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History of the Rise, Progress, and Termination of the American Revolution

In Two Volumes

Mercy Otis Warren

Publication Year: 2012

A modern edition of Warren's History is indeed a publishing event. Because Warren was deeply engaged in the political and moral issues of her day, her writing represents a treasure trove, especially for those interested in the political response of women to the republican and liberal ideas animating public debate.

— Joyce Appleby, University of California

Mercy Otis Warren has been described as perhaps the most formidable female intellectual in eighteenth-century America. This work (in the first new edition since 1805) is an exciting and comprehensive study of the events of the American Revolution, from the Stamp Act Crisis of 1765 through the ratification of the Constitution in 1788–1789.

Steeped in the classical, republican tradition, Warren was a strong proponent of the American Revolution. She was also suspicious of the newly emerging commercial republic of the 1780s and hostile to the Constitution from an Anti-Federalist perspective, a position that gave her history some notoriety.

Published by: Liberty Fund

Volume 1: Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-7


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pp. vii-xv

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pp. xvi-xxvi

Mercy Otis Warren (1728-1814) was the most formidable female intellectual in eighteenth-century America. In an era dominated by giants, she honorably may be numbered among the intellectuals of the second rank: those, for example, who served in colonial or state legislatures, the Continental Congress, ...


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pp. xxvii-xxxi

Editor's Note

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pp. xxxii-xxxvii

List of Abbreviations

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pp. xxxviii-xl

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"An Address to the Inhabitants of the United States of America"

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pp. xli-xliv

At a period when every manly arm was occupied, and every trait of talent or activity engaged, either in the cabinet or the field, apprehensive, that amidst the sudden convulsions, crowded scenes, and rapid changes, that flowed in quick succession, many circumstances might escape the more busy and active members of society, ...

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Chapter I

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pp. 3-16

History, the deposite of crimes, and the record of every thing disgraceful or honorary to mankind, requires a just knowledge of character, to investigate the sources of action; a clear comprehension, to review the combination of causes; and precision of language, to detail the events that have produced the most remarkable revolutions. ...

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Chapter II

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pp. 17-30

The project of an American taxation might have been longer meditated, but the memorable era of the stamp-act, in one thousand seven hundred and sixty-four, was the first innovation that gave a general alarm throughout the continent. By this extraordinary act, a certain duty was to be levied on all bonds, ...

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Chapter III

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pp. 31-44

The British colonies at this period through the American continent contained, exclusive of Canada and Nova Scotia, the provinces of New Hampshire, and Massachusetts Bay, of Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, the Delaware counties, Virginia, Maryland, the two Carolinas, and Georgia, ...

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Chapter IV

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pp. 45-70

It is ever painful to a candid mind to exhibit the deformed features of its own species; yet truth requires a just portrait of the public delinquent, though he may possess such a share of private virtue as would lead us to esteem the man in his domestic character, while we detest his political, and execrate his public transactions. ...

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Chapter V

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pp. 71-93

The speculatist and the philosopher frequently observe a casual subordination of circumstances independent of political decision, which fixes the character and manners of nations. This thought may be piously improved till it leads the mind to view those casualties, directed by a secret hand which points the revolutions of time, and decides the fate of empires. ...

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Chapter VI

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pp. 94-125

We have seen several years pass off in doubtful anxiety, in repression and repulsion, while many yet indulged the pleasing hope, that some able genius might arise, that would devise measures to heal the breach, to revive the languishing commerce of both countries, and restore the blessings of peace, by removing the causes of complaint. ...

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Chapter VII

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pp. 126-148

Freedom, long hunted round the globe by a succession of tyrants, appeared at this period, as if about to erect her standard in America; the scimitar was drawn from principles, that held life and property as a feather in the balance against the chains of servitude that clanked in her disgusted ear. ...

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Chapter VIII

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pp. 149-166

While as above related, a busy and important scene was exhibited at the northward, the southern colonies were parrying the embarrassments created by the royal governors, some of whom had recently left America. The people were gradually laying aside the prejudices which mankind generally imbibe for old established governments, ...

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Chapter IX

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pp. 167-197

The commissioners who had been announced as the messengers of peace, were now hourly expected; but the dubious aspect of their mission, and the equivocal character in which they were about to appear, was far from lulling to inattention the guardians of the cause of America. ...

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Chapter X

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pp. 198-220

In the beginning of the year one thousand seven hundred and seventy-seven, the spirits of the Americans were generally re-animated by fresh hopes, in consequence of the measures taken by congress to establish a permanent army, until the conclusion of the war, ...

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Chapter XI

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pp. 221-250

From the time that Quebec was invested by Montgomery and Arnold, at the close of the year one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five, until the termination of general Burgoyne's campaign, in the autumn of one thousand seven hundred and seventy-seven, the successes, the expectations, ...

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Chapter XII

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pp. 251-268

While America gloried in her recent success against the northern army, and was making all possible preparations for vigorous action at the southward, the coercive system in Britain was so far from being relaxed, that the most severe measures were urged with bitterness and acrimony. ...

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Chapter XIII

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pp. 269-287

The new commission with which sir Henry Clinton was now vested, was prompt, arduous, and replete with consequences of the highest magnitude to his country, and to his own reputation. The Trident man of war had arrived in the Delaware early in the month of June, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-eight. ...

