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The Long Road to Lexington: Networks of Resistance in Colonial Massachusetts
Resources and Links

Theme: The United States and the World: American Foreign Relations
Topic: The Long Road to Lexington
Date: February 2005

Annotated Bibliography | Websites and Web Resources
Related Archives and Collections
| Other

Resources and Links compiled and annotated by Dane Morrison, Ph.D. Professor, Department of History, Salem State College ( and SALEM in History staff

Annotated Bibliography

Compiled and annotated by Dane Morrison, Ph.D. Professor, Department  of History, Salem State College ( and SALEM in History staff

Secondary Sources

Anderson, Fred. The Crucible of War: The Seven Years’ War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754-1766. New York: Alfred A. Knopf Inc., 2000.

A definitive study that is also accessible, this book looks closely at the importance of the Seven Years’ War (and, by definition, the removal of the French threat from British North America) in the coming of the American Revolution. Does not posit the revolution as inevitable. Includes important examination of Native American role and presence in the war.

Baylin, Bernard. The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution. Rev. edition Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 1992.

This is the single most important study of Patriot ideology. Baylin explores the complex set of social and political doctrines (ranging from Common Law to Enlightenment and beyond) that together shaped the framers’ inventive doctrine of federalism. Sees the Revolution as a political and ideological conflict more than a social/economic one.

Baylin, Bernard. The Ordeal of Thomas Hutchinson. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1974.

Examines prewar Loyalism and flaws in Loyalist thinking through a close look at Hutchinson who was a fixture on Massachusetts politics for the last two decades of colonial rule, and who was the loyalist governor of the province at the time of the Boston Massacre and the Boston Tea Party. A sympathetic portrayal.

Buel, Joy Day and Richard Jr. The Way of Duty: A Woman and her Family in Revolutionary America. New York: W.W. Norton, 1984.

An in-depth look at the life of one CT woman and her family in the years leading up to and during the American Revolution. Offers brilliant examination of the ebb and flow of daily life during a dramatic time.

Calhoun, Robert M. et al. eds. Loyalists and Community in North America. Greenwood Press, 1994.

A rich collection of essays on Loyalists and Loyalism in the 13 colonies. Excellent scholarship on the significance and impact of Loyalists on the communities in which they lived.

Ferling, John. A Leap in the Dark: The Struggle to Create the American Republic. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.

Lively narrative of the years leading to, during and following the American Revolution. Deftly traces the period from the Albany Congress (1754) to the election of 1800 with grace and fascinating detail. Highly readable as well as being comprehensive. Makes clear that neither declaring independence nor Revolution was inevitable.

Fischer, David Hackett. Paul Revere’s Ride. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994.

Places the now-mythical ride in a broader context of Revere’s life, Boston politics, and the rising discontent and activity in the countryside. Offers a particularly well-wrought new interpretation of the battle on Lexington Green which challenges most prevailing notions of what took place there and why. Makes clear that in days after the fighting Revere took action in the realm of public opinion, a battle that proved more critical than the fighting itself. Engaging narrative voice.

Gross, Robert. The Minutemen and Their World. New York: Hill and Wang, 1976.

Helpful and detailed examination of the daily life and world of Concord, MA, focusing on the 2 nd generation of this town and its inhabitants leading up to the famous battles fought there.

Maier, Pauline. From Resistance to Revolution: Colonial Radicals and the Development of Colonial Opposition to Britain, 1765-1776. New York: Norton, 1992 (originally published in 1972)

A superb and detailed account of the ideological escalation of the decade between 1765 and 1776. Looks at colonials’ attitudes toward British over a full decade of hardening ideas. This is a one of a few classic works on the American response to British reform laws. Highly readable—for specialists and generalists alike.

Maier, Pauline. American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence. New York: Vintage Press, 1997. (note: this covers events taking place after the battles at Lexington and Concord)

Explores, in detail, the process of drafting and editing the Declaration of Independence in the context of both traditions of declarations and pronouncements, and the political lead- up to the Revolutionary War. An engaging and intellectually stimulating work that makes important the work of writing and creating important documents. End of book looks at how the Declaration has been defined and used by various Americans since its drafting.

Middlekauff, Robert. The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution 1763-1789. New York: Oxford University Press, 1982.

An excellent narrative history of the Revolutionary War era.

Miller, John C. Sam Adams: Pioneer in Propaganda. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1936.

