by T. H. Breen

The Peace of Paris (February 10, 1763) marked a glorious moment in the history of the British Empire. France surrendered Canada, ending more than a century of warfare on the northern frontier. At the time, no one seriously thought that the conclusion of the Seven Years’ War (1756–1763) would lead in little more than a decade to the creation of an independent state. Thomas Pownall, a respected commentator on economic affairs and former royal governor of Massachusetts, explained to British policy makers precisely why the Americans could never hope to form a government of their own. More »

Featured Primary Sources

John Adams to Richard Henry Lee, November 15, 1775 (GLC03864)

A plan for a new government, 1775

Creator: John Adams Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels:
The Stamp Act denounced, Lossing's History of the United States of America

A report on reaction to the Stamp Act, 1765

Creator: Archibald Hinshelwood Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics, World History Grade Levels:
Paul Revere, “The Bloody Massacre in King-Street, March 5, 1770.” Boston, 1770.

Paul Revere’s engraving of the Boston Massacre, 1770

Creator: Paul Revere Curriculum Subjects: Art, World History Grade Levels: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
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American Scripture: The Making of the Declaration of Independence

Speaker(s): Pauline Maier Duration: 37 minutes 27 seconds

Benjamin Franklin: An American Life

Speaker(s): Walter Isaacson Duration: 30 minutes 33 seconds

Influences on the Writing of the Declaration

Speaker(s): David Armitage Duration: 0 seconds
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