Event—Adult Education

The American Revolution and The British Empire


It is said that history is written by the winners. But we can learn a lot from seeing watershed moments through other perspectives. The American Revolution is no different.

Declaration of Independence (1819) by John Trumbull. Source: John Trumbull, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Class Description

Seen through American eyes, July 4, 1776 marks a triumphant moment: the birth of a bold new nation committed to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Through British eyes, the American Revolution looked quite different. This four-part class will examine America through the lens of Britain’s Empire.

First, we’ll look at the war from the perspectives of the Palace, the Parliament, and the British people. Second, we’ll explore the conflict from the vantage of the Irish and their descendants in America. Third, we’ll pivot southward to study the fate of empire on Britain’s Caribbean islands. Finally, we’ll investigate the terms of the 1783 Treaty of Paris, the peace pact that dramatically shrank the boundaries of the British Empire and confirmed the independence of the newly United States.

Richard Bell is Professor of History at the University of Maryland and author of the book Stolen: Five Free Boys Kidnapped into Slavery and their Astonishing Odyssey Home, which was a finalist for the George Washington Prize and the Harriet Tubman Prize.

Materials List

No required materials and no first reading assignment.

Cost and Registration

Four sessions, $205 ($184.50 for Newberry members, seniors, and students). Learn about becoming a member.

To register multiple people for this class, please go through the course calendar in Learning Stream, our registration platform. When you select the course and register, you’ll be prompted to add another registrant.


Support the Newberry

Your generosity is vital in keeping the library’s programs, exhibitions, and reading rooms free and accessible to everyone.

Make a Gift


Call us at (312) 255-3700 or send us an email.

Email Us

More Upcoming Classes