The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution

The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution

Book - 1992
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In this book, Bailyn discusses the intense, nation-wide debate on the ratification of the constitution, stressing the continuities between that struggle over the foundations of national government and the original principles of the revolution.
Publisher: Cambridge, Mass. :, Belknap Press of Harvard University Press,, 1992.
Edition: Enlarged edition.
ISBN: 9780674443020
Branch Call Number: 320.50973 BA
Characteristics: xvi, 396 pages ; 21 cm
Additional Contributors: Rogers D. Spotswood Collection


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Jan 21, 2019

A thoughtful and insightful review of pre- and post-revolution literature to discern the ideologies underlying the revolution. The book started with a cataloging of pamphlets, broadsides and newspapers of the era. This major effort is a very well documented explanation of the arguments pro and con of an almost exhaustible list of topics. Much of the book is from quotations of the sources examined and the footnotes are voluminous and detailed. He examines the theories of governance, religion, economics, trade, and topics like slavery, royalty and the duty of man to God (as it relates to living in a commonly governed community). For anyone who has studied American history there is not much new here in terms of the substantive arguments; however, the close and tight analysis of the extant literature was a phenomenal effort, deserving of respect, admiration and utmost credibility of its intellectual (and actual) honesty.

This book is still very relevant as it touches on topics of governance which will always be pertinent. Many of the ideas and topics deserve more study and discussion now. Ideas such as term limits, responsiveness to the common good, preference to those with great wealth, and the privileges of the "nobility" are all relevant today as they were in the 1700's and indeed in ancient times.

Many references to early writers on government are mostly lost on us except for the pure academics of today. A reminder that we need to hear from upper level professors and heed them more than have in recent generations (IMHO).

Someone wrote in this book, especially in the early chapters. It is otherwise in good shape. The protective cover needs to be reapplied.


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