Deep inside all of us is a memory of a childhood show that we can’t quite recall fully, but that we know shaped us deeply. If you’re a conservative woman of a certain age, that show was probably Liberty’s Kids. And in the pandemic, many of us have taken to nostalgia binging. I did us all a favor and nostalgia binged Liberty’s Kids. 

First, let’s talk about what the heck Liberty’s Kids was…in case your memory has not been fully jogged by the name alone. 

Liberty’s Kids is an animated series that aired in the early 2000s that follows a colonist boy, James, through the early years of the American Revolution, along with his British friend, Sarah Phillips. A British citizen and a colonist? Cue the tension, the drama, and the insightful takes on the biggest moments of the Revolution.  Along the way, we meet the most famous characters of the Revolution–aka, the real people–and we get a front row seat to the Boston Tea Party, the publication of Common Sense, the Battle of Bunker HIll, Valley Forge, and the Constitutional Convention. 

The story covers the time period from December 1773—the first episode is the Boston Tea Party–to the Constitutional Convention in 1787.  Along the way, they talk about the very real issues of slavery and freedom,  the ongoing Constitutional debates, the trials of war, etc. Yes, it is a children’s show…but, even watching it as a 25 year old who got a 5 on the APUSH exam and is literally a Daughter of the American Revolution, I really enjoyed it! It’s got a lot more to its credit than you might imagine for a PBS show that aired for about a year. 

Something I didn’t remember was what a role Phillis Wheatley played in the Liberty’s Kids story, especially in season 1. You might know Wheatley as the first African-American author of a published work of poetry in the United States. She’s a very interesting historical character, and I loved seeing her depicted on the screen so that kids could learn about her even more than they might already in school. 

I can’t explain how absolutely compelled I became by rewatching this series, as soon as I had started. It was a PBS animation show, so each episode is a solid 20 minutes of good time. There’s also little “skit bits” as I’m going to call them throughout the show to engage the audience–and yes, I a grown woman was engaged deeply. There’s trivia and news breaks and “hang man” style guessing games. It helps reinforce the educational elements of the show. 

I ended up binging all 40 episodes of the show in about 4 days, during my telework hours, because putting it on kept me motivated, entertained, and I kept looking up and being like “I forgot about that!” Which is amazing! This show does hold up to the nearly two decades since it’s aired, and I think a nostalgia binge is a must-do for any conservative woman, or history lover, currently looking for their next binge. 

A discussion about Liberty’s Kids would not be complete without a discussion of the insane voice cast it has. To start, 2003 heartthrob Aaron Carter sings the theme song. You’re welcome. The voice cast is insane though. Imagining a kids animation show landing this kind of cast today makes my brain hurt. 

Walter Cronkite voices Ben Franklin, Billy Crystal voices John Adams, Annette Benning voices Abigail Adams, Charles Shaugnessy voices King George III, Dustin Hoffman voices Benedict Arnold, Ben Stiller voices Thomas Jefferson, Arnold Schwarzenegger voices Baron von Steuben, Liam Neeson voices John Paul Jones, Whoopi Goldberg voices Deborah Samson, and Sylvester Stallone voices Paul Revere. 

Are you impressed? You should be. I can’t tell if they had an insane budget, or they knew it would be good for America and therefore took a pay cut to contribute to the education of a generation of American students. 

If you need to take a walk down memory lane, want to teach a younger sibling or cousin about the American Revolution, or just dive into some nostalgia, you needsto watch Liberty’s Kids. Unfortunately, like too many shows of yesteryear, it’s a bit hard to stream. Kanopy, a service often used by public libraries, has the first ten episodes available to stream. However, this being 2021, you can also find almost all of them on YouTube. It’s also supposedly on Sling TV, but I’m too mainstream to have ever tried that service. 

No matter how mainstream you feel, how well you scored on the APUSH test, or what you’re doing this weekend, you need to rewatch Liberty’s Kids. Or watch it for the first time—I think you’re history loving heart will be impressed!

Aryssa D
FFL Cabinet Member