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The Poetry of Mourning from the Puritans to Whitman
Two Volume Paperback Set
These volumes provide a selection of seventy-six essays, pamphlets, speeches, and letters to newspapers written between 1760 and 1805 by American political and religious leaders. Many are obscure pieces that were previously available only in larger research libraries. But all illuminate the founding of the American republic and are essential reading for students and teachers of American political thought. The second volume includes an annotated bibliography of five hundred additional items for future reference.
The subjects covered in this rich assortment of primary material range from constitutionalism, representation, and republicanism to freedom of the press, religious liberty, and slavery. Among the more noteworthy items reprinted, all in their entirety, are Stephen Hopkins, "The Rights of the Colonies Examined" (1764); Richard Bland, "An Inquiry into the Rights of the British Colonies" (1766); John Adams, "Thoughts on Government" (1776); Theophilus Parsons, "The Essex Result" (1778); James Madison, "Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments" (1785); James Kent, "An Introductory Lecture to a Course of Law Lectures" (1794); Noah Webster, "An Oration on the Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence" (1802); and James Wilson, "On Municipal Law" (1804).
Charles S. Hyneman was Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Indiana University before his death in 1984. He was a past president of the American Political Science Association.
Donald S. Lutz is Professor of Political Science at the University of Houston.
Many reference works offer compilations of critical documents covering individual liberty, local autonomy, constitutional order, and other issues that helped to shape the American political tradition. Yet few of those works are available in a form suitable for classroom use, and traditional textbooks give short shrift to these important issues.
The American Republic overcomes that knowledge gap by providing, in a single volume, critical, original documents revealing the character of American discourse on the nature and importance of local government, the purposes of federal union, and the role of religion and tradition in forming America’s drive for liberty.
The American Republic is divided into nine sections, each illustrating major philosophical, cultural, and policy positions at issue during crucial eras of American development. Readers will find documentary evidence of the purposes behind European settlement, American response to English acts, the pervasive role of religion in early American public life, and perspectives in the debate over independence.
Subsequent chapters examine the roots of American constitutionalism, Federalist and Anti-Federalist arguments concerning the need to protect common law rights, and the debates over whether the states or the federal government held final authority in determining the course of public policy in America. Also included are the discussions regarding disagreements over internal improvements and other federal measures aimed at binding the nation, particularly in the area of commerce.
The final section focuses on the political, cultural, and legal issues leading to the Civil War. Arguments and attempted compromises regarding slavery, along with laws that helped shape slavery, are highlighted. The volume ends with the prelude to the Civil War, a natural stopping-off point for studies of early American history.
By bringing together key original documents and other writings that explain cultural, religious, and historical concerns, this volume gives students, teachers, and general readers an effective way to begin examining the diversity of issues and influences that characterize American history. The result unquestionably leads to a deeper and more thorough understanding of America's political, institutional, and cultural continuity and change.
Bruce P. Frohnen is Associate Professor of Law at Ohio Northern University College of Law. He holds a J.D. from the Emory University School of Law and a Ph.D. in Government from Cornell University. Click here to print or download The American Republic index.
The Promise of Independence
Carol Sue Humphrey’s The American Revolution and the Press argues that newspapers played an important role during America’s struggle for independence by keeping Americans engaged in the war even when the fighting occurred in distant locales. From the moment that the colonials received word of Britain’s new taxes in 1764 until reports of the peace treaty arrived in 1783, the press constituted the major source of information about events and developments in the conflict with the mother country. Both Benjamin Franklin, one of the Revolution’s greatest leaders, and Ambrose Serle, a Loyalist, described the press as an “engine” that should be used to advance the cause. The efforts of Patriot printers to keep readers informed about the war helped ensure ultimate success by boosting morale and rallying Americans to the cause until victory was achieved. As Humphrey illustrates, Revolutionary-era newspapers provided the political and ideological unity that helped Americans secure their independence and create a new nation.
Written when political and military history dominated the discipline, J. Franklin Jameson's The American Revolution Considered as a Social Movement was a pioneering work. Based on a series of four lectures he gave at Princeton University in 1925, the short book argued that the most salient feature of the American Revolution had not been the war for independence from Great Britain; it was, rather, the struggle between aristocratic values and those of the common people who tended toward a leveling democracy. American revolutionaries sought to change their government, not their society, but in destroying monarchy and establishing republics, they in fact changed their society profoundly. Jameson wrote, "The stream of revolution, once started, could not be con.ned within narrow banks, but spread abroad upon the land."
Jameson's book was among the first to bring social analysis to the fore of American history. Examining the effects the American Revolution had on business, intellectual and religious life, slavery, land ownership, and interactions between members of different social classes, Jameson showed the extent of the social reforms won at home during the war. By looking beyond the political and probing the social aspects of this seminal event, Jameson forced a reexamination of revolution as a social phenomenon and, as one reviewer put it, injected a "liberal spirit" into the study of American history. Still in print after nearly eighty years, the book is a classic of American historiography.
