Critical Insurgencies of the American Revolution

Lawrence Clifford

Tuesdays, February 6 - March 13 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. 6 sessions
King's Chapel Parish House, 64 Beacon Street

This course will provide key insights into four insurgencies that played a significant part in America’s Revolutionary War. The first is known as the Activities of the Committee on Correspondence that became established in Boston, Massachusetts. This Committee included such figures as John Hancock, Samuel Adams, and John Adams as well as a co-conspirator named Paul Revere. It was their work that caused the British to install themselves in the Massachusetts Bay Colony and then attack at Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775. 

The second critical insurgency involved that mythological group known as the Green Mountain Boys and the leadership of Ethan Allen. Their insurgency resulted in the capture of Ticonderoga and Crown Point during the Christmas season of 1775. As a consequence of the capture of Ticonderoga and Crown Point, George Washington’s forces around Boston were able to evict the British on March 17, 1776 – a day that we have come to know as Evacuation Day. 

The third critical insurgency was associated with the defeat of the British at the Battle of Saratoga. There were several insurgency activities that occurred prior to and during the official Battle of Saratoga that were critical to the American victory. One included the Battle of Oriskany, for which there was a time when the United States Navy had an aircraft carrier named for that battle. A second critical circumstance surrounding the Battle of Saratoga was the espionage and spy network provided to the American commander, Benedict Arnold. The information obtained by that network allowed for the defeat of the British troops. Among those featured in the spy network was Johnny Appleseed. This insurgency and the victory at Saratoga created the circumstance whereby France began to provide the American Revolution with substantial military and financial support. 

The final insurgency we will address took place in South and North Carolina and was led by Francis Marion. Often called the Swamp Fox, Marion and his men wore Cornwallis out. It was these four insurgencies that made a critical contribution to the final American victory at Yorktown in the summer of 1781.

Teaching Style: Lecture with discussion     Weekly Preparation: 1-1½ hours

    Lawrence Clifford

    Lawrence Clifford PhD is a former officer in the United States Air Force, having served  for 22 years. He earned his doctorate in clinical and educational psychology from Indiana University and in Soviet Military History from Boston College. His study of history focuses  on the Soviet period and on the writing of the first biography written in the West on Marshal Mikhail N. Tukhachevsky. Dr. Clifford taught military history and the Vietnam War for over a decade. While in the US Air Force, he served for five years in Vietnam and Southeast Asia, three years in the Mideast, and a similar period of time in Africa and Central America.  He is fluent in French, Russian, Spanish, and Arabic.