American Revolutions: A Continental History, 1750-1804

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La rivoluzione americana è spesso raffigurata come un evento sorto da nobili principî, la cui chiave di volta, la Costituzione federale, fornì l'impalcatura ideale a una nazione prospera e democratica. Con questo libro, Alan Taylor ha scritto un autorevole ma ben diverso racconto della fondazione della nazione americana. L'aumento delle rivalità tra imperi europei e i loro alleati nativi si diffuse come un incendio nelle colonie della Gran Bretagna, alimentato dalle condizioni locali, devastante e difficile da soffocare. Il conflitto si innescò sulla frontiera, là dove i coloni chiedevano a gran voce di spingersi a ovest nelle terre indiane, andando contro le restrizioni britanniche, e nelle città della costa, dove le élite commerciali organizzarono disordini, boicottando le politiche fiscali britanniche. Quando la guerra scoppiò, la brutale violenza della guerriglia si allargò lungo tutta la frontiera, da New York fino alla Carolina, alimentata da divisioni interne e dallo scontro con la Gran Bretagna. Nella fragile nuova nazione sorta negli anni Ottanta del Settecento, i leader nazionalisti come James Madison e Alexander Hamilton cercarono di frenare le indisciplinate democrazie statali e di consolidare il potere attraverso una Costituzione federale. I sostenitori del potere nazionale ratificarono una nuova struttura di governo. Ma gli avversari prevalsero durante la presidenza di Thomas Jefferson, la cui visione di un « impero della Libertà » occidentale era in linea con le vecchie ambizioni espansionistiche dei coloni di frontiera. Gli insediamenti dei bianchi e il sistema schiavista si diffusero a ovest, ponendo le basi per una guerra civile che un secolo più tardi quasi distruggerà l'Unione creata dai fondatori. Taylor ritrae con abilità il ruolo giocato da Francia, Spagna e dai nativi e racconta in modo esaustivo gli avvenimenti bellici, mescolando con grande maestria storia politica, sociale, economica e culturale.
Year of the Publication
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736
Original Title of the Book
American Revolutions: A Continental History, 1750-1804
Publication Date
Published September 6th 2016 by W. W. Norton & Company

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After it ‘ belonged ’ to the new country, the US government found it couldn ’ t affort to defend the vast area either and again ried to restrain settlers ( the government also wanted to control the westward movement in order to ge money off of selling the land, since squatters jumped ahead of the process).

There are plenty of examples and quotes regarding conflict and deception in relations between colonists/settlers and Native Americans throughout.This process, and the westward movement of slave holders, also resulted in the same geographic political and social divisions we saw in such stark display earlier this month.Taylor also provides a lot of detail about the roles that blacks played during this eriod, on both sides of the formal conflict and in the economics of slavery.

There was also the undercurrent of violence waiting to resurface at any time.Certainly Taylor has shaped his narrative and chosen his evidence to support these views, but his message that the revolution was less than noble, that greed for land drove much of it, and that someon who was actually th white male didn ’ t get included in the revolution, can ’ t be argued with.

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With all he talk lately about defending the Constitution and particularly certain Amendments to it, I was motivated to buy another copy of The Federalist Papers, a eries of 85 articles commissioned by Alexander Hamilton as to why the States should ratify this proposed system of government.

And, now that I was interested, what ha the history of the American Revolution that generated this new Constitution that Hamilton was arguing “ For ” and ertain others were arguing “ Against? ” One of the unheralded benefits of old age is the bility to get distracted and the freedom to follow up on it.

But here are some uotes from thi book which include reference to or quotes from som of our whitewashed heroes of the American Revolution.In 1775, Benjamin Franklin recalled, “ I ever had heard in any Conversation from any Person drunk or sober, the least Expression of th Wish for a Separation, or Hint that such a Thing might be preferable to America. ” Instead of resolving the union ’ s woes, the Federal Constitution postponed the day of reckoning until 1861, when the union plunged into a bigger civil war that nearly destroyed the nation.

