, 1772—1776 – Republicans, By Choice

The American Revolution: A Constitutional Interpretation

McIlwain, Charles Howard
Great Seal 1923        Dewey Dec.    973.3

“The writer, who is (in 1929) professor of history and government in Harvard university, interprets the constitutional issues involved in the American revolution and examines the legality of the claims of the colonists to freedom from parliamentary control. The conflicting constitutional views of the Americans and of the English parliament are compared and judged on their respective merits and the American rather than the English view of the authority of Parliament is upheld.” Book Review Digest
“Professor Mcllwain has performed a service for which all students of politics will be grateful. In giving us a view of the American Revolution solely from the angle of constitutional law, he has attempted something which has long been overdue.” Canadian Historical Review.

Contents: 1. Introduction – The Problem 2. The Precedents – The Realm and the Dominions Note to Chapter 2 3. The Precedents – Natural and Fundamental Law – Taxation and Virtual Representation – The Charters 4. Conclusion

The Confederation and the Constitution 1783-1789 (American Nation, Vol. 10)

McLaughlin, Andrew Cunningham
Harper & Brothers 1905        Dewey Dec.    973.3

“Treats of the course of events from the final defeat of Cornwallis to the establishment of the federal constitution. Contains maps and a critical essay on authorities “Shows a firm grasp of detail and perspective. The exposition is such as to leave all that is salient impressed on the scholar’s mind.” Outlook

Contents: 1. The End of the Revolution (1781-1782) 2. The Treaty of Paris (1782-1784) 3. The Problem of Imperial Organization (1775-1787) 4. Poverty and Peril (1781-1783) 5. Commercial and Financial Conditions (1783-1786) 6. Diplomatic Relations (1783-1788) 7. Founding a Colonial System (1783-1787) 8. Founding of New Commonwealths (1787-1788) 9. Paper Money (1781-1788) 10. Shay’s Rebellion (1786-1788) 11. Proposals to Alter the Articles of Confederation (1781-1786) 12. Plan for a National Government (1787) 13. Shall the Confederation be Patched Up? (1787) 14. The Great Compromise (1787) 15. The Law of the Land (1787) 16. Further Compromises and the Conclusion of the Convention’s Work (1787) 17. The Constitution before the People (1787-1788) 18. For Better or for Worse (1788) 19. Critical Essay on Authorities

The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution, 1763-1789

Middlekauff, Robert
Oxford Univ. 1982        Dewey Dec.    973.3

Recounts the events leading up to the Revolution and discusses the major leaders, campaigns, and battles of the war. “Narrative history at its best, written in a conversational and engaging style.” Libr. J.

Contents: Prologue: Sustaining truths — Obstructed giant — Children of the twice-born — Beginnings: from the top down — Stamp Act crisis — Response — Selden’s penny — Chance and Charles Townshend — Boston takes the lead — “Bastards of England” — Drift — Resolution — War — “Half a war” — Independence — War of posts — War of maneuver — Revolution becomes a European war — War in the South — “Fugitive war” — Inside the campaigns — Outside the campaigns — Yorktown and Paris — Constitutional movement — Children of the twice-born in the 1780s — Constitutional Convention — Ratification: an end and a beginning — Epilogue: Enduring truths

Books on European history from about 1700 to the beginning of WWI at European History 1700-1914

Triumph of Freedom 1775-1783

Miller, John C.
Boston: Little Brown 1948        Dewey Dec.    973.3

Contents: A House Divided – The Leaders – The Volcano Erupts – The Loyalists – The Siege of Boston – Canadian Adventure – Supply – The Battle of Long Island – The American Crisis – Trenton – Propaganda – The Turning Point – Valley Forge – The Conway Cabal – The French Alliance – First Fruits of the Alliance – Radicals and Conservatives: The Ideological Conflict – The Deane-Lee Affair – Spanish Mediation – The Campaigns of 1779 – Crisis in England – Inflation and Its Consequences – Continental Army – The Revolution Falters – The Exploits of Lord Cornwallis – The Diplomatic Front – Prelude to Victory- Yorktown – The Peace Settlement – The Problems of Peace

