External Knowledge Training

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Physics - Introductory Berkeley course

Main article: Physics - Introductory Berkeley course

History - The American Revolution - Yale course

This is an open Yale course[1]

Introduction: Freeman's Top Five Tips for Studying the Revolution

"Professor Freeman offers an introduction to the course, summarizing the readings and discussing the course's main goals. She also offers five tips for studying the Revolution:

1) Avoid thinking about the Revolution as a story about facts and dates;
2) Remember that words we take for granted today, like "democracy," had very different meanings;
3) Think of the "Founders" as real people rather than mythic historic figures;
4) Remember that the "Founders" aren't the only people who count in the Revolution;
5) Remember the importance of historical contingency: that anything could have happened during the Revolution."

Being a British colonist

How did early colonists see Britain and how did the mother country look at the colonists? Gradually the cultures diverged.
"Professor Freeman discusses what it meant to be a British colonist in America in the eighteenth century. She explains how American colonists had deep bonds of tradition and culture with Great Britain. She argues that, as British colonists with a strong sense of their British liberties, settlers in America valued their liberties above all else. She also explains that many Americans had a sense of inferiority when they compared their colonial lifestyles to the sophistication of Europe. Professor Freeman discusses the social order in America during the eighteenth century, and suggests that the lack of an entrenched aristocracy made social rank more fluid in America than in Europe. She ends the lecture by suggesting that the great importance that American colonists placed on British liberties and their link with Britain helped pave the way for the Revolution."

Being a British American

"Professor Freeman discusses the differences between society in the American colonies and society in Britain in the eighteenth century. She uses examples from colonists' writings to show that the American colonies differed from British society in three distinct ways: the distinctive character of the people who migrated to the colonies; the distinctive conditions of life in British America; and the nature of British colonial administration."

"Ever at Variance and Foolishly Jealous": Intercolonial Relations

The early colonies can be grouped in three categories. In the North there were the New England colonies, in the center the Middle colonies and in the South the Southern colonies. Already these early colonies were very different in character.
Freeman tells about the differences between these colonies before they finally united in the Revolution. There's some information about young George Washington who made some blunders as a young officer.
Info on YouTube says: "Professor Freeman discusses colonial attempts to unite before the 1760s and the ways in which regional distrust and localism complicated matters. American colonists joined together in union three times before the 1760s. Two of these attempts were inspired by the necessity of self-defense; the third attempt was instigated by the British as a means of asserting British control over the colonies."

Outraged Colonials: The Stamp Act Crisis

Info on YouTube says: "Professor Freeman concludes her discussion (from the previous lecture) of the three early instances in which the American colonies joined together to form a union. She then turns to a discussion of the Stamp Act crisis, and how American colonists found a shared bond through their dissatisfaction with the Stamp Act. Faced with massive national debts incurred by the recent war with France, Prime Minister George Grenville instituted several new taxes to generate revenue for Britain and its empire. The colonists saw these taxes as signaling a change in colonial policy, and thought their liberties and rights as British subjects were being abused. These feelings heightened with the Stamp Act of 1765. Finding a shared cause in their protestations against these new British acts, Americans set the foundation for future collaboration between the colonies.
00:00 - Chapter 1. Introduction: The Albany Congress of 1754
09:32 - Chapter 2. British Budget Post-French and Indian War, and the Sugar Act
22:24 - Chapter 3. Colonial Responses to the Early Acts, and the Stamp Act
30:49 - Chapter 4. Limited Liberties in Virtual Representation and the Stamp Act
36:02 - Chapter 5. Patrick Henry on the Stamp Act and Conclusion

Resistance or Rebellion? (Or, What the Heck is Happening in Boston?)

Info on YouTube says: "Professor Freeman discusses the mounting tensions between the colonists and the British in the late 1760s and early 1770s. The Virginia Resolves were published and read throughout the colonies in 1765, and generated discussion about colonial rights and liberties. Colonies began working together to resolve their problems, and formed the Stamp Act Congress in 1765. Meanwhile, Boston was becoming more radicalized and mobs began acting out their frustration with British policies. Colonists began to believe that the British were conspiring to oppress their liberties, a belief that seemed to be confirmed when the British stationed troops in Boston. The mounting tension between the Bostonians and British troops culminated in the violence of the Boston Massacre in March 1770.

