The Revolutionary War started when a few colonists fired their muskets against the British Empire, then the world's military superpower. It ended—against all reasonable expectations— with an independent American and the ideas of liberty and self-governance spreading across the globe. All that happened because the rebels won the major battles. This podcast dives deep into each of them.
237 Years After the Revolutionary War, Some Say It Was a Mistake. Are They Right?
There are few events that would shake the world order like the success of the American Revolution. Some changes would be felt immediately. English traditions such as land inheritance laws were swept away. Other changes took longer. Slavery would not be abolished for another hundred years. Americans began to feel that their fight for liberty was a global fight. Future democracies would model their governments on the United States'.
George Washington's Spies: The Culper Ring, Nathan Hale, and the Plot to Capture Benedict Arnold
Spycraft was seen as a treacherous craft, but it was necessary to win a war. Washington knew this, as his early attempts to gather intelligence on British-occupied New York led to an execution of Nathan Hale, a young school teacher. More sophisticated networks developed, particularly the Culper Spy ring, which involved a farmer, a whaleboat captain, a tavern owner, and a slave.
The Revolutionary War Comes to an End
After Yorktown, a truce was declared in America, although some skirmishes did break out until final peace was negotiated in Paris in 1783. In this episode, Scott and James look at what happened to the British and American generals and politicians involved in the war.
The Battle of Yorktown: Britain's Surrender in the Revolutionary War
The Battle of Yorktown sealed the fate of the Revolutionary War. In late 1781, American and French troops laid siege to the British Army at Yorktown, Virginia. First, a bit of background. The partisan warfare that kept occurring in the upcountry of the Carolinas made it impossible for the British to obtain supplies from there. This in turn made it necessary for Cornwallis to keep his army relatively close to the coast. Greene kept his army far enough from Cornwallis to avoid a major pitched battle while constantly trying to lure Cornwallis away from the coast. Greene’s strategy was (in Allen Guelzo’s words) “dance like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” In this, he was assisted by a cavalry commander named Col. Henry (“Light Horse Harry”) Lee, as well as Francis Marion and Daniel Morgan. Skirmishers of the two armies occasionally fought each other, but the main armies never met.
The Siege of Yorktown: American and France Corner Britain
On October 14, 1781, Washington and French General Comte de Rochambeau attacked on October 14th, capturing two British defense. British Gen. Cornwallis surrendered two days later.
King’s Mountain & Cowpens: The Revolutionary War's Largest 'All-American Fight'
The Battles of King's Mountain and Cowpens were fought in 1781, between the Continental Army under Brigadier General Daniel Morgan and British forces under Lieutenant Colonel Sir Banastre Tarleton, as part of the campaign in the Carolinas. Daniel Morgan, who had been sent south by Washington, joined Nathanael Greene’s army. Greene decided to send Morgan with a force of militia and cavalry westward. This dividing of his army was risky, but Greene wrote “It makes the most of my inferior force for it compels my adversary to divide his.”