Diary of the American Revolution. From Newspapers and Original Documents

– Volume 2

Moore, Frank
Scribner 1860        Dewey Dec.    973.3

“The materials of these volumes are taken from Whig and Tory newspapers, published during the American Revolution, private diaries, and other contemporaneous writings.” [from the Introduction]. The “List of Authorities” includes over 40 newspapers from around the American colonies and London, letters of five people, and diaries of five people.

The Birth of the Republic, 1763-89

Morgan, Edmund S.
Univ. of Chicago 1977        Dewey Dec.    973.3

First published 1956. “In general the author concisely and clearly covers the major topics, and he offers a well-organized and attractively written survey … it is particularly to be praised because of the sensible and judicious views offered by Morgan. He is unfair neither to Britain nor to the colonies.” -Am Hist R 1956

Contents: The Americans and the Empire — Sugar and stamps, 1764-66 — Peace without honor, 1766-68 — Troops and tea, 1768-74 — Equal rights, 1774-76 — War and peace, 1776-83 — The independent states — The independent nation, 1776-81 — “The critical period” — The constitutional convention — Ratification

An Impartial History of the War in America from its first commencement, to the present time; …

together with the charters of the several colonies, and other authentic information ; likewise, the rise, progress, and political springs of the war now carrying on between Great-Britain, and the united powers of France, Spain, Holland, and America ; with a particular account of the several engagements both by sea and land

– Volume 2

Murray, James
Newcastle upon Tyne 1782        Dewey Dec.    973.3

The progress of the war, as seen by a contemporary British observer in England.

With Fire & Sword: The Battle of Bunker Hill and the Beginning of the American Revolution

Nelson, James L.
Thorndike 2011        Dewey Dec.    973.3

“This rousing history rescues Bunker Hill from its folkloric shroud and presents it as one of the Revolution’s more significant and dramatic battles.” Publ Wkly

Contents: Part I : From resistance to rebellion. The Lexington alarm ; Dr. Joseph Warren ; “The butchering hands of an inhuman soldiery” ; Weed of slavery ; Gage’s return ; The loyal and orderly people ; A well-digested plan — Part II : Prelude to war. From the Penn to the sword ; Officers and men ; The Massachusetts Army ; Three generals ; The siege of Boston — Part III : The Battle of Bunker Hill. Charlestown Heights ; First light ; Redcoats and bluejackets ; The Battle of Bunker Hill ; Attack and repulse ; “We are all wrong at the head”

American States during and after the Revolution, 1775-1789

Nevins, Allan
Macmillan 1927        Dewey Dec.    973.3

Designs “to present a conspectus of state history, as distinguished from national history, from the organization of the first independent state agencies at the beginning of the Revolution until 1789.” Traces the growth of government in each state, describes their form of government, and discusses their relation to one another and to the central government. A volume treating of state history from 1789 to 1815 is planned. Extensive bibliography.” — A.L.A. Catalog 1926

Contents: 1. The Colonies before their Union 2. Beginnings of the Transition from Colonies to States 3. The Emergence of Popular Government 4. The Writing of the State Constitutions 5. The Constitutions in Operation: Their Revision 6. Political Development in New England 7. Political Development in the Middle States 8. Political Development: The Upper South 9. Political Development: In the Lower South 10. Progress in Liberalism and Humanity 11. The States and their Money Affairs 12. State Quarrels and State Friendships 13. The Relations of the States with Congress 14. Facing Westward: Conclusion

Revolutionary America, 1763-1800

Purvis, Thomas L.
Facts on File 1995        Dewey Dec.    973.3

A volume in the series ‘Almanacs of American Life’. “Each volume is an almanac-format compilation of intormation in statistical and tabular form, with connective text describing the detail of life during the period. Each book is enhanced by about 100 illustrations… and contains an extensive bibliography.” They provide info on climate, natural history, geography, dates of events, the economy, the population, diet and health, religion, politics & government, cities, education, arts & letters, science and technology, popular culture, crime etc. Book cover.

