On June 9, 1772, a group of Rhode Island colonists attacked and torched the HMS Gaspee, which had been dispatched to the area by the British to enforce maritime trade laws and prevent smuggling. As Nick Bunker describes in his book An Empire on the Edge: How Britain Came to Fight America, this event widened the steadily-growing divisions between the colonists and the Crown.
In December 1776, George Washington's second-in-command, Major General Charles Lee, was captured by the British. In response, a secret mission to kidnap British General Richard Prescott was planned, with the Americans hoping to exchange him for General Lee. Christian M. McBurney's Kidnapping the Enemy shows the mission's leader, Lieutenant Colonel William Barton, preparing for the successful July 10, 1777 raid on General Prescott's sleeping quarters.
When George Washington learned the British planned to evacuate occupied Philadelphia, he had to decide whether or not to aggressively pursue the enemy. In this excerpt from Joseph G. Bilby and Katherine Bilby Jenkins' book Monmouth Court House, Washington receives opposing recommendations from his generals, who disagree on the battle-readiness of the American troops.
The American Revolution ushered in a period of increased political importance for elite women, spurred in part by valued friendships between men and women. Women gained political access, influence, and information through their male friends in political office. This adapted essay from Cassandra Good's Founding Friendships shows how crucial these friendships were as a channel for women to be informed and have their voices heard.
After the French and Indian War, tensions began to rise between Great Britain and the American colonies, particularly as the Americans grew resistant to new taxes placed on them by Parliament without American representation. This excerpt from Les Standiford's Desperate Sons describes America's increasing number of grievances with its mother country and Britain's indifference to the colonists' complaints.
As war crept up on Philadelphia in 1776, the city's leaders and residents prepared for a potential invasion by British forces. In this excerpt from Philadelphia: A 300-Year History, we see how the year's events led an uneasy population to shore up their defenses — and eventually flee.
In 1864, the Reverend E.B. Hillard published photographs and interviews of six of the last living American Revolution veterans. In The Revolution's Last Men: The Soldiers Behind the Photographs, Don N. Hagist updates Reverend Hillard's biographies with comprehensive, primary-source research to provide a richer, more accurate look at these remarkable men's lives.
Benedict Arnold's treasonous behavior during the American Revolution has earned him widespread notoriety to this day. Rarely mentioned, however, is the role his wife, Peggy Shippen, played in his betrayal. In Treacherous Beauty, authors Mark Jacob and Stephen H. Case share the fascinating story of how the machinations of a Philadelphia society girl impacted the American War of Independence.
In The American Plate: A Culinary History in 100 Bites, author Libby H. O'Connell shows how the evolution of the country can be understood through changing trends in food and drink. In this excerpt she explains the role patriotism played in leading us towards our now ubiquitous coffee culture.