Warfare in Early America, led by Timothy Shannon, Gettysburg College

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One of the most enduring symbols of early American history is the colonial militiaman, who supposedly used his experience fighting Indians to defeat British redcoats and win independence. Historians have challenged that popular image by presenting a much more complex narrative about the clash between Native and colonial peoples in early America. In this course, we will explore the evolution of warfare in North America from the earliest contact between Native Americans and Europeans through the early nineteenth century. Our focus will be on the cultural values and gender roles that shaped armed violence in various forms, including Indian wars, slave rebellions, and international conflicts. We will trace the development of an American way of war that influenced the formation of national identity and left important legacies for modern Americans.


  • Twelve lectures
  • Primary source readings that complement the lectures
  • A certificate of completion for 15 hours of professional development credit

Readings: The suggested readings for each session will be listed on the course content “Resources” link in the online learning system. You are not required to read or purchase any print materials. Quizzes are based on the lectures.

Course Access: After your purchase, you may access your course by logging into the Gilder Lehrman website and clicking on the MY COURSES link under MY ACCOUNT in the navigation menu.

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LEAD SCHOLAR: Timothy Shannon

Timothy Shannon is a professor of history at Gettysburg College and teaches early American, Native American, and British history. He is the author of Iroquois Diplomacy on the Early American Frontier (2008) and Indians and Colonists at the Crossroads of Empire: The Albany Congress of 1754 (2000), which won the Dixon Ryan Fox Prize from the New York State Historical Association and the Distinguished Book Award from the Society of Colonial Wars.