As we (quickly!) make our way through the literature of the American Revolution, I wanted to be sure to provide you with as much fun historical context as possible. While I know that you all have been learning about American history, and literary history, since elementary school I thought it would be interesting to dispel some of the myths you’ve been told, and to shine a little light on topics frequently looked over. Please browse the selection of podcasts below over the course of the week – these will add a lot of historical context to your text analysis and essays, will increase your general knowledge  (which will come in handy for the AP exam!) and will also help you in the next unit over Expansionist literature. I will also be adding a bonus section to your exam, just over these podcasts! Enjoy!


The Boston Massacre

  • A look at the distinctive un-massacre-y-ness of the Boston massacre. If asked the questions, “How many people do you think died in the Boston Massacre?” many people will guess a number of twenty or more. The reality was much smaller, and the massacre moniker exists today because of some very determined colonial spin doctoring.

13 Causes 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.

James Armistead – Revolutionary Spy

  • 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.

Did Betsy Ross Really Make the First American Flag?

  • Did Betsy Ross really make the first American flag, or is this just another revolutionary legend? Learn the myths and facts about Betsy Ross and the first American flag in this podcast


  • Often described as mercenaries who fought for Britain during the American Revolution, the Hessians were really auxiliary troops who fought for lots of governments in lots of military actions (and they weren’t all from Hesse-Kassel). Today’s episode takes us through how German principalities got into the business of armies for hire in the first place, why Britain needed these troops during the American Revolution, and the most famous altercation between the colonists and the Hessians during the Revolutionary War.

How Thomas Jefferson Worked

  • Thomas Jefferson’s life was peppered with accomplishments — but what about the disparity between his public image and private life?

How Thomas Jefferson’s Bible Worked

  • Thomas Jefferson, one of America’s founding fathers, was a very unorthodox thinker. His revision of the Bible was one of his most controversial projects – listen to the podcast to find out why!