Researching the American Revolution

Your source for information on the American War of Independence



One of the challenges for American Revolution historians is that not all sources are written in English.  This is particularly true for those associated with the French involvement in the Revolution.  For example, the Treaty of Aranjuez (1779) confirmed the Spanish commitment of the Bourbon Family Compact to enter a war with Great Britain on the side of the French.  This treaty is found in the Davenport volume listed below but is only available in French.

More American Revolutionary events occurred in Paris, France, than most people imagine.  A historically minded Boy Scout completed an Eagle Project, which presents a comprehensive walking tour of Paris’s American Revolutionary War sites. The guided walk starts at the house that John Adams resided in during his diplomatic stay, continues to twenty-three sites, and ends at the memorial to the Lafayette Squadron of World War I.

Diaries and Memoirs

Lafayette, Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert Du Motier. Lafayette in the Age of the American Revolution: Selected Letters and Papers, 1776-1790. Edited by Stanley J. Idzerda. 5 vols. The Papers of the Marquis de Lafayette. Ithaca, N.Y: Cornell University Press, 1977.

Other Primary Sources

Davenport, Frances G., and Charles Oscar Paullin, eds. European Treaties Bearing on the History of the United States and Its Dependencies. 4 vols. Clark, N.J: Lawbook Exchange, 2004.

Poulin, Eugena, and Claire Quintal. La Gazette Françoise, 1780-1781: Revolutionary America’s French Newspaper. Newport, RI : Hanover: Salve Regina University ; In association with University Press of New England, 2007.

Upon landing in Newport, Rhode Island, in 1780, the French Army authorized a French-language newspaper to provide information to the newly arrived soldiers. Unfortunately, the newspaper encompassed only six issues and one supplement. Each issue is translated and reproduced in this book and documented with accompanying notes and explanations. The news items represent stories and issues important to the French Army which embarked on a foreign land. Additionally, the editors list all the known French soldiers who died while on Newport garrison duty in an appendix. The authors’ extensive scholarship is evident through copious and detailed end notes.

Rice, Howard C., Anne S. Kinsolving Brown, Jean François Louis Clermont-Crèvecœur, Jean Baptiste Antoine de Verger, and Alexandre Berthier. The American Campaigns of Rochambeau’s Army, 1780, 1781, 1782, 1783. two vols. Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press, 1972.

Secondary Sources

Bajou-Charpentreau, Valérie, ed. Versailles and the American Revolution. Chateau de Versailles: Gourcuff Gradenigo, 2016.

Bonsal, Stephen. When the French Were Here – A Narrative of the Yorktown Campaign. Garden City, N.Y: Doubleday, Doran & Company, Inc., 1945.

Chaffin, Tom. Revolutionary Brothers: Thomas Jefferson, the Marquis de Lafayette, and the Friendship That Helped Forge Two Nations. First edition. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2019.

Dull, Jonathan R. The French Navy and American Independence:  A Study of Arms and Diplomacy, 1774-1787. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1975.

Ferreiro, Larrie D. Brothers at Arms: American Independence and the Men of France & Spain Who Saved It. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2016.

Lewis, Charles Lee. Admiral De Grasse and American Independence. Annapolis, Maryland: United States Naval Institute, 1945.

Jouve, Daniel. Paris: Birthplace of the U.S.A. Paris, New York, N.Y.: Grund ; Librairie de France [distributor], 1995.

Perkins, James Breck. France in the American Revolution. Cranbury, NJ: Scholar’s Bookshelf, 2005.

Journal Articles

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