A still from Bunker Hill: Proving Ground of the Patriots

How We Became America

The Untold History

Not everything worth knowing exists inside the cover of our history textbooks. This new short video series is here to fill in the gaps and bring new stories to life.

The Latest Videos

Our newest group of videos in the How We Became America series relate to people, places and things from the American Revolution. Made for students and teachers, but easy-to-consume by all, this series is designed to fill in the gaps and bring new stories to life.

Watch the latest videos below and find a full list of videos in this series here.

Tadeusz Kosciuszko: Engineer of the Revolution

Tadeusz Kosciusko was a Polish nobleman; an architect, engineer and idealist who’s genius for fortification was a major asset to the Continentals during the Revolutionary War. (Runtime 2:42)

Valley Forge: The Critical Winter

Many of us know the myth of Valley Forge – a freezing encampment which shaped the Patriot spirit during the Revolutionary War. But what was the reality of this settlement – and how many survived the winter? (Runtime 2:45)

Phillis Wheatley: Pioneering Black Poet

Phillis Wheatley, a young enslaved woman, became one of the most celebrated poets in the American colonies. Her writings on faith, slavery and freedom were published around the world and inspire audiences to this day. (Runtime 2:47)

Thomas Hutchinson: Governor of a Rebellious Colony

Did you know that during the Revolutionary War, not all colonists wanted to become independent? Those who chose to remain loyal to the British crown included Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Thomas Hutchinson. But was he a traitor – or simply a public servant doing his job? (Runtime 2:52)

The Culper Ring: Spying for the Revolution

The Culper Spy Ring was a network of brave, self-taught spies, who stole information out of New York City, right under the noses of the British – to keep George Washington and the Continental Army informed. (Runtime 2:58)

Robert Morris: Financier of the Revolution

Robert Morris was a shipping tycoon, financier and Founding Father who was crucial to the Continental war effort. But was he genuinely committed to the cause – or just trying to make a quick buck? (Runtime 2:45)

Bunker Hill: Proving Ground of the Patriots

During the Battle of Bunker Hill a ragtag group of farmers and tradesman faced the best trained army in the world. But the rebel militia came close to winning this key battle in the Revolutionary War – and the result was a boost to Patriot morale. (Runtime 2:29)

Lord North: Britain's Worst Prime Minister?

When Lord North became Prime Minister of Britain in 1770, the protests in the Thirteen Colonies were just a minor inconvenience. But his response to the Boston Tea Party started a war that would ultimately end his career. (Runtime 2:36)

Nathanael Greene: The Savior of the South

Nathanael Greene, a Quaker from Rhode Island, was George Washington’s right hand man during the Revolutionary War and twice saved the Continental Army from potential disaster. (Runtime 2:44)

Francis Marion: The Swamp Fox

In 1780, when the British took Charleston, it looked as if the rest of South Carolina might end up in Loyalist hands. But a band of Patriot partisans, operating out of the Pee Dee River swamp areas, kept humiliating the British with repeated surprise attacks. Their leader? Francis Marion, the Swamp Fox. (Runtime 2:22)

"10 Crucial Days" Video Still
"Language of the Revolution" Still
"Articles of Confederation" Video Still
"Common Sense" Video Still

About This Project

The first 15 videos in the How We Became America: The Untold History series was originated by the American Battlefield Trust in partnership with the Driving Force Institute for Public Engagement (DFI). We continue creating videos as a part of that partnership and add material that we alone produce. The series of 10 American Revolution videos – released to coincide with the beginning the 2021-2022 school year – is an example of the latter. Now in early 2022, we are pleased to continue our partnership with DFI with a series of Civil War content made possible with the generous financial support of the HTR Foundation. In late 2022 and 2023, with interpretation grant funding from the federal Americans for Battlefields Protection Program we will add more videos on topics associated with the American Revolution.

How We Became America: The Untold History is associated with DFI’s larger Untold initiative, which is produced and distributed by Makematic and the University of Southern California’s Center for Engagement-Driven Global Education (EDGE). How We Became America is filled with eye-catching animation based on iconic period images, plus a slightly irreverent attitude designed to show that history is dynamic.”

Made for students and teachers, but easy-to-consume by all, the series is designed to fill in the gaps and bring new stories to life. Our goal with the videos is to complement existing civics-related articlesprimary sources, and videos. Video is a compelling way for people to learn and made even more important in the age of distance learning. It’s an extremely portable format that works at home, in a classroom, on TV, and on a mobile phone.