Lecture 25 - Being an American: The Legacy of the Revolution

author: Joanne B. Freeman, Yale University
recorded by: Yale University
published: Feb. 14, 2013,   recorded: April 2010,   views: 2294
released under terms of: Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives (CC-BY-ND)
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Professor Freeman discusses when we can consider a revolution to have ended, arguing that a revolution is finally complete when a new political regime gains general acceptance throughout society - and that, for this reason, it is the American citizenry who truly decided the fate and trajectory of the American Revolution. Yet, in deciding the meaning of the Revolution, the evolving popular memory of its meaning counts as well. Founders like Thomas Jefferson and John Adams frequently told younger Americans not to revere the Revolution and its leaders as demigods, insisting that future generations were just as capable, if not more so, of continuing and improving America's experiment in government. Professor Freeman concludes the lecture by suggesting that the ultimate lesson of the American Revolution is that America's experiment in government was supposed to be an ongoing process; that the Revolution taught Americans that their political opinions and actions mattered a great deal - and that they still do.

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