The American Revolution

The Crisis Elections: 1860 & 2020

15 November 2020

An online meeting with historians James Oakes, Richard Carwardine and Tom Mackaman. Moderated by WSWS International Editorial Board Chairman David North.

Factional warfare erupts in New York Times over the 1619 Project

By Tom Mackaman and David North, 15 October 2020

Following the publication of a highly critical essay by a New York Times columnist, the public statements issued by the publisher and leading editors reflect tensions provoked by the exposure of the 1619 Project’s falsification of history.

The New York Times and Nikole Hannah-Jones abandon key claims of the 1619 Project

By Tom Mackaman and David North, 22 September 2020

The Times has abandoned, without any public announcement or explanation, the central thesis that 1619, not 1776, was the “true founding” of the United States.

Hamilton: An American Musical finally available for broader viewing

By Ed Hightower, 24 July 2020

Amid deepening social and political crisis Hamilton came to the Disney Plus streaming service this July 3 in time for viewing on the 244th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence

The two American Revolutions in world history

By David North, 4 July 2020

Today marks the 244th anniversary of the public proclamation of the Declaration of Independence, on July 4, 1776, which established the United States of America. It is not only the direct political impact of the document, but, rather, the principles it proclaimed that determined its world historical stature.

210 Announcement of July 4 event

1 July 2020

New York Times’ Charles Blow demands the removal of monuments to Washington and other “amoral monsters”

By Niles Niemuth, 1 July 2020

The Times’ latest assault on the American Revolution is part of the effort by the Democratic Party and its operatives to derail the popular multiracial protests against police violence in the wake of the murder of George Floyd.

Racial-communalist politics and the second assassination of Abraham Lincoln

By Niles Niemuth and David North, 25 June 2020

In the one month since the killing of George Floyd, the mass, multi-racial and international demonstrations against police violence are in danger of being hijacked by a faction of the ruling class that is aggressively promoting a brand of racial-communal politics.

The New York Times’s 1619 Project: A racialist falsification of American and world history

By Niles Niemuth, Tom Mackaman and David North, 6 September 2019

The 1619 Project, launched by the New York Times, presents racism and racial conflict as the essential feature and driving force of American history.

What the Supreme Court is repudiating

The Enlightenment, the American Revolution and the ban on cruel and unusual punishment

By Ed Hightower, 24 April 2019

Recent US Supreme Court rulings in death penalty cases represent a vast, anti-democratic cultural, legal and political retrogression.

America on the Fourth of July: From Thomas Jefferson to Donald Trump

By Patrick Martin, 4 July 2018

The most fundamental right asserted by the Declaration of Independence is the right of the people to revolt against tyranny and despotism, a right that this generation will be called on to exercise.

Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin museums in Philadelphia closed by Trump administration hiring freeze

By Douglas Lyons, 23 March 2017

The Trump administration’s hiring freeze and threatened budget cuts prompted the National Park Service to close the historic attractions.

The New York Times, Michael Eric Dyson and the politics of race

By Barry Grey, 14 July 2016

The Times is on guard and ready to denounce anything—a political development, a book, even a movie—that challenges its racialist agenda. This agenda has become more and more central as the class struggle has grown more intense.

A reply to our critics

In Defense of the American Revolution

By Tom Mackaman, 14 July 2016

The American Revolution, the most progressive event in world history in its time, continues to inspire the struggle for equality.

Two hundred forty years since the Declaration of Independence

By Andre Damon, 4 July 2016

The American Revolution provided the ideological and political impetus for the French Revolution and all subsequent democratic, egalitarian and socialist movements.

250 years since the Stamp Act

The Coming of the American Revolution

By Tom Mackaman, 24 March 2015

The Stamp Act set into motion a series of events that led, in one decade, to the American Revolution.

Interview with Gordon Wood on the American Revolution

“Labor celebrated as the highest value”

By Tom Mackaman, 2 March 2015

Gordon Wood, a leading historian of the American Revolution, recently spoke with the World Socialist Web Site.

Equality and the Fourth of July

By Joseph Kishore, 4 July 2014

The social, political and cultural state of present-day America make a mockery of the principles that are recalled and celebrated on July 4.

Two milestones in world history

The contemporary significance of the Declaration of Independence and the Battle of Gettysburg

By Joseph Kishore, 1 July 2013

The American Revolution and the Civil War were two of the great events in world history, advancing democratic principles that are everywhere under assault today.

America’s revolutionary founding document

For Liberty and Equality: The Life and Times of the Declaration of Independence

By Tom Mackaman, 4 May 2013

A book that seriously considers the impact the Declaration of Independence is most welcome reading in 2013, a year which has seen an intensifying assault on the most basic principles of America’s founding document.

