Independence: The Tangled Roots of the American Revolution

Independence: The Tangled Roots of the American Revolution

by Thomas P. Slaughter
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Independence: The Tangled Roots of the American Revolution by Thomas P. Slaughter

An important new interpretation of the American colonists' 150-year struggle to achieve independence

"What do we mean by the Revolution?" John Adams asked Thomas Jefferson in 1815. "The war? That was no part of the Revolution. It was only an effect and consequence of it." As the distinguished historian Thomas P. Slaughter shows in this landmark book, the long process of revolution reached back more than a century before 1776, and it touched on virtually every aspect of the colonies' laws, commerce, social structures, religious sentiments, family ties, and political interests. And Slaughter's comprehensive work makes clear that the British who chose to go to North America chafed under imperial rule from the start, vigorously disputing many of the colonies' founding charters.
When the British said the Americans were typically "independent," they meant to disparage them as lawless and disloyal. But the Americans insisted on their moral courage and political principles, and regarded their independence as a great virtue, as they regarded their love of freedom and their loyalty to local institutions. Over the years, their struggles to define this independence took many forms, and Slaughter's compelling narrative takes us from New England and Nova Scotia to New York and Pennsylvania, and south to the Carolinas, as colonists resisted unsympathetic royal governors, smuggled to evade British duties on imported goods (tea was only one of many), and, eventually, began to organize for armed uprisings.
Britain, especially after its victories over France in the 1750s, was eager to crush these rebellions, but the Americans' opposition only intensified, as did dark conspiracy theories about their enemies—whether British, Native American, or French.In Independence, Slaughter resets and clarifies the terms in which we may understand this remarkable evolution, showing how and why a critical mass of colonists determined that they could not be both independent and subject to the British Crown. By 1775–76, they had become revolutionaries—going to war only reluctantly, as a last-ditch means to preserve the independence that they cherished as a birthright.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780374712075
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date: 06/10/2014
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 512
Sales rank: 1,113,334
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Thomas P. Slaughter is the author of The Beautiful Soul of John Woolman, Apostle of Abolition (Hill and Wang, 2008) and four other books. He is the Arthur R. Miller Professor at the University of Rochester and the editor of Reviews in American History.

Thomas P. Slaughter is Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame. He is the author of three prize-winning books: The Whiskey Rebellion: Frontier Epilogue to the American Revolution (1986); Bloody Dawn: The Christiana Riot and Racial Violence in the Antebellum North (1991); and The Natures of John and William Bartram (1996). He also edited the Library of America edition of The Writings of William Bartram (1996). His books have won the National Historical Society Book Prize, the American Revolution Round Table Award, the Society of the Cincinnati Award, and the New Jersey Council for the Humanities Distinguished Author Award. He is a former fellow of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and the Shelby Cullom Davis Center. He is currently writing two books, Vision Quest: Lewis and Clark's Search for the Known and The Snake in the Garden and Snakes in the Grass: History and Culture in Early America.

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