Excellent biography of Sam Adams. Makes clear his centrality in the events and years leading up to theRevolutionary War.

Morgan, Edmund S. and Helen M. The Stamp Act Crisis: Prologue to Revolution. 1963; Reprint, ed. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1995.

Well-respected study of the American response to British reform laws. Examines motives of a determined minority and what prompted citizens to follow them and react to British tax policies.

Nash, Gary. The Urban Crucible: Social Change, Political Consciousness, and the Origins of the American Revolution. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1979.

Examines the coming of the American Revolution in three port cities and offers a social history interpretation of the growing anger and dissatisfaction there. Focuses on the socioeconomic factors that fueled discontent, especially in the wake of the Seven Years’ War. There is an abridged version of this book (1986) titled The Urban Crucible: The Northern Seaports and the Origins of the American Revolution.

Shy, John. Toward Lexington: The Role of the British Army in the Coming American Revolution. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1965.

Important book on the military confrontation that helped fuel the independence movement.

Thomas, Peter D.G. British Politics and the Stamp Act Crisis: the First Phase of American Revolution, 1763-1777. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1975.

Thomas, Peter D.G. The Townshend Duties Crisis: The Second Phase of the American Revolution, 1767 – 1773. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1987.

This is the most comprehensive treatment of the topic. Looks at the period between the Stamp Act and the Boston Massacre.

Thomas, Peter D.G. Tea Party to Independence: The Third Phase of the American Revolution, 1773-1776. Oxford: Clarenden Press, 1991.

A study of British policy between the Boston Tea Party and the Declaration of Independence. Shows how the crisis escalated from a political to a military response and then how the decision formed to formally break with Britain.

Young, Alfred F. The Shoemaker and the Tea Party: Memory and the American Revolution. Boston: Beacon Press, 1999.

A pair of linked essays which make up a brilliant and popular book. The first part of the book examines the life of a shoemaker—a fairly unremarkable man—whose life makes clear the revolutionary actions of average men in the years leading up to the Revolution as well as the ways in which the Revolution changed lives forever. The second half of the book explores the nature of history and memory.

Zobel, Hiller. The Boston Massacre. New York: Norton, 1970.

The most significant book on the topic.


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Websites and Web Resources

Compiled and annotated by SALEM in History Staff

Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive

The Massachusetts Historical Society

This electronic archive presents images of manuscripts and digital transcriptions from the Adams Family Papers, one of the most important collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Two particular collections are of interest for the topic under investigation here: “The Correspondence Between John and Abaigeal Adams” and the “Diary of John Adams.” The former collection includes John’s description of the Continental Congress while the latter covers the period 1753-1804 and includes both details of daily life and major events.

"All the News? The American Revolution and Maryland's Press"
Maryland State Archives: Documents for the Classroom

Here you can find scanned, full-text editions of the Maryland Gazette in the 18 th century. Selections trace and illustrate life in Maryland and the coming of the American Revolution. Years represented: 1765-1774.

AMDOCS: Documents for the Study of American History

Part of CARRIE, a Full Text Electronic Library project at the University of Kansas. Pulls together documents from various locations on the web and makes them readily accessible. Documents are divided and searchable by chronology. Search under “1750” and “1775” for a wide-ranging set of key documents tracing the coming of the American Revolution. Highlights include accounts of the Boston Massacre (listed separately here), William Pitt’s speech on the Stamp Act, John Dickenson’s Letters, the Boston Port Act, John Hancock’s Boston Massacre Oration, and Patrick Henry on Give me Liberty or Give me Death. Very user-friendly.

The American Revolution: Lighting Freedom’s Flame
National Park Service

This is the National Park Service’s official American Revolutionary War website. Here you can access information about all of the National Park service sites related to the war, find materials for teaching about the war, and access a richly detailed timeline of the war, with extended essays and articles on numerous topics and periods. This is a must-see site.

Avalon Project at the Yale Law School: Documents in Law, History and Government

The Avalon Project is dedicated to providing access via the World Wide Web to primary source materials in the fields of Law, History, Economics, Politics, Diplomacy and Government. The site offers over 3,500 full-text documents divided into five time periods-pre 18th century, 18th century, 19th century, 20th century and 21st century. Documents include colonial charters, state and federal constitutional and legal documents, treaties, and some presidential papers. Documents are also organized into groups focused on such topics as The American Revolution. Searching can be done by keyword or by category, making the search process quire simple.