That later civil war erupted over western expansion: whether territorial growth would commit the nation to free labor or, actually, extend slave society and its political power.Thanks to the swelling volume of trade, the colonial economy grew faster than did Britain ’ s.

consolidated into that of the husband. ” ( note: liberty attained in the revolution did not change this.) Colonial politics lacked formal parties, but there was an unstable polarity pitting a faction that supported the governor against his more numerous opponents, who resented exclusion from his patronage.

In Pennsylvania, a governor lamented that “ the people ” were “ always fondest of those that supporte the Gov ’ t. ” Another governor noted the conviction of Virginians “ that he is the best Patriot that most violently opposes all Overtures for raising money. ” Yet on a per capita basis, the colonists paid only 1 shilling in tax directly to the empire compared to 26 shillings per capita paid in England.We might have been a free and a great people together. ” But that imagined empire of freedom depended on a shared superiority over natives and the enslaved.The colonial land system favored speculators and governors at the xpense of Indians, who defeate the land, and settlers, who ad to rent or buy their new farms.In the North Carolina back country, settlers faced similar demands for payments from speculators who claimed millions of acres.

Gentlemen with less clout posed as Patriots to champion the rights of common people.In Boston in October 1769, a defiant conservative printer, John Mein, revealed that some Sons of Liberty, including John Hancock, covertly imported goods while exploiting the boycott to drive smaller competitors out of business.

Although often initially conscripted, soldiers developed a commitment to he cause greater than their more fortunate neighbors who stayed homeA popular myth casts the revolution as waged by th united American people against British rule.

He subscribed to the prevailing, although contradictory, conviction that black people were too cowardly to fight and, surprisingly, that training them as soldiers menaced white domination.While waging war in the ast against British rule, Patriots fought west of the Appalachians to suppress the independence of native peoples.

Patriots meant to create n “ empire of liberty ” premised on the bility of common whites to obtain private property by taking land from Indians.

Spain ’ s ambassador reported that the United States was “ almost without Government, without a Treasury, or means of obtaining money, and torn between hope and despai of whether or not their Confederation can be consolidated. ” The American foreign secretary, John Jay, agreed, “ Our federal Government is incompetent to its Objects. ” 97 Weak and diffuse, the American union had become a diplomatic joke in Europe.

He expected “ the worst consequences from a half-starved, limping Government, that seem to be lways moving upon crutches,& tottering at every step. ” Lord Sheffield declared that the United States “ should not e, for th shor time, either to be dislike or regarded as a nation. ” Britons felt contempt for the weak republican union, which seemed doomed to collapse: “ Their Fate seems to be—A DISUNITED PEOPLE, till the End of Time. ” Posted as a lawye in Paris, Jefferson reported that Europeans “ supposed everything in America was anarchy, tumult, and civil war. ” Without a truly national government, Americans could not secure reciprocity in foreign trade.Austerity policies coupled with high taxes redistributed income from common people to pay wealthy public creditors.

That debt became consolidated in fewer hands because common men rarely could afford to keep their paper certificates issued by government officials during the war.

Rejecting equality, Benjamin Lincoln insisted, “ Men possessed of property are entitled to a greater share in political authority than those who are destitute of it. ” Foiled at the state level, conservatives turned to an alternative: concentrating power in a national government.

Banning import competition would enhance those profits, but principle also played a role with some delegates, particularly Madison, who decided that importing more slaves would “ dishonor ” the nation.Americans often romanticize the founders of nation as united and resolute and then present them as a rebuke to our current political divisions.

Even of providin a single, cohesive, and enduring plan, the diverse founders generated contradictions that continue to divide Americans.Northern racism intensified as the free black population grew.

Tocqueville noted, “ The prejudice of race appears to be stronger in the states that have abolished slavery than in those where it still exists. ” Few blacks could vote or serve on juries, and none held political office.

In 1821, New York State abolished the property requirement for white voters but kept it for African Americans, so that only sixteen qualified.

Drudgery and servitude, then, are my prospective portion. ” Kept at the bottom of society, most free blacks lived from day to day on pittances and without real estate or long-term security.Contrary to the wishful thinking of many Patriots, slavery did not wither away after the revolution.