James P. Cannon on Independence Day

From Karl Marx to the Fourth of July

By James P. Cannon, 3 July 2010

We are posting today for the benefit of our readers an article authored by James P. Cannon, published in The Militanton July 16, 1951. Cannon (1890-1974) was a founding member of the Trotskyist movement in the US and a longtime leader of American Trotskyism.

The Story of Us on History channel—an attempt to revive the myths of American capitalism

By William Moore and Fred Mazelis, 28 June 2010

History (the cable television channel) recently presented a 12-hour series entitled “America: The Story of Us.” The ambitious project spanned the history of the United States from the first European settlements of North America until the present day.

The Nation, Jonathan Israel and the Enlightenment

By Ann Talbot and David North, 9 June 2010

On 12 May this year, the Nation magazine published an article entitled “Mind the Enlightenment.” It is an intellectually unprincipled and vindictive attack on Professor Jonathan Israel’s multi-volume history of the development of the Enlightenment and its relationship to social and political radicalism in the century leading up to the outbreak of the French Revolution.

Howard Zinn, 1922-2010

An assessment of A People’s History of the United States

By Tom Mackaman, 15 February 2010

Howard Zinn died on January 28 at the age of 87. Any serious evaluation of Zinn requires consideration be given his book, A People’s History of the United States.

Citizen of the world: a brief survey of the life and times of Thomas Paine (1737-1809)

By Ann Talbot, 8 June 2009

June 8 marks the 200th anniversary of the death of 18th century revolutionary Thomas Paine.

John Adams: A serious rendering of the American Revolution

By Charles Bogle, 8 January 2009

John Adams, first aired on HBO in early 2008 and now released on DVD, is the latest and in some ways most satisfying rendering of the American Revolution on film. The television series covers the last 56 years of Adams’ 90-year life.

An interview with playwright Trevor Griffiths

By Ann Talbot, 21 February 2008

Trevor Griffiths has just published a screenplay for a film about the life of the eighteenth century revolutionary Thomas Paine. He wrote the screenplay for the film Reds with Warren Beatty and has a long list of television and theatre plays to his credit.

A timely reminder of America’s Enlightenment origins

By Charles Bogle, 31 August 2006

Washington’s Crossing, by David Hackett Fischer, 543 pages, Oxford University Press, 2004, $17.95

July 4th 2006: The state of US democracy 230 years after the American Revolution

By Bill Van Auken, 4 July 2006

This article is available as a PDF leaflet to download and distribute

Secularism and the American Constitution

By Charles Bogle, 18 July 2005

In recent years, Supreme Court justices, politicians and religious figures have advanced the argument that the Founding Fathers based the US Constitution on God’s word. Some have asserted that the Founding Fathers meant for the Constitution to be understood as a Christian document of governance for a Christian nation.

Investigating the foundations of equality

God, Locke and Equality by Jeremy Waldron

By Ann Talbot, 16 June 2003

Professor Jeremy Waldron’s latest book is an examination of the theory of equality put forward by the seventeenth century English philosopher John Locke. This is a subject that is highly relevant today as the widening social gulf between the super rich and the rest of the population increasingly undermines the political institutions that have been based on the maintenance of at least a measure of social and economic equality.

An exchange on socialism and human nature

By Nick Beams, 1 May 2001

Beams replies to a letter from a reader about a previous correspondence, which states: “Your letter refuses to acknowledge the true nature of humankind. Centralised planning does not work and history has shown that to be true and so does the present. The freer the society the more prosperous it is.”

Two letters on Thomas Jefferson

30 November 2000

We received the following two letters from a reader in Manteca, California.

No idea whatsoever

The Patriot, directed by Roland Emmerich, written by Robert Rodat

By David Walsh, 14 July 2000

How is the relative dearth of intelligent and artistically satisfying American films about either the Revolutionary War or the Civil War to be accounted for? It has been noted more than once in the past that a people carrying out a revolution may have insufficient energy left over to recreate it artistically. One has to consider as well the intellectual difficulty posed by such struggles for American artists, not normally sensitive to historical and ideological problems. Nor should one leave out of the reckoning the general vulgarity and shallowness of Hollywood studio executives.

The Jefferson-Hemings controversy

In defense of history

By Helen Halyard and Shannon Jones, 31 December 1998

Substantial debate and controversy have accompanied the science journal Nature's release of genetic test results supporting the claim that Thomas Jefferson fathered children by one of his slaves, Sally Hemings.

Equality, the Rights of Man and the Birth of Socialism

By David North, 24 October 1996

The following is a lecture given by David North, national secretary of the Socialist Equality Party, at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor on 24 October 1996.