Boston Massacre Trials, 1770
Famous American Trails

A collection of primary documents, essays, statistics, images and other materials relating to the Boston Massacre Trial of 1770.

Boston National Historic Park
National Park Service

Homepage of the Boston National Historical Park. “In Depth” section of site offers a “Virtual Visitor’s Center” with extended essays and information about a range of topics related to the war in and around Boston.

A Century of Lawmaking For a New Nation: U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates, 1774-1875
Library of Congress

Brings together online the records and acts of Congress from the Continental Congress and Constitutional Convention through the 43 rd Congress. This site also offers some special presentations including: “The Making of the U.S. Constitution,” “Timeline: American History as Seen in Congressional Documents, 1774-1873,” and “The Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States.”

"From Revolution to Reconstruction"
University of Groningen

Contrasting first hand accounts of the Boston Massacre are available here. Use “Boston Massacre” in search box. ( the two accounts are: Captain Thomas Preston’s Account of the Boston Massacre, 13 March 1770 and Anonymous Account of the Boston Massacre

( A Short Narrative of the Horrid Massacre in Boston. Printed by Order of the Town of Boston)

George Washington Papers, 1741–1799
American Memory, Library of Congress

This collection is made up of 65,000 documents written by or to George Washington, making it the largest collection of original Washington documents anywhere. Collections include “correspondence, letterbooks, commonplace books, diaries, journals, financial account books, military records, reports, and notes accumulated by Washington from 1741 through 1799.” The site is searchable by keyword. While the variety of documents available make this a rich resource, many of them are not transcribed, and the handwriting can be difficult.. Transcripts, however, do exist for all of the diary pages and for additional selected documents. The site includes a number of helpful features: a timeline with annotations to relevant documents; a 1,500-word essay on Washington’s letterbooks; an essay entitled “Creating the American Nation,” with annotations on eight selected documents spanning Washington’s lifetime; a 8,500-word essay on his diaries; an 11,500-word essay on the publication history of Washington’s papers; and a 4,500-word essay on Washington’s career as a surveyor and mapmaker. “Because of the wide range of Washington’s interests, activities, and correspondents, which include ordinary citizens as well as celebrated figures, his papers are a rich source for almost every aspect of colonial and early American history.”

Images of the American Revolution - Teaching with Documents Lesson Plan
Digital Classroom
National Archives and Records Administration

Document-based lesson plan that makes central use of visual images of the Revolutionary War to illustrate the important factors that led to the founding of the United States.

Independence National Historic Park
National Park Service

Homepage of Independence National Historic Park in Philadelphia. “In Depth” portion of site offers views and descriptions/histories of all historic sites inside park. No primary sources here.

Liberty! The American Revolution

Companion website for the video series. In addition to Teacher Resources for using the video series, site offers a detailed and interactive “Chronicle of the Revolution” which traces the war’s development from Boston in 1774 to Philadelphia in 1791, with stops in Trenton, Saratoga, and Yorktown along the way. Also includes “Perspectives on Liberty” section on “Daily Life in the Colonies,” “The Global Village,” (what was happening in the world at the time) and “Military Perspectives,” (comparing real life differences between American and British soldiers. Some of these subsections include interactive primary sources (including visual images) to teach about relevant topics (e.g. daily life in the colonies). Site offers an interactive game to test knowledge of Revolution; includes audio of speeches, people and events.

The Magna Carta (1215)
National Archives and Records Administration

Here, in addition to a high-quality digitized version of The Magna Carta, you will find an brief discussion of The Magna Carta in light of the U.S. constitution (with specific passages highlighted), a translation of the 1297 version, which was issued as part of Edward I’s Confirmation of the Charters, an in-depth look at the history of the Magna Carta and the influence it had on American constitutionalism.

Maps of the French and Indian War
The Massachusetts Historical Society

Online exhibition featuring digitized maps and engravings of the battles and geography of the French and Indian War. Maps and engravings are supported by background information about the war as well as information about maps and map making in the 18 th century. Site also includes a set of 1765 plans of 30 forts in North America.

Minute Man National Historical Park
National Park Service

Homepage of Minuteman National Historical Park.

