Tag Archives: American Revolution

John Ferling: “Forget a new civil war. We need a new American revolution.”

“More than 200 years later, the United States may well be losing the American Revolution.”

Rachel Engl reviews Van Buskirk’s “Standing in Their Own Light”

“In Standing in Their Own Light: African American Patriots in the American Revolution, Judith L. Van Buskirk skillfully recovers the story of thousands of black men who took up arms against the British and fought for the cause of American independence within the Continental Army.  …  Exposing the paradox of slavery in a moment driven by the ideological pursuits of freedom, Van Buskirk shatters the myth of the Revolution as a watershed event for liberty and equality for all, and instead explores the complicated existence of African American patriots during the revolutionary tumult.”

E.G. Gallwey: “‘Ideological Origins’ at 50: Power, Rights, and the Rise and Fall of Free States”

“Originally published as an introduction to an edition of revolutionary pamphlets, entitled The Transforming Radicalism of the American Revolution, Bernard Bailyn’s The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution, together with the companion volume The Origins of American Politics, provided a periodization or intellectual chronology of the rise of revolutionary consciousness.”

Adam Gopnik: “Was the American Revolution such a good idea? We Could Have Been Canada”

“And what if it was a mistake from the start? The Declaration of Independence, the American Revolution, the creation of the United States of America—what if all this was a terrible idea, and what if the injustices and madness of American life since then have occurred not in spite of the virtues of the Founding Fathers but because of them? The Revolution, this argument might run, was a needless and brutal bit of slaveholders’ panic mixed with Enlightenment argle-bargle, producing a country that was always marked for violence and disruption and demagogy. Look north to Canada, or south to Australia, and you will see different possibilities of peaceful evolution away from Britain, toward sane and whole, more equitable and less sanguinary countries. … Justin du Rivage’s Revolution Against Empire (Yale) re-situates the Revolution not as a colonial rebellion against the mother country but as one episode in a much larger political quarrel that swept the British Empire in the second half of the eighteenth century. Basically, du Rivage thinks that the American Revolution wasn’t American. The quarrels that took place in New York and Philadelphia went on with equal ferocity, and on much the same terms, in India and England, and though they got settled by force of arms and minds differently in each place, it was the same struggle everywhere.”

Jennifer Schuessler: “A New Museum of the American Revolution, Warts and All”

The new Museum of the American Revolution opens in Philadelphia:  “If it doesn’t quite throw the old heroic narrative out the window, it does draw on decades of scholarship that has emphasized the conflicts and contradictions within the Revolution, while also taking a distinctly bottom-up view of events.”