Epilogue To The Revolution; Or The Big Stuff You Should've Caught

“Oh, what, you want it in a single sentence? Fine, here you go.”

The epilogue to the Revolution. After enjoying the stories of Revolutionary America (1763-1789), it’s time to make sure you didn’t lose the big picture before we dive into the Early Republic. So today, we’ll cover: (1) the main causes of the Revolution; (2) the highlights of the war; (3) the bare essentials of the peace process and making the US Constitution; and (4) who won and who lost (beyond the obvious).

College students who blew off the first few weeks of class and are now cramming for that midterm on the American Revolution: you’re welcome.

 

Q&A with The HTDS Team

"I'd say you know more than 90 percent of the American population about the American Revolution at this point."

This is the story... of your questions! Rather than telling you a story this week, Greg sits down with the rest of the History That Doesn't Suck team (Joshua Beatty and Cielle Salazar) and talks through questions submitted by you, the listeners!

Podcast

 

15: “We the People:” Constitution Making in Philly

What even is the Virginia Plan but democracy checked by democracy, or pork with a little change of the sauce?”

 

This is the story of 55 men from 12 of the 13 sovereign states gathered at the Pennsylvania State House during the miserably hot Philadelphian summer of 1787. They are here to discuss the failing Articles of Confederation. 

Foreign debts are past due. Rebellions are rising. The states are fighting. Can they fix all of this? Or will the disagreeing, arguing, threatening, theorizing, brainstorming, (mostly) sober-speech making, and compromising all be for naught?

 

14: Peace in Paris; Turmoil in New York

“I have not only grown gray but almost blind in service to my country.”

 

This is the story (or tale) of two cities. In Paris, Ben Franklin, John Adams, John Jay and (briefly) Henry Laurens negotiate the terms of American independence. They’ll out maneuver the greatest powers on earth and defy Congress as they negotiate the greatest achievement in American diplomatic history.

 

Meanwhile, officers in the Continental army are done with Congress’s broken promises. They’re even considering violence … could a military coup end the American experiment before the peace treaty is even signed?

 

Help us George Washington. You’re our only hope.

13: The World Turns Upside Down at Yorktown

“The British officers in general behaved like boys who had been whipped at school.”

This is the story of the beginning of the Revolution’s end. Lord Cornwallis swears the British need to take the fight to Virginia. He’s got Thomas Jefferson and Lafayette on the run.

 

But at the same time, French General Rochambeau and Admiral de Grasse are ready to give George Washington some serious support ... enough support that the Americans just might turn the world upside down.


Ep 12: An American Judas Betrays & Nathanael Greene Saves! 

“Arnold has betrayed us! Whom can we trust now?”

This isn’t a story of betrayal; this is the story of betrayal. After half a decade of giving his all for the Patriot cause, Benedict Arnold becomes America’s Judas Iscariot. He betrays his brothers in arms for a commission in the British army and cold hard cash (even more than 30 pieces of silver). 


Meanwhile, Lord Cornwallis has Georgia and South Carolina well in hand. Now his sights are set on North Carolina and maybe even Virginia! Can anyone stop him? When all else fails … send the Quaker. Welcome to the South, Nathanael Greene.

Ep 11: Southern Discomfort: Savannah & Charleston Captured, Slavery, Massacres, & 1779’s Sundries

“I reject your proposals … and shall defend myself to the last extremity.”

 

This is the story of the Revolution's new hot spot: the South. Down here, British leaders hope to score some quick victories with the help of enslaved Americans and Loyalists. This new "Southern Strategy" enjoys a strong start. It will cause the greatest losses of the whole war for the Americans. 

But other important events are happening all over the globe in 1779, too. The Continental dollar's inflation is getting out of hand. Spain is entering the war. Battles are being fought all over the globe. Massacres of all sorts are happening.

But we'll keep the focus on the South ... and on that guy whose body gets flung against the steeple of a church.

 

Ep. 10: Dueling, Life Sucks at Valley Forge, von Steuben's Cool & the Battle of Monmouth

“Stand fast, my boys, and receive your enemy!”

 

This is the story of a miserable winter and the summer of 1778. It's full of conniving, vengeance, honor, and starvation.

 

George's political enemies learn the hard way not to mess with him. We'll have two duels in this episode alone. Most of this goes down during a grim winter at Valley Forge, where one fourth of the Continental Army will die from exposure and starvation. But it's not all bad news in this deadly winter's camp; von Steuben's teaching the Americans how to fight like pros.

They're going to need those new skills. It's getting real at the Battle of Monmouth. 

Ep. 9: (Almost) Everything Important in 1777—Saratoga, Lafayette & George Returns Gen. Howe's Dog

“If old England is not by this lesson taught humility, then she is an obstinate old slut, bent upon her ruin.”

 

This is the story of 1777. Playboy and playwright "Gentleman Johnny" is leading a Canadian-based invasion of upstate New York (seriously, why are those Canadians so militaristic?). It's a tale of egos. From Gentleman Johnny to the American side, a lot of dudes are looking out for "number one." The outcome of Gentleman Johnny's invasion helps Ben Franklin score a full-on military alliance avec la France.