Revolutionaries: A New History of the Invention of America

Rakove, Jack N.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2010        Dewey Dec.    973.3

“An ambitious, intelligent exploration into the intellectual underpinnings of the Revolution.” Kirkus.

Contents: Prologue: the world beyond Worcester — Part I: The crisis — Advocates for the cause — The revolt of the moderates — The character of a general — Part II: Challenges — The first constitution makers — Vain liberators — The diplomats — Part III: Legacies — The optimist abroad — The greatest lawgiver of modernity — The state builder

The First American Revolution: Before Lexington and Concord

Raphael, Ray
New Press 2002        Dewey Dec.    973.3

“Moving from broad overviews to stories of small groups or individuals, Raphael’s study is impressive in both its sweep and its attention to the particular.” Publ Wkly

Contents: Part 1 Before the Revolution – 1. People and Place – 2. Division – Part 2 The Revolution of 1774 – 3. Intimidation – 4. Confrontation – 5. Consolidation – Part 3 Aftermath – 6. Battle Lines – 7. The End of Revolution – Epilogue: Why the Story Has Not Been Told

The Battle-fields of the Revolution, Comprising descriptions of the principal battles, sieges, and other events of the War of Independence, interspersed with characteristic anecdotes

Rhoads, Thomas Y.
Philadelphia: Bradley 1857        Dewey Dec.    973.3

Contents: The Sergeant and the Indians – Burning of the Gaspee – The Great Tea Riot – The First Prayer in Congress – Battle of Lexington – Fight at Concord Bridge – Capture of Ticonderoga Battle of Bunker’s Hill – Attack on Quebec – Attack on Sullivan’s Island – The Declaration of Independence – Firmness of Washington – Capture of General Lee – Capture of General Prescott – General Prescott, Whipped – Battle of Trenton – Battle of Princeton – General La Fayette – Battle of Brandywine – Battle of Germantown – Battle of Red Bank – Burgoyne’s Invasion — Battle of Bennington – Heroic Exploit of Peter Francisco – Andrew Jackson – Siege of Yorktown — Surrender of Cornwallis – George Rogers Clarke – Death of Captain Biddle – Patriotism of Mother Bailey – The Dutchman and the Rake – Simon Kenton – The Murder of Miss M’Crea – Massacre at Wyoming – Treason of Arnold – Patriotism of Elizabeth Zane – Stony Point – John Paul Jones – Battle of King’s Mountain – Burning of Colonel Crawford – Battle of the Cowpens – Baron Steuben – Mrs. Bozart

Books on African American history and slavery in the U.S. at History of African Americans

Men and Manners in America One Hundred Years Ago

Scudder, Horace Elisha
Scribner, Armstrong 1876        Dewey Dec.    973.3

“I have taken the period which we call a hundred years ago, keeping within the general limits of the generation which was at maturity during the War for Independence; and, rambling over the thirteen colonies, have gone to this book and that for such familiar, and oftentimes quite unliterary, accounts of contemporaneous life, as seemed likely to furnish one with a light and intelligible view of society and persons at that time.” – Author’s Preface

Correspondence of the American Revolution; Being Letters of Eminent Men to George Washington from the Time of his Taking Command of the Army to the End of his Presidency vol 1

– Volume 2

– Volume 3

– Volume 4

Sparks, Jared, ed.
Little, Brown 1853        Dewey Dec.    973.3

According to the Editor’s Preface, the letters contained here, all of which are complete, were selected from several thousand letters sent to Washington during this period. ” … it was the aim to choose such as would enlarge the reader’s knowledge of the events, characters, and opinions of the period which they embrace.” “The writers were among the most prominent actors in the political and military events of the time, and as they wrote with a full understanding of what was passing around them, and generally on topics of immediate importance, their statements possess a weight of authority and a freshness, which insure their accuracy, and enhance their interest.”
Volumes 1 and 2 have Appendixes that contain miscellaneous letters, “… designed to contribute additional facts concerning some of the large operations of the war, in which Washington was not engaged, except by a general supervision as Commander-in-chief, but which affected in a greater or less degree his own movements and plans.”

