In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

176 Canadian Review of American Studies Revue canadtenne detudes americaines Flying Into Love) and Oliver Stone's film JFK. Altogether, he has written a perceptive and often brilliant analysis of the Kennedy myth and how it has worked for more than half a century. It deserves to be read by anyone with an interest in the political culture of the Kennedy era and our own. Gary Owens Huron College, the University of Western Ontario Margaret Ellen Newell. From Dependency to Independence: Economic Revolution in Colonial Neu, England. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1998. Pp. x + 329 and illustrations. Back in the mid-1960s when I did my graduate studies, New England intellectual life was a well-defined area. Perry Miller was the indispensable guide to Puritan thought. Caroline Robbins and Bernard Bailyn explained the commonwealth ideology of the eighteenth century. But outside of those carefully mapped zones lay unknown seas. Those uncharted regions were like the expanses on old maps where sea serpents threatened unwary sailors. As graduate students we stuck to the well-explored areas. Since the 1960s, a series of historians have broadened our understanding of the beliefs of New Englanders. We have been able to unfurl our maps much further. In the process, we have come to view the older, well-explored regions in a new light. Francis Jennings taught us about the aggressive, ethnocentric mind set of the Puritans. J.R. Crowley, Joseph Ernst, Drew McCoy, and Stephen Innes have demonstrated how important political economy was for New Englanders (as well as for other colonists). Margaret Ellen Newell continues this process, adding significantly to our understanding of the "New England mind." In this thoughtful if uneven book, Newell demonstrates that economic development was a central concern of New Englanders throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Newell's story, as the title "From Dependency to Independence" suggests, is one that traces a broad evolution of New England thought. She begins with the 1630s and the dependent, regulated colony of the first Puritan settlers. From the first, she suggests, the winds of change blew strongly. Involvement in the market revolution, which was reshaping English society, along with Book Reviews 177 New World conditions led the colonists to question the wisdom of restricting trade. Limitations on prices and wages did not last long: "By the late 1640s, the colonists all but abandoned most traditional forms of socioeconomic regulation that circumscribed market behavior in favor of policies that facilitated it" (14). Her case