Creation of America: Through Revolution to Empire

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Overview

This alternative history of he American Revolution portrays the colonists as conquerors and their revolution as a rebellion over control of conquests. In contrast to the usual views of the Revolution, here the colonists' rhetoric about liberty and virtue is seen as war propaganda to disguise disputes over political power. None of the revolutionary leaders intended the nation to be democratic, and none was opposed to empire. Rather, their aim was to create their own empire independent of Britain, The author supports his claims with much documented detail, including information on the involuntary participation of Native Americans and black in addition to the usual players.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A longstanding historian of colonial America, Jennings (Benjamin Franklin, Politician, etc.), the former director of the Center for the History of the American Indian at the Newberry Library, is tired of the traditional celebratory story of the American Revolution. "My book," he writes, "is an effort to tell the Revolution for adults." Jennings examines nearly every aspect--region by region; battle by battle; and through the eyes of Indians, the British and the colonists. Along the way, he nimbly demonstrates that the colonists, though they claimed to be fighting for liberty, were fighting for the sort of liberty that didn't extend to Native Americans or black slaves. Hardly disinterested servants of the public good, he further argues, the founding fathers were politicians looking out for their own interests. Indeed, they weren't fighting for abstract principles; the colonists didn't, in truth, favor a democratic republic over an empire. To the contrary, according to Jennings, they were very devoted to the idea of empire--they simply wanted to run it themselves rather than "acting as agents for Great Britain." Throughout, Jennings looks especially at they ways in which ideas about race helped the colonists justify certain kinds of conquest. And although he does not say much that has not been argued dozens of times before, his synthesis is provocative, useful and clearly stated. (Sept.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Kirkus Reviews
A detailed account of the less idealistic economic and political motivations that inspired the American Revolution.
From the Publisher
"This time Jennings takes on the entire British imperial establishment both at the Court of St. James and in the Crown's mini-empires in North America. In familiar style he skewers many of the notables of American popular history on his sword of justice, exposing a network of self-interest, hypocrisy, and skulduggery under the surface of revolutionary rhetoric." Anthony F. C. Wallace, University of Pennsylvania

"This is vintage Jennings. It rests on enormous learning, a large historical vision, a strong moral sense, and absolute fearlessness about saying what the author thinks is right. Agree or disagree, it compels attention." Edward Countryman, Southern Methodist University

"Jenning's account...succeeds through a fair and honest reevaluation that not only sheds light on commonly neglected areas, but also provokes thought about uncomfortable aspects of our heritage. An outstanding supplement to the many conventional histories of the American Revolution, Jenning's history offers both an objective account of the conflict and challenging insights about historical distortion." Kirkus Reviews, New York

"Jennings presents his provocative views in a readable style that expands the substance of his argument." Mark Knoblauch, 8/00 Booklist

"If you look at life with a cunical point of view...you should really like Francis Jennings' book. Jennings does such a good job of presenting the evidence that he undermines his own position. One can legitimately look at the glass as being half-full." ACE Weekly

"Throughout, Jennings looks especially at the ways in which ideas about race helped the colonists justify certain kinds of conquest. And although he does not say much that has not been argued dozens of times before, his synthesis is provocative, useful and clearly stated." Publishers Weekly

"In this sweeping revisionist account of the American Revolution, Francis Jennings dispenses with the shibboleths that have long formed the mythology surrounding the nation's birth...Jenning's self-conscious attempt to forego traditional interpretations, and their sources, moves beyond iconoclasm for its own sake, and instead provides a take on the origins of the American empire that gives balance to "mainstream" perspectives." Virgina Quarterly Review vol 77, No.3

"a remarkable set of very engaging stories...Founding Brothers is a wonderful book, one of the best collections of essays on the Founders ever written." N.Y. Review of Books March 01

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521662550
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 8/28/2000
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Table of Contents

Part I. England Extends Conquests to North America: 1. Preface; 2. Origins; 3. Embryonic empires; 4. Dependencies: Indians, The West; 5. Colonial variety I: Virginia; 6. Colonial variety II: New England; 7. Colonial variety III: New York; 8. Colonial variety IV: Pennsylvania; 9. Colonial variety V: South Carolina; Part II. Frictions Arise Within The Empire: 10. 'Salutary neglect'; 11. Royal prerogative in America; 12. War in principle; 13. Irritants; 14. At the core; 15. George III; 16. Reactions becoming revolution; 17. A variation on the theme of liberty; 18. Repression and resistance; 19. A battle for bishops; Part III. An American Clone Breaks Off: 20. Imperial and colonial frontiers; 21. Changing sides; 22. Defiance and crackdown; 23. Uniting for liberty, tentatively; 24. Shots heard round the world; 25. Multiple revolutions; 26. Decision; 27. Religion then and now; 28. A 'people's democracy'; 29. Liberty, virtue, empire; 30. Conquest, slavery, race; 31. Combat: multiple outbreaks; 32. Combat: the western theatre, I; 33. Combat: the northern theatre, I; 34. Combat: the northern theatre, II; 35. Saratoga; 36. Combat: the western theatre, II; 37. 'West' in the middle; 38. Combat: the southern theatre; 39. Yorktown; Part IV. The Clone Establishes its Form: 40. What next?; 41. Land; 42. People; 43. Power; Part V. More Conquests: 44. Climax; 45. In sum.
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