The Papers of George Washington Documentary Editing Project at the University of Virginia

With over 135,000 copies of Washington documents in photographic form in the collection, the “Papers” offices have one of the richest collections of American historical collections extant. Almost every topic related to the late colonial and early republic periods can be explored in some way with this material. The site has a digital collection of maps, images, documents and articles, which is easily searchable. Some of the sources have interactive features which allow site visitors to access more information about a portion or element of the source, or to see responses to an address or report. In addition there is a dynamic and growing “ Learning Center” area of the site with a host of primary-source-based, classroom-ready lessons and activities for teachers to use with students from elementary to high school. At each level key content knowledge about Washington and the history of early America is taught through background information, interactive slides, a wide variety of primary source material (from songs to paintings to school exercises), focused questions, and hands-on activities. In each lesson students learn about what happened and why, as well as about the skills and concepts of historical research, source analysis and interpretation. At the elementary level, lessons explicitly work to integrate math, geography and reading skills as well. Teacher notes and background information are exceptional. One particularly noteworthy feature of the Learning Center is “GW in the News,” a regularly updated set of mini-lessons linking G.W. and the issues and ideas of early America to current events!

Quotatoins from the Writings of Thomas Jefferson

A great place to explore the political philosophy of Thomas Jefferson. Quotations are arranged by topic.

Resources and Major Revolutionary Era Documents Related to Era After Battles at Lexington and Concord

The Battle of Bunker Hill: Now We Are at War (Lesson Plan)
Teaching With Historic Places, The National Register of Historic Places bunker.htm

Created by historians and education specialists for the “Teaching with Historic Places” effort of the National Register of Historic Places and the National Park Service, this in-depth lesson plan—highlighting the built environment—focuses on by exploring the context, causes of and actions/strategies during the famous battle. The lesson weds primary and secondary sources and is driven by maps as well as visual and written source analysis. It also highlights the importance of historic structures and sites in understanding the past.

Lee Resolution (1776)
Our Documents – 100 Milestone Documents

From National Archives and Records Administration. Includes original document, transcription and background information. Lee Resolution was introduced in the Second Continental Congress calling for three things: a declaration of independence, a call to form foreign alliances, and a “plan for confederation.” Call for declaring independence was not adopted right away.

Declaration of Independence (1776)
Our Documents – 100 Milestone Documents

From National Archives and Records Administration. Includes original document, transcription and background information.

Articles of Confederation (1777)
Our Documents – 100 Milestone Documents

From National Archives and Records Administration. Includes original document, transcription and background information. This document named the Confederation “The United States of America” and provided for a Congress in which representation was based on population.

Treaty of Alliance with France (1778)
Our Documents – 100 Milestone Documents

From National Archives and Records Administration. Includes original document, transcription and background information. This was the first military treaty of the new nation.


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Related Archives and Collections

--none listed at this time--

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Compiled and annotated by SALEM in History staff

Secondary Readings for Younger Students

Cobblestone Magazine “Boston Massacre” issue (March 1980)

See this link for reading comprehension questions to accompany the issue.

Cobblestone Magazine “The Battles of Lexington and Concord” issue (October 2002)

See the above link for an issue summary and a teacher’s guide to use with the issue


Liberty! The American Revolution. VHS. KTCA in association with Middlemarch Films, Inc.,1997.

A 6 part video series (each section 1 hour) available through PBS that provides a coherent narrative of the movement toward independence. Part 1 “Reluctant Revolutionaries,” and Part 2 “Declaration of Independence” explore the years leading up to the war.

Boston-Area Museums

Boston National Historic Park
National Park Service

“Discover the revolutionary generation of Bostonians who blazed a trail from colonialism to independence. Boston National Historical Park is an association of sites that together give the visitor a coherent view of the city's role in the nation's history.” Sites in Boston and Charlestown are connected by the Freedom Trail. Educational programs and a visitor’s center available.

Minute Man National Historical Park
National Park Service

“At Minute Man National Historical Park, the Battles of Lexington and Concord are brought to life through the preservation, restoration and interpretation of significant sites from "that famous day and year" when Colonists took up arms in defense of liberty and touched off the American Revolution.” Sites include the North Bridge and the 5 mile “Battle Road Trail.” Educational programs and a visitor’s center are available.

National Heritage Musuem, Lexington, MA

The National Heritage Museum is a museum of American history and culture. The museum offers an impressive array of changing exhibits on a wide range of topics. Their permanent exhibit, “Lexington Alarm’d” introduces visitors to the residents of colonial Lexington and explores how and why this community functioned as a launch site for the Revolutionary War.” Explore past and current exhibits on the museum’s homepage, including exhibits related to Paul Revere’s ride and the battles at Lexington and Concord.

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