00:00 - Chapter 1. The Circulation of the Virginia Resolves
03:47 - Chapter 2. The Stamp Act Congress and Parliamentary Thoughts on the Stamp Act
10:11 - Chapter 3. Mob Protests by the Sons of Liberty
15:41 - Chapter 4. The Repeal of the Stamp Act and the Complications of the Declaratory Act
19:39 - Chapter 5. Reactions to the Townshend Acts and Samuel Adams's Propaganda
31:48 - Chapter 6. Different Viewpoints on the Boston Massacre

The Logic of Resistance

Notes copied from YouTube: "Professor Freeman lays out the logic of American resistance to British imperial policy during the 1770s. Prime Minister Lord North imposed the Intolerable Acts on Massachusetts to punish the radicals for the Boston Tea Party, and hoped that the act would divide the colonies. Instead, the colonies rallied around Massachusetts because they were worried that the Intolerable Acts set a new threatening precedent in the imperial relationship. In response to this seeming threat, the colonists formed the First Continental Congress in 1774 to determine a joint course of action. The meeting of the First Continental Congress is important for four reasons: it forced the colonists to clarify and define their grievances with Britain; it helped to form ties between the colonies; it served as a training ground for young colonial politicians; and in British eyes, it symbolized a step towards rebellion. The lecture concludes with a look at the importance of historical lessons for the colonists, and how these lessons helped form a "logic of resistance" against the new measures that Parliament was imposing upon the colonies.

00:00 - Chapter 1. Introduction: The Logic of Resistance
03:23 - Chapter 2. North's Intolerable Acts and Colonial Solidarity
11:28 - Chapter 3. The First Continental Congress
19:14 - Chapter 4. Jefferson's Dinner Party and the Influence of Enlightenment Thought on the Colonists
27:24 - Chapter 5. Jefferson's Reflection on Hamilton's Favorite Hero
35:58 - Chapter 6. The Logic of Colonial Unity from the British Perspective
45:48 - Chapter 7. Edmund Burke's Warning and Conclusion"

Who Were the Loyalists?

A question that came up in me watching this: "What legitimizes a group of people to form a new state?" According to Freeman, about half of the Americans sided with the Revolution and the other half with England (the Loyalists). These Loyalists appear to have been given a hard time by the 'Patriots' who wanted Revolution and liberty.

Info on YouTube reads: "The lecture first concludes the discussion of the First Continental Congress, which met in 1774. Ultimately, although its delegates represented a range of opinions, the voices of the political radicals in the Congress were the loudest. In October 1774, the Continental Congress passed both the radical Suffolk Resolves and the Declaration and Resolves, which laid out the colonists' grievances with Parliament. The Congress also sent a petition to the King which warned him that the British Parliament was stripping the American colonists of their rights as English citizens. Given such radical measures, by early 1775, many American colonists were choosing sides in the growing conflict, and many chose to be Loyalists. Professor Freeman concludes her lecture with a discussion of the varied reasons why different Loyalists chose to support the British Crown, and what kinds of people tended to be Loyalists in the American Revolution.

00:00 - Chapter 1. Introduction: The Loyalists
01:32 - Chapter 2. Radical Voices in the First Continental Congress: the Grand Council and the Suffolk Resolves
17:23 - Chapter 3. Deliberations over Declaration and Resolves, and the Impact of the Continental Association
27:49 - Chapter 4. Taking Sides: The King's Friends, or the Loyalists
37:53 - Chapter 5. Loyalist Demographics
44:46 - Chapter 6. Conclusion

Common Sense

Paine's pamphlet, Common Sense, was read widely and prepared the American mood for revolution against the British monarchy.
Info with video reads: "His lecture focuses on the best-selling pamphlet of the American Revolution: Thomas Paine's Common Sense, discussing Paine's life and the events that led him to write his pamphlet. Published in January of 1776, it condemned monarchy as a bad form of government, and urged the colonies to declare independence and establish their own form of republican government. Its incendiary language and simple format made it popular throughout the colonies, helping to radicalize many Americans and pushing them to seriously consider the idea of declaring independence from Britain.

00:00 - Chapter 1. Introduction: Voting on Voting
01:40 - Chapter 2. On Paine's Burial
05:52 - Chapter 3. Colonial Mindset during the Second Continental Congress
12:28 - Chapter 4. Serendipity and Passion: The Early Life of Thomas Paine
21:53 - Chapter 5. Major Arguments and Rhetorical Styles in Common Sense
33:45 - Chapter 6. Common Sense's Popularity and Founders' Reactions
39:16 - Chapter 7. Social Impact of the Pamphlet and Conclusion "


  1. The American Revolution by Joanne Freeman is Professor of History at Yale University.