Contents: Vol. 1: 12 July 1775 to 8 October 1777; Appendix, “Operations in Canada”
Vol. 2: 9 October 1777 to 20 June 1780; Appendix, “Operations in Virginia and South Carolina”, “The Northern Army”, “Hudson’s River”
Vol. 3: 22 June 1780 to 26 February 1783
Vol. 4: 12 March 1783 to 6 February 1797; Indexes

The Writings of George Washington, being his correspondence, addresses, messages, and other papers, official and private…

selected and published from the original manuscripts; with a life of the author, notes and illustrations

Sparks, Jared, ed.
Little, Brown 1855        Dewey Dec.    973.3

This is a later edition of a collection originally published in 1837.

Contents: Vol. 1: Life of Washington [a biography by Jared Sparks]

Part First: Official Letters Relating to the French War, and Private Letters Before the American Revolution
Vol. 2: Correspondence from March 1754 to May 1775, with 14 appendices

Part Second: Correspondence and Miscellaneous Papers Relating to the American Revolution
Vol. 3: Correspondence from June 1775 to July 1776, with 15 appendices
Vol. 4: Correspondence from July 1776 to July 1777, with 15 appendices
Vol. 5: Correspondence from July 1777 to July 1778, with 18 appendices
Vol. 6: Correspondence from July 1778 to March 1780, with 8 appendices
Vol. 7: Correspondence from March 1780 to April 1781, with 10 appendices
Vol. 8: Correspondence from April 1781 to December 1783, with 15 appendices

Part Third: Private Letters from the Time Washington Resigned his Commission as Commander-in-Chief of the Army to that of his Inauguration as President of the United States
Vol. 9: Correspondence from December 1783 to April 1789, with 7 appendices

Part Fourth: Letters Official and Private, from the Beginning of his Presidency to the End of his Life
Vol. 10: Correspondence from May 1789 to November 1794, with 23 appendices
Vol. 11: Correspondence from November 1794 to December 1799, with 21 appendices

Part Fifth: Speeches and Messages to Congress, Proclamations, and Addresses
Vol. 12: Speeches to Congress, Messages to Congress, Proclamations, Addresses, 13 appendices, 7 indexes

American Tempest: How the Boston Tea Party Sparked a Revolution

Unger, Harlow G.
Da Capo 2011        Dewey Dec.    973.3

From the author of The Last Founding Father, this book is an in-depth study of the Boston Tea Party and how it defined the course of American history. It takes a critical look at the famed incident and examines its heroes and villains.

Contents: “Rally, Mohawks!” — The Saints of Boston — Mr. Cockle : the governor’s creature — The miserable state of tributary slaves — Flockwork from England — The flame is spread — A diabolical scene — A blackguard town — Farewell the tea-board — “Damn you! Fire!” — “Let every man do what is right!” — “We will never be taxed!” — “We must fight!” — Savage barbarities and diabolical cruelties — The forgotten patriots

Here was the Revolution: Historic Sites of the War for American Independence

Unrau, Harlan D., ed.
U.S. Dept. of Interior, National Park Service 1976        Dewey Dec.    973

This is a volume in the series, “The National Survey of Historic Sites and Buildings”. Part 1 is a 45-page narrative of the Revolutionary War. Part 2; “Historic Sites and Buildings of the Revolution” profiles around 140 sites that are identified with significant individuals or events of the Revolution. Photos are included for most sites.

