This semester, I’ve had the pleasure of taking a course on the American Revolution and the Early Republic with Dr. Fred Anderson here at CU-Boulder. Even though I’ve spent a great portion of my life idolizing the Founding Fathers, and studying colonial American history while an undergrad in Boston, I’ve never actually taken a course on the subject of the Revolution and the creation of the Constitution. How that one slipped through the cracks, I’m not sure. Nevertheless, it’s thrilling to be able to spend such focused time learning about this pivotal moment in our nation’s history, and especially to be studying under such an brilliant historian of early American history as Fred Anderson.
I’ve had a few surprises along the way, as Dr. Anderson has made arguments about the narrative of the Revolution that I hadn’t really thought of before. How timely, too, that I am jumping into this material when the nation is up in arms about the new AP U.S History curriculum. I’ve spent many an afternoon/evening talking with my husband about the existing narrative of the American revolution, and how this curriculum change may or many not affect our sense of national identity. In your mind, when did the Revolution begin? I asked him. 1776? he responded, unsure. Did it really? I shoot back. What if you’re missing key elements of the story?