The American Revolution

This course focuses on the story of the birth and initial growth of the United States of America. Professor Berkin begins with a discussion of how the thirteen colonies moved from relatively content members of the British empire to independent states eager for self-government. Those who take the course will gain insight into many different perspectives on the Revolution, including women, the common soldier, and loyalists. The course ends with a discussion about the successes and failures of the new nation through an examination of the Articles of Confederation, the Constitutional Convention, and the fight for the ratification of the Constitution.

Read the course outline here and listen to a history teacher introduce the course below.


Please create a free K–12 student account. Note: Only K–12 students with a Gilder Lehrman account will be able to access the registration form.


  • Twenty-four video sessions led by Professor Carol Berkin
  • A certificate of completion for 12 hours of course time

Readings: Recommending readings related to the course are listed in the “Resources” link on the course page. You are not required to read or purchase any print materials. Quizzes are based on the content of the seminar recordings rather than the readings.

Course Access: After registering, you may access your course by logging in and visiting your “My Courses” link.


Carol Berkin is the Presidential Professor of History, Emerita, Baruch College and The Graduate Center, The City University of New York. She is editor of History Now, the Gilder Lehrman Institute’s online journal of American history, and author of many groundbreaking books on the history of the Revolutionary era, including First Generations: Women and Revolution in America, A Brilliant Solution: Inventing the American Constitution, and The Bill of Rights: The Fight to Secure America’s Liberties.

The views expressed in this course are those of Dr. Carol Berkin.