A Documentary Collection
Eyewitness accounts of the War of Independence by British observers and participants
The letters in this collection were written mostly by British military officers and diplomats reporting directly to their superiors in London. Many of the writers were actively engaged in fighting the Americans from 1775 until 1783; others were colonial administrators traveling through North America assessing the progress of British troops.
Beginning with reports of the surprisingly violent American response at the battles of Lexington and Concord, these letters by British army officers and soldiers initially conveyed supreme confidence. Likewise, correspondents in the Royal Navy had no reason to doubt their ultimate victory, since they understood themselves to be the world’s most formidable commercial and military fleet.
As the Revolution proceeded, the Colonists confounded the British by issuing Letters of Marque to the owners of privately held ships, which enabled them to supplement the modest colonial navy with privateers that attacked and disrupted British supply lines, cutting off needed reinforcements and provisions, including food that the colonists refused to provide. Other unorthodox tactics followed, causing increasing concern among the British, including the eventual fate of many Loyalists, some of whom had fought alongside British troops. What would befall these allies if America actually achieved independence?
The near-daily reports in this engrossing two-volume collection enable us to appreciate the familiar drama of American independence from a different standpoint, one not widely studied. Little-known details emerge, such as the fact that King George III seriously considered abdicating the throne at least twice, should independence be granted to America.
The American Revolution through British Eyes is sure to captivate anyone with an interest in America’s war for independence.
Empire, Revolution, Republic
The thirteen mainland colonies of early America were arguably never more British than on the eve of their War of Independence from Britain. Though home to settlers of diverse national and cultural backgrounds, colonial America gradually became more like Britain in its political and judicial systems, material culture, economies, religious systems, and engagements with the empire. At the same time and by the same process, these politically distinct and geographically distant colonies forged a shared cultural identity—one that would bind them together as a nation during the Revolution.
Anglicizing America revisits the theory of Anglicization, considering its application to the history of the Atlantic world, from Britain to the Caribbean to the western wildernesses, at key moments before, during, and after the American Revolution. Ten essays by senior historians trace the complex processes by which global forces, local economies, and individual motives interacted to reinforce a more centralized and unified social movement. They examine the ways English ideas about labor influenced plantation slavery, how Great Britain's imperial aspirations shaped American militarization, the influence of religious tolerance on political unity, and how Americans' relationship to Great Britain after the war impacted the early republic's naval and taxation policies. As a whole, Anglicizing America offers a compelling framework for explaining the complex processes at work in the western hemisphere during the age of revolutions.
Contributors: Denver Brunsman, William Howard Carter, Ignacio Gallup-Diaz, Anthony M. Joseph, Simon P. Newman, Geoffrey Plank, Nancy L. Rhoden, Andrew Shankman, Jeremy A. Stern, David J. Silverman.
An Interpretation of the Social-Constitutional History of the American Revolution, 1774–1781
“An admirable analysis. It presents, in succinct form, the results of a generation of study of this chapter of our history and summarizes fairly the conclusions of that study.”—Henry Steele Commager, New York Times Book Review
Americans in Spanish West Florida, 1785-1810
The book contextualizes the 1810 rebellion, and by extension the southern frontier, within the broader Atlantic World, showing how both local factors as well as events in Europe affected lives in the Spanish borderlands. Breaking with traditional scholarship, McMichael examines contests over land and slaves as a determinant of loyalty. He draws on Spanish, French, and Anglo records to challenge scholarship that asserts a particularly “American” loyalty on the frontier whereby Anglo-American residents in West Florida, as disaffected subjects of the Spanish Crown, patiently abided until they could overthrow an alien system. Rather, it was political, social, and cultural conflicts—not nationalist ideology—that disrupted networks by which economic prosperity was gained and thus loyalty retained.
Hunting and Mastery in the Old South
Nicolas Proctor argues in Bathed in Blood that because slaves frequently accompanied white hunters into the field, whites often believed that hunting was a particularly effective venue for the demonstration of white supremacy. Slaves interpreted such interactions quite differently: they remained focused on the products of the hunt and considered the labor performed at the behest of their owners as an opportunity to improve their own condition. Whether acquired as a reward from a white hunter or as a result of their own independent—often illicit—efforts, game provided them with an important supplementary food source, an item for trade, and a measure of autonomy. By sharing their valuable resources with other slaves, slave hunters also strengthened the bonds within their own community. In a society predicated upon the constant degradation of African Americans, such simple acts of generosity became symbolic of resistance and had a cohesive effect on slave families.