Meanwhile, George Washington throws down with General Howe in PA. George loses battles; Howe loses his dog. George's also about to throw down with haters in military leadership and Congress. He'll do so while facing the harsh cold at Valley Forge.

Christmas Special: George Wishes Some Hessians a Merry F'ing Christmas

"These are the times that try men's souls."

This is the story of the Battle of Trenton. George crosses another ice-filled river, this time on Christmas Day. Plenty will go wrong, but at the end of it... he's about to get off the naughty list.

Ep. 8 “From Independence to NY & NJ (meeting A. Ham, the execution of Nathan Hale & Charles Lee is a Sneaky Bastard)”

“I wish there was a war.”

 

This is the story of independence and crushed hope. Congress is finally declaring independence and it’s not a straight forward process. We’ll listen to different delegates argue passionately for and against it. Then we follow the war to New York where we’ll meet Alexander Hamilton and get the backstory of his rough childhood in the Caribbean and how he ended up in the Big Apple. After hanging out with Alex, we’ll hook up with George Washington who’s just come to New York, too.

 

He’s going to have a harder go in NYC than he did in Boston. Much harder …

Ep. 7: An Olive Branch Rejected, Tom's a Royal Pain(e), & the Siege of Boston

“Remember it is the fifth of March, and avenge the death of your brethren!”

This is the story of the expiration of hope for reconciliation between the American colonies and the "Mother Country." Bunker Hill's a blood bath. Congress sends King George III their "Olive Branch Petition;" it's D.O.A. Things only devolve further as Thomas Paine rips the King a new one in his  #colonialviral pamphlet, Common Sense. Meanwhile, Captain Aaron Burr witnesses the death of General Montgomery in Quebec and Henry Knox moves cannons over 300 miles to General Washington in Cambridge.

 

The Virginian digs his new toys.  Time to move on Boston.

Ep. 6: "The Shot Heard Round The World"

“Fire, for God’s sake, fire!”

This is the story of the first battle of the American Revolution on April 19, 1775. We're in Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts. Between Lexington's Green, Concord's North Bridge, and Colonel Smith's troops returning to Boston, 49 Americans and 73 Redcoats die.

 

The battle and ongoing friction will also cause the Second Continental Congress to create an army. But who can lead it?

 

Welcome back to the story, George Washington.

 

Ep. 5: "Delenda est Bostonia:" a Congress, Paul Rides, &, the First Shot at Lexington

"Lay down your arms, you damned rebels, or you are all dead men."

 

This is the story of the First Continental Congress and the build up to the Battle of Lexington and Concord. Delegates from 12 of the 13 colonies air their grievances against Parliament, and it doesn't go well. Paul Revere goes for a ride. Rather than making it to Concord, he gets to listen to soldiers threat to "blow his brains out." The next morning, shots are fired at Lexington.

War is here. British America will never be the same.

Ep. 4: "Boston Harbor A Tea-Pot This Night:" The"Too Big To Fail" East India Company & The Boston Tea Party 

"We have only been making a little salt-water tea."

 

This is the story of the Boston Tea Party. The East India Company and the needs of the global British Empire are intertwined, and Parliament wants the American colonies to foot the bill by drinking the company's tea. The tea is sent to America on seven ships. Four head to Boston. Three will make it.

 

To be clear: the ships make it. The tea won't.

Ep. 3: "Clean My Sh*t House!" From John Hancock's Loss of a ship to the Boston Massacre  

"Damn you, fire, be the consequences what it will!"

This is the story of the Boston Massacre from two perspectives. There's the Patriot version, where murderous soldiers terrorize, then fire into a crowd of 40 "lads" throwing snowballs. Then there's the Loyalist version, where 100 armed Bostonians assault the King's soldiers, forcing them to fire at the mob to save their own lives. Here, both are told in detail.

Ep. 2: Patrick Henry and Boston Get Pissed about Taxes ... so Patrick Talks While Boston Breaks and Burns Stuff

"Treason!"

 

This is the story of Virginia's Patrick Henry. He is a dangerous combination: young, idealistic, and persuasive. Patrick has a silver tongue that's going to light up some serious American furry against the Stamp Act.

Boston's going to light up with these ideas, too ... but also ... with fire. Actual, real, fire.

Ep. 1: That One Time When George Washington Sort of Triggered an International War and Set the Revolution in Play Back in the 1750s 

Untrained. Inexperienced. Too young. Completely Outgunned.

 

This is the story of a 22 year-old George Washington as commander of a 400-man army fighting the French, as well as the deaths, backcountry experience, and finagling, that put him there.

 

He fails. Miserably. But not without triggering a war between France and Britain that will change the American colonies' relationship to the British Crown forever.

Ep. 0: Preamble 

I the Professor, in order to give you a more perfect podcast, establish my goals, insure you know who I am, provide for your common entertainment, promote a generally historical education, and do ordain and establish this little five-minute intro episode for History that Doesn't Suck.

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Last updated January 14, 2020.