Florida Virtual Schools – Teaching American History Project

My Neighbor, My Enemy:
How American Colonists Became Patriots and Loyalists

Tuesday, January 18, 2011 | 7:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m. (EST)

Neighbor-Enemy image


Timothy H. Breen

William Smith Mason Professor of American History, Northwestern University
National Humanities Center Fellow

About the Seminar

This seminar will offer a revolutionary interpretation of the American Revolution. It will restore ordinary men and women to the story we tell ourselves about national independence. Moving the focus of interpretation away from the Founding Fathers, it will ask questions about resistance to imperial power on the community level. What were the sources of popular mobilization? How did the creation of committees of safety shape local resistance? What role did violence and intimidation play in the relations between neighbors? How did the directives of national congresses affect the actions of local insurgents?

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Assigned Readings

To incorporate seminar texts into your teaching, we offer the National Humanities Center’s Primary Document Application Form.
  1. The Association of the First Continental Congress (PDF)
  2. Proceedings of the Westmoreland County (VA) Committee of Safety (PDF)
  3. Proceedings of the Wilmington-New Hanover (NC) Committee of Safety (PDF)
  4. Janet Schaw, Journal of a Lady of Quality (PDF)
  5. The Diary of Matthew Patten (PDF)

Optional Background Readings

  1. “The Narrative of Ebenezer Punderson” (PDF)
  2. “The Crisis,” Number IV (PDF)
  3. “The Wonderful Appearance” (PDF)


PowerPoint: 216 KB

Online Evaluation

Seminar Recording

Streaming Recording

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