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Chapter XIV

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pp. 288-304

It has already been observed, that in an early stage of the American contest, some gentlemen were deputed to negociate, and to endeavour to secure the assistance of several European nations. This had had such an effect, that at the period we are now upon, the United States were in strict alliance with France, ...

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Chapter XV

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pp. 305-318

From the concise mode of narration hitherto observed in these annals, a particular detail of naval operations will not be expected. Yet it is necessary to look a little back, and observe that an insular war had raged between the British and French in the West Indies, ...

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Chapter XVI

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pp. 319-340

From the unavoidable inactivity of the Americans in some parts of the continent, and the misfortunes that had attended their arms in others, in the summer of one thousand seven hundred and seventy-nine, sir Henry Clinton was left without any impediment, to prosecute a well concerted expedition to the southern colonies. ...

Appendix to Volume First

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pp. 341-368

Appendix to Volume Second

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pp. 369-382

Volume 2: Title Page, Copyright


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pp. vii-xv

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Chapter XVII

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pp. 385-412

The year one thousand seven hundred and eighty, was a year of incident, expectation, and event; a period pregnant with future consequences, interesting in the highest degree to the political happiness of the nations, and perhaps ultimately to the civil institutions of a great part of mankind. ...

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Chapter XVIII

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pp. 413-426

We have already seen the double disappointment experienced by the United States, occasioned by the capture of one army in South Carolina under general Lincoln, and the defeat of another commanded by general Gates in North Carolina, who was sent forward with the highest expectations of retrieving affairs in that quarter. ...

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Chapter XIX

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pp. 427-451

After the misfortune and suspension of general Gates, immediate steps were taken by congress and the commander in chief, to restore the reputation of the American arms, to check the progress of the British, and defeat their sanguine hopes of speedily subduing the southern [307] colonies. ...

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Chapter XX

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pp. 452-472

In the first moments of victory, the mind is generally elate with the expectation of applause, and the prospect of additional fame. This was exemplified in the conduct of lord Cornwallis, when the retreating Americans had turned their faces from the field at Guilford, and left him to publish proclamations, invitations, and pardon to the inhabitants of the south. ...

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Chapter XXI

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pp. 473-493

[1] The additional weight of maritime force that appeared in the American seas in the year one thousand seven hundred and eighty-one, was [2] serious and eventful. In the view of every sagacious eye, this appearance portended events of magnitude, that might hasten to a decision, the long disputed point between Great Britain and the United States. ...

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Chapter XXII

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pp. 494-510

Immediately after the successful operations in Virginia, the count de Grasse took leave of his American friends, and conformably to orders received from his court before he left France, sailed for the West Indies. He left the continent in the beginning of November, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-one. ....

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Chapter XXIII

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pp. 511-525

The close of the campaign in Virginia, in the year one thousand seven hundred and eighty-one, was an era interesting to the empire of Britain, and indeed to the European world, as well as to the United States of America. The period was beheld by the latter with a mixture of pleasure and astonishment, more easily imagined than described; ...

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Chapter XXIV

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pp. 526-544

To prevent breaking in upon and interrupting the thread of narration, through a detail of the important and interesting scenes acting on the American theatre, many great naval operations have been passed over in silence, and others but slightly noticed. ...

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Chapter XXV

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pp. 545-565

While the active and interesting scenes in the West Indies, related in the preceding pages, commanded the attention of America, and deranged the systems of France, other objects of importance, by sea as well as by land, equally occupied the arms, the industry, and the energies of the European powers, ...

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Chapter XXVI

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pp. 566-585

While new alliances were negociating between the Americans and several European powers, and the importance of the United States was appreciating in the scale of nations, the councils of Britain were confused, and the parliament and the nation split into parties. ...

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Chapter XXVII

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pp. 586-599

After provisional articles for peace had been agreed on at Paris, between the British and American commissioners, the impatient curiosity of the British nation for a full communication of their contents, was inexpressible. The ultimate determinations with regard to the unconditional independence of America, were among the most interesting of their inquiries. ...

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Chapter XXVIII

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pp. 600-609

The discordant sounds of war that had long grated the ears of the children of America, were now suspended, and the benign and heavenly voice of harmony soothed their wounded feelings, and they flattered themselves the dread summons to slaughter and death would not again resound on their shores. ...

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Chapter XXIX

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pp. 610-626

Before we close the curtain on the scenes that have empurpled the plains of America, with the blood of some of the best of her citizens, or before we congratulate the European world on the opportunity of closing the temple of Janus, for a season, it is proper to retrospect and mark some of the intermediate transactions of the American troops, ...

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Chapter XXX

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pp. 627-646

We have seen the banners of Albion displayed, and the pendants of her proud navy waving over the waters of the western world, and threatening terror, servitude, or desolation, to resisting millions. We have seen through the tragic tale of war, all political connexion with Great Britain broken off, ...

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Chapter XXXI

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pp. 647-698

The narration of the revolutionary war between Great Britain and her former colonies, brought down to its termination, leaves the mind at leisure for more general observations on the subsequent consequences, without confining it to time or place. ...

Appendix to Volume Second (Continued)

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pp. 699-700

Appendix to Volume Third

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pp. 701-714

Facsimile Index of the 1805 Edition

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pp. 715-732


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pp. 733-762

E-ISBN-13: 9781614878742
E-ISBN-10: 1614878749
Print-ISBN-13: 9780865970694

Page Count: 821
Publication Year: 2012

Edition: None