American Revolution

Phillis Wheatley

Perceptions and interpretations of Phillis Wheatley's life and work have shifted since the 18th century. This episode examines Wheatley's published writing while enslaved, and how her place in the world of black literature rose, fell, and rose again.

Hercules Mulligan, Spy on the Inside Pt. 2

After years of protesting and resisting British rule in New York, Mulligan passed important information on to George Washington, possibly saving his life. How did that one-time act of happenstance blossomed into a career as a full-time spy?

Hercules Mulligan, Spy on the Inside Pt. 1

Hercules Mulligan was indeed a real person who passed intelligence to George Washington, mostly through two means - one was an enslaved man named Cato, and the other was the Culper Spy Ring.

St. Clair's Defeat, or the Battle of a Thousand Slain

In 1791, a confederation of Native American tribes destroyed about half of the American army. The catalyst for that conflict was a lengthy period in which unfair treaties, biased against native peoples, were all too common.

The Battle of Guilford Courthouse

In 1781, British forces shifted their efforts in the American Revolutionary War to the southern states. Major General Nathaniel Greene and his troops went up against Charles Cornwallis in a battle that was won on a technicality.

13 Reasons for the American Revolution

"No taxation without representation" is often thought of as the main beef that led to the American Revolution, but it was only one of many moving parts in the bigger picture. Read the show notes for this episode here.

The Boston Massacre

The name "Boston Massacre" sounds as though it was the slaughter of a bunch of innocents in colonial Boston. The reality is much smaller - and not nearly so one-sided. But there's a reason why we call it a massacre. And that reason is propaganda.


If you've only seen the Hessians referenced in movies or TV, you probably don't have a clear picture of who these very capable soldiers actually were. Hessian troops were skilled, disciplined armies for hire, and a huge economic boon for their homeland.

Double Agent: James Armistead and the American Revolution

James Armistead was a slave in Virginia, but got his master's approval to enlist when the Revolutionary War came. Armistead worked as a spy, and his story is one of many free and enslaved African-Americans who fought in the Revolutionary War.

Alexander Hamilton vs. Aaron Burr

As political rivals, Hamilton and Burr began a bitter exchange of insults, leading to a duel in 1804 that resulted in Hamilton's death. Learn about the ideas that drove Hamilton and Burr to violence in this podcast from