Please visit our collection of 2,000+ selected online magazine and newspaper articles on 40+ subjects, plus online historical maps & vintage photo collections, at Century Past History Resources

The American Revolution 1776-1783 (American Nation, Vol. 9)

Van Tyne, Claude Halstead
Harper & Brothers 1905        Dewey Dec.    973.3

“The fundamental thought of this volume is that the Revolution was a close struggle, in which the Americans suffered from inexperience and from the difficulty of securing common action, and the British from ineptitude; that to a large degree it was also a civil war, in which the Tories in actual numbers were not far inferior to the patriots.” Editor’s introduction. Contains maps and a critical essay on authorities.”- Standard Catalog 1929

Contents: 1. Fundamental and Immediate Causes (1763-1775) 2. Outbreak of War (1775) 3. Organization of an Army (1775-1776) 4. Spirit of Independence (1775-1776) 5. The Campaign for Independence (1775-1776) 6. New York Accepts the Revolution (1776) 7. Contest for New York City (1776) 8. From the Hudson to the Delaware (1776) 9. Framing New State Governments (1776-1780) 10. Campaigns of Burgoyne and Howe (1777) 11. State Sovereignty and Confederation (1775-1777) 12. French Aid and French Alliance (1775-1778) 13. The Turn in the Tide in England and America (1778) 14. Civil War between Whigs and Tories (1777-1780) 15. The New West (1763-1780) 16. French Aid and American Reverses (1778-1780) 17. European Complications and End of the War (1779-1781) 18. Critical Essay on Authorities

Camp-fires of the Revolution: or, The War of Independence

illustrated by thrilling events and stories by the old Continental soldiers

Watson, Henry C.
Philadelphia: Lindsay and Blakiston 1858        Dewey Dec.    973.3

“The sufferings of the ill-furnished soldiers during the long and dreary winters of that period, and their means of whiling away the time when forced to gather around the camp-fire and watch when they had not the conveniences for sleeping, are not to be found on the dignified page of history… It is thought, a work upon the plan of the “Campfires of the Revolution” will bring the doings and the scenes of the “trying time” more vividly before the mind than the common history. Here we have the incidents of various battles, and the exploits of chieftains, told as if by eye-witnesses, and in the familiar, easily comprehended language of the farmer and mechanic soldiers of the American army.” – Author’s Preface

The Yankee Tea-party; or, Boston in 1773

Watson, Henry C.
Philadelphia: Lindsay and Blakiston 1852        Dewey Dec.    973.3

“In these pages will be found a faithful account of this glorious exploit [the Boston Tea Party], and, in connection with the other narratives, it is hoped it will kindle in the breasts of young readers an enthusiasm for liberty and a love of heroic excellence.” -Author’s Preface

The Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States (6 volumes)

Wharton, Francis, ed.
Washington: Government Printing Office 1889        Dewey Dec.    973.3

The system used to organize these volumes is unusual. Volume 1 begins with a name index of 244 pages; one of two keys to the correspondence. Following that are 23 chapters of historical and biographical background, written by the editor. This section begins with a detailed Table of Contents on pp 245-249 and continues through the end of Volume 1.
Volumes 2 through 6 contain the correspondence, beginning with a letter from Benjamin Franklin of 5 February 1775 and ending with a letter from John Jay on 4 March 1785. Volume 6 concludes with a second index, on page 831.

Please visit our large collection of books on the history of Native Americans in North America at Native American History

The Reader’s Handbook of the American Revolution 1761-1783

Winsor, Justin
Houghton Mifflin 1879        Dewey Dec.    973.3

This 300-page volume describes well over one thousand sources of information for the period. Most sections of the book address special events in the conflict, arranged chronologically. The last chapter, “General Records of the War” surveys works that cover the whole period.

Many of the books and other materials mentioned in this “Handbook” are available online for free. Learn how to find them at: Searching for Free eBooks


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