Liberty! The American Revolution: Season 1, Episode 1

The Reluctant Revolutionaries: 1763-1774 (23 Nov. 1997)

TV Episode  |   |  History, War
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Episode credited cast:
Sara Scott
Peter Donaldson ...
Narrator (voice)
Jehu Grant
Neil Maffin ...
Charles Woodmason / Anti-Federalist


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History | War




Release Date:

23 November 1997 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

The steps leading to revolt.
24 May 2012 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

It seems very appropriate that I am now watching "Liberty! The American Revolution", as I just finished watching another excellent PBS series, "The War That Made America"--a mini-series that is about the period from the French-Indian War to the Revolution. Here in part one of "Liberty"", we pick up roughly where the other series ended. My advice, by the way, is that you, too, see them both--they are treasures. Unlike the other mini-series, however, "Liberty!" is unusual in that in addition to interviews and narration, it consists of actors acting out many, many scenes of the time--and they talk to the audience! In "The War That Made America", there are some re-creations but they are fewer and are not in the words of the participants like they are in "Liberty!"--making it a truly unique series.

This first episode all takes place before the revolution begins. Following the completion of the French-Indian War (also called the Seven Years War), the British have a huge debt and they decide that the Colonies should help pay for the war--since, after all, much of the war had to do with protecting these Americans. However, the British made a fundamental mistake. Up until then, like all British citizens, the Americans were taxed but by their own elected officials. Instead of going through colonial assemblies, the British IMPOSED taxes on the colonists--and not surprisingly, these folks balked at their loss of personal rights. This Act, while written with reasonable motives, was hated and resulted in boycotts as well as protests to the King and Parliament. In hindsight, Britain totally mishandled the situation. Had they simply asked the colonial governments to enact a tax, it almost certainly would have been enacted and followed. Instead, they repeatedly made the wrong moves and antagonized the colonists. Among the topics covered here are the Stamp Act, the Declaratory Act, the Boston 'Massacre' and the Boston Tea Party. By the end of the show, Massachusetts colony is nearly in rebellion and the British decide that they've had enough.

Overall, a very succinct explanation of the problems that led to rebellion. Much of it was from the viewpoint of Americans though some British folks were interviewed as well--contributing a counter-point. Well written, interesting and about as good an explanation on the road to rebellion as you'll find.

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