Seeds of Discontent: The Deep Roots of the American Revolution, 1650-1750

Seeds of Discontent: The Deep Roots of the American Revolution, 1650-1750

by J. Revell Carr
     
 

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Popularly, the causes of the American Revolution are considered the Stamp Act and other repressive actions by the Crown against its colonies in the years following the French & Indian War. Some see the sources in the outcome of that war, when George III forbade settlement beyond the Alleghenies. J. Revell Carr takes a longer view, and in Seeds of Discontent, he…  See more details below

Overview

Popularly, the causes of the American Revolution are considered the Stamp Act and other repressive actions by the Crown against its colonies in the years following the French & Indian War. Some see the sources in the outcome of that war, when George III forbade settlement beyond the Alleghenies. J. Revell Carr takes a longer view, and in Seeds of Discontent, he locates the roots of the Revolution a century earlier. In the latter half of the 17th century, tensions between colonists and the Crown were strikingly similar, culminating in the Revolution of 1689. Though subsequent decades were relatively peaceful, the bitterness was not forgotten, and friction began to build throughout the 1720s and 30s, reaching a peak after the famed 1745 battle for Louisbourg, the seemingly impregnable French fortress in Nova Scotia. Won on Englands behalf at great cost to the largely American-born strike force, it was given back to France two years later in return for French concessions in the Caribbean-an act that outraged politicians, citizens, and soldiers alike.
Bringing to life the two generations that inspired our Founding Fathers, Revell Carr illuminates an eventful century largely ignored by historians.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Carr (All Brave Sailors), former director of Mystic Seaport, believes the seeds of the American Revolution were first sown in the mid-17th century, when Britain began to exert control over colonies that had mostly been left to tend and fend for themselves. In 1651 the first of the anti-free trade Navigation Acts was introduced, and England began suspending representative legislatures. These and a multitude of slights (real and imagined) bred long-simmering resentments and periodic revolts; a failed rebellion in 1689 was sparked after Massachusetts's charter was revoked. Carr focuses most of his account on the wars between Britain and France, and Britain's postvictory surrender to the French of Louisbourg, on Nova Scotia-which had been taken at great cost in American lives. A century of "British disrespect, mismanagement, and exploitation," Carr summarizes, "prepared the minds of the colonists for revolution." Carr's exploration of this background to the War of Independence is fascinating, but leaves an important question unanswered: if Britain was so oppressive, then why did a third of Americans remain loyalto the Crown? 25 b&w illus., 3 maps. (Oct.)

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Library Journal

Carr (former director, Mystic Seaport; All Brave Sailors ) presents a survey of the turmoil that led up to the American Revolution, including Bacon's Rebellion (1676), the Maine campaign of 1688, Queen Anne's War (1702-13), the War of Jenkins's Ear, and King George's War, both of the 1740s, all the while describing situations that demonstrate the growing strife between the emerging "Americans" and the often heavy-handed British officials. Carr is at his best when depicting specifics that colorfully illustrate the growing tension, such as the British practice of impressing sailors and the Casco Bay siege during Queen Anne's War. But the reader is left to wonder why Carr ends the book at 1750 and thus provides only a cursory overview of the French and Indian War, which arguably had the greatest impact on colony-crown relations, and King Philip's War. Despite these flaws, Carr's text provides a decent update to Douglas Edward Leach's Arms for Empire and Roots of Conflict . Recommended only for public libraries.-Matthew J. Wayman, Ciletti Lib., Penn State Schuylkill

Kirkus Reviews
A history of the 100 years of "abuse, exploitation, mismanagement, and disrespect" suffered by the American colonies at the hands of Britain. At the heart of the narrative lies the thrilling story of the 1745 taking of the French fortress at Louisbourg by a combined force of New England colonials and a halfhearted Royal Navy. Carr (All Brave Soldiers: The Sinking of the Anglo-Saxon, August 21, 1940, 2004, etc.) cleverly uses this triumphant moment to illustrate themes-British arrogance, indifference and greed-that he traces back to at least the end of the Interregnum where, after a period of benign neglect during which the colonists had become used to a large measure of self-government, Britain sought to impose greater control over its valuable possessions. Carr assembles the growing catalogue of American resentments: the heavy-handed and light-fingered rule of royal governors and military officials and their subsequent exoneration of any wrongdoing by British tribunals; the impressment of American citizens by the Royal Navy; seeming British indifference to the colonies' vulnerability to Indian attack and French encirclement; Parliament's imposition of taxes and trade restrictions; the shabby treatment of those who, either by their service or their financial aid, contributed to British success. Relaxing his galloping pace, Carr settles into the Louisbourg story, detailing the characters (his portrait of the conniving Admiral Warren is wonderful) and the campaign that captures so many of his themes. After the expenditure of much American blood and treasure, the colonials watched as British officials claimed credit, titles and plunder. Even more galling, the mother country, as always moreconcerned with global politics than American welfare, returned the hard-won prize only a few years later to France. No doubt Britain had her own list of grievances against the "ungrateful" colonies, but Carr restricts himself to the origins of American discontent, in place well before any tea was dumped into Boston harbor. A well-calibrated account of the foreign and domestic events that prepared Americans, psychologically and emotionally, for the revolutionary break in 1776. Agent: Stuart Krichevsky/SK Agency

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802777614
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
07/23/2010
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
416
Sales rank:
339,808
File size:
859 KB

Meet the Author

J. Revell Carr is the author of All Brave Sailors. A former president and director of Mystic Seaport Museum, he lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and on the coast of Maine.
J. Revell Carr is the author of All Brave Sailors. A former president and director of Mystic Seaport Museum, he lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and on the coast of Maine.

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