Lord Richard Howe (1726–1799) was the commander in chief of the Royal Navy in North America from 1776 to 1778. Howe initially tried to reconcile with the American colonies, refusing to impose harsh conditions or penalities upon the colonists. He failed to engage colonial-allied forces for most of his command. After the French entered the war in 1778, he prepared to engage D’Estaing’s fleet in Rhode Island, but a hurricane prevented the face-off. He returned to Great Britain in September 1778.
Carol Berkin, Presidential Professor of History at Baruch College and the CUNY Graduate Center, contrasts the popular memory of the Revolutionary War with its more complicated realities. She argues that although many of us were taught in school that American support for the Revolution was passionate and unified, it would be better for students to learn that America has always been diverse and that colonists had their own strong political divisions.
Most Americans know George Washington's December 1776 crossing of the Delaware from the famous painting by Emmanuel Gottlieb Leutze. David Hackett Fischer, Warren Professor of History at Brandeis University and author of Washington's Crossing (2004), looks beyond the famous painting to the events of that tumultuous month. He follows the retreating American army from the Battle of Long Island down through New Jersey, as an American victory seemed more and more unlikely. Fischer emphasizes how Washington's great strengths allowed him to take advantage of conditions in December to win the Battle of Trenton and turn the tide of the war, rekindling the ailing Revolutionary cause.