Sunday, July 16, 2017

Episode 001: Introduction

Episode 1: Introduction

Listen to a podcast of this episode.

Thank you for joining me on my new project: a journey through the American Revolution. Today I embark on a new project to describe the entire American Revolution in detail. My plan is to make this a multi year project, covering all aspects of the Revolution. To some extent, I am going to see where the project leads me. But I figure it’s worth trying to say at the beginning where I think I’m going with this. I don’t mean this to become an academic work, full of footnotes and sources. I want to tell the story of the revolution in a comfortable way. Each episode will be available both a recorded podcast and a written version. Although I really hope you will listen to the podcasts rather than just read the related articles, the written version may help people who just want to look up something quickly. The written version will include some helpful maps and other illustrations on the topic. There will also be links and suggested reading materials at the bottom of each episode. Some of these are sources I have used. Others may simply be interesting works that relate to the topic of the day. Time allowing, I hope to produce one new episode each week. In each episode, I will take a look at a specific event from the war. I will try to keep each episode to around 20 minutes, give or take. Each episode should be a story that can stand on its own My plan is to move through the story of the Revolution in more or less chronological order. If you are looking for a good short overview of the Revolution, you are in the wrong place. My goal is to dig deeper into events, large and small, to create a better picture of what really happened. At the same time, it is not going to cover the most important events in as much detail as you will find in a whole book. For example, there is a great book that is nearly 600 pages long that covers Washington’s crossing of the Delaware and the battles at Trenton and Princeton. Even if I devote three or four episodes to that important event, I cannot possibly hope to cover 10% of the detail the book provides. This project will cover those key events, to be sure, but where I think it will be unique is in covering minor and less covered events, providing more details to give my audience a fuller view of of the complete war period. I will try to offer further reading suggestions for those who want to dig even deeper on any given topic. Because I plan to go through the topic in a general chronological order, it may be a while before I get to the war itself. I plan to start with a few introductory background episodes, then briefly cover the French and Indian War, which created many of the disputes that led to revolution. Then there are years of government actions and protests before we actually get to any fighting between the colonies and Britain. I’m not sure just how far I will take this podcast, but I hope to go through the events leading up to the war, the war itself, the post-war struggles, and eventually the creation of the United States Constitution. Thanks I also want to say a few words of thanks. Although he does not know me, I’ve been inspired to start this project by Mike Duncan, author of the History of Rome and Revolutions podcasts. I have listened to Mike for years and enjoy his work immensely. I was also pleasantly surprised to see that such detailed histories could become a success with a dedicated following. I would also like to thank my wife, for her unending patience and support. Although she considers this project the pinnacle of nerdiness, she has provided her cheerful support. This, despite the fact that the preparations alone, have taken over my life for well over a year. Let’s see how long that lasts. The theme music for the podcast, a fife and drum piece from the Revolutionary war era, comes from the Sturbridge Colonial Militia. It is an American Revolution reenactment group that was generous enough to post some of its music on archive.org and allow it to be shared and enjoyed in the public domain. Thanks guys! The Revolution as a Topic The American Revolution was in many ways an unlikely event. Unlike many revolutions, the American people were not exactly living in poverty as virtual slaves. By most measures, the colonists were better off than their British counterparts. Certainly the revolutionary leaders were men of wealth and influence who could have lived quiet and comfortable lives under just about any government. The fact that they took on the most powerful empire in the world seems like an amazing risk for relatively little personal benefit. The real benefits, if any, would come for their children and future descendants, while the risk and sacrifice would fall on one generation alone. That said, real history is not people always acting nobly and out of self sacrifice Like any period, it has its share of selfishness, greed, and horrific acts on both sides, as war often brings out in people. I hope to cover the good, the bad, and the ugly to give as full an account of the American Revolution as possible With all that said, let us begin.

Listen to a podcast of this episode.




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