The Legacy of the American Revolution 1: (English) Colonial America (6/12/20)

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Summer 2020 lecture series by the Platypus Affiliated Society
James Vaughn

The red thread running through the lecture series is the persistence & legacy of the revolution. We ask: How does America remain a revolutionary society? How did each chapter of American history give a new impetus to the revolution that began in 1776? Our approach to the American Revolution and the subsequent history of the polity it founded is from the perspective of the bourgeois revolution and its crisis in the Marxist philosophy of history, and also frames the first two lectures, on colonial America and the revolutionary era itself.

This lecture broadly surveys the development of British North America until 1754 in light of world history. Beginning in the Age of Discovery, its main focus is how the British Atlantic world became the epicenter of a profound transformation in the nature of the human community: the rise of bourgeois society. The lecture traces the radical transformation of everyday life that took place in the North American colonies from the mid-seventeenth to the mid-eighteenth century under the “empire of liberty” inaugurated by the English Revolution. It concludes with the outbreak of the French and Indian War, one theater in the “Great War for Empire” waged across the world between Bourbon absolutism and Britain’s revolutionary-parliamentary regime.

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