A Passion for Revolution
Explore the rich history of Boston, birthplace of the American Revolution in this free online course. From the Puritans to the New England Patriots, this MOOC shares the story of one of America’s most iconic cities. The History of Boston, sponsored by Suffolk University, is a unique online offering that brings the city’s past, present and future alive for students, residents, travelers and history buffs. Dr. Robert J. Allison, chair of the University’s History Department, imparts his profound knowledge of Boston history in what is perhaps the only MOOC based on a city and its history.
This course explores Boston from the 1600’s to the present day. Learn about the native people who lived on the land we now know as Boston before the Puritans arrived. Discover how the European settlers created a robust system of self government and a democracy so strong that Boston became the birthplace of the Revolutionary War. Trace the city’s role in the American anti-slavery movement and the Civil War. The course will help you understand why Boston remains revolutionary to this day, redefining education, the arts and medicine, through its world-class museums, orchestras, hospitals and schools.
You will be treated to a virtual tour of Boston History, featuring many of the city’s best known landmarks and sites including the Freedom Trail, USS Constitution, State House, Harbor Islands, Waterworks Museum, Lowell Mills, Old North Church, Kings Chapel, Boston Common, Faneuil Hall, the Esplanade, African American Meeting House and more. Meet many of Boston’s most fascinating activists, artists, scholars and politicians including Paul Revere, Ben Franklin, Samuel Adams, and JFK and examine Boston’s influence on culture and politics.
Discussion boards, videos, games, a scavenger hunt, HistoryPin and other social media tools will engage inquisitive people from all over the world in the learning process. Class participants are encouraged to share stories, artifacts and other elements in the discussion area. The History of Boston is a course for anyone who wants to learn more about one of the most beautiful and influential cities on earth, and what it means to be Boston Strong. It is ideal for students doing research, history buffs and people planning a trip to Boston.
A PASSION FOR FREEDOM AND INNOVATION
American Democracy was born in Boston. When the Puritans landed on the rocky shores of Massachusetts Bay in 1630, they established a tiny town and called it Boston, a name inspired by the patron saint of travelers. They came in search of religious freedom and the conviction that individual voices should be heard.
The Puritans found the new liberties they were seeking yet discovered something else along the way. As they embraced radical new ideas about God they also stumbled upon some pretty revolutionary ideas about governance.
The people of Boston realized that individuals deserved to have a say in how they were governed. They created the town meeting, where every man had a voice. Town meetings made Boston and the colony at large the most democratic place in the British Empire and set the stage for the American Revolution.
After the Revolution, this ethic of local control led to the creation of the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780, which provided powers to create a “government of laws and not of men.” This document served as a model for the U.S. Constitution.
Consider this about Boston History:
- Boston built America’s first public school in 1635.
- The American Revolution began in Boston as activists protested British tax policies.
- Massachusetts sent more soldiers to fight in the Revolutionary War than any other state.
- In 1783, Massachusetts became the first state to abolish slavery; Boston had one of the nation’s largest communities of free black people and became a center of the anti-slavery movement.
- In the early 1800’s, Boston became the driver of America’s Industrial Revolution.
- Immigrants – from Ireland, Germany and the rest of the world transformed Boston in the 19th century
- When the Civil War erupted in 1861, Massachusetts was the first to send troops to defend Washington. A Boston woman, Julia Ward Howe, wrote “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”
- Boston built the country’s first free public lending library in 1849.
- The first railway in America was built south of Boston in the 1820s, to bring granite from the quarries in Quincy to the docks. From Quincy the granite came by barge to Charlestown to build the Bunker Hill Monument.
- Boston helped redefine American politics in 1961 when native son John Fitzgerald Kennedy was elected the country’s first Catholic president.
- Drawing on the knowledge base of its many colleges and universities, Boston became a center for the high-tech industry in the late 20th century.