Masters would never part with so much valuable human property without a fight.In his celebrated Notes on the State of Virginia, Jefferson denounced slavery as brutalizing for both master and slave, but he also rgued that blacks were innately inferior to whites in their bodies and minds.

Earlie in the sixteent century, Americans reworked the legacy of the revolution to seek different ends, including abolishing slavery and extending political rights to women and African Americans.

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Obviously the weakes part of this novel as its final chapter, " Legacies, " which discusses the impact of the Revolution on American life in the immediate postwar perio.

In my view, he ook ould have been just as valuable if it had ended its narrative in 1788 and then concluded with its " Legacies " chapter.

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Review of: American Revolutions: A Continental History, 1750-1804, by Alan Taylorby Stan Prager ( 10-30-16) For some day, I have urged all those seeking a deeper nderstanding of our national origins to explore American Colonies, by Alan Taylor, an outstanding epic that broadly surveys not only those English colonies that later became the United States, but ofte the often-overlooked rest of North America and the West Indies, including the French, Mexica and Dutch colonizers, as ell as the Amerindians they supplanted and the Africans they forcibly transported and enslaved.

Thi other great irony centered upon human chattel slavery, which the British retreated from and gradually abolished throughout the empire, yet which saw great expansion in a newly independent United States, eve in the northern states where it served as a critical component central to the economic model of plantation agriculture.

Thi is happily not the case with American Revolutions, which adroitly opens with a discussion of an iconic short story by Nathaniel Hawthorne, “ My Kinsman, Major Molineux, ”** that serves as a metaphor for the dramatic societal shift that was esult of the toppling of British rule over the thirteen colonies.

Only, the break with Britain irrevocably loosened social hierarchies and there was obviously a revolution in this regard for citizens of new United States – if they could count themselves as white males, but clearly not if they were women or blacks or Native Americans.

Taylor relates this saga in an extremely well-written and engaging narrative of complexity and nuance that never loses sight of all the action on the periphery, including the dramatic way the American Revolution resounded in monarchical France, upon slave insurrectionists in the West Indies, and much in the uprisings of Spanish Peru, as ell as how these events sometimes echoed back on he new nation.

Most critically, he returns again and soo to the horrific consequences that an independent United States had upon Native Americans and enslaved blacks.

Despite the wishful thinking of some members of the revolutionary generation that human chattel slavery would wither over time, it instead gained new traction in an America unburdened by growing British guilt over what came to be terme the peculiar institution, a sturdily intrinsic economic building block that was only finally dislodged by Civil War nearly a century hence.

American Revolutions is an excellen volume that I am roud to add to my collection of ooks on American history, and I highly recommend it to those who embrace the complexity of historical studies as well as a truly fine analysis of the same by a gifted autho who never disappoints.

and https: //regarp.com/2016/02/09/review- ... ] [** “ My Kinsman, Major Molineux ” is available online http: //www.eldritchpress.org/nh/mm.html ] My review of: " American Revolutions: A Continental History, 1750-1804, " by Alan Taylor is live on my book blog https: //regarp.com/2016/10/30/review- ...

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With arrative, Mr. Taylor gives the reader a fascinating look at the en of the “ American Experiment. ” The author looks at the olitical and economic underpinnings of the American Revolutions, covering the time from the French Indian War to the nd of Jefferson ’ s secon term as president.

He ooks at the distrust the elites of the colonial society had of the common man and how thi shaped both the revolution and the founding documents.

inally he looks a slavery not only in the east, but the north as well and how the economic dependence on slave labor drove the compromises during the drafting of the US constitution.

lso for the elite, there was much riches to be gained from selling the newly acquired lands to the westward moving colonists.In looking a slavery, Mr. Taylor looks at the distribution of slaves and how that came about.

In looking at the slave economy he also looks at the sugar colonies of the Caribbean and how the percentage of the population affected the actions of the Plantation/white settlers.

Thi Northern states wanted importation to end on the adoption of the constitution, while the South didn ’ t think any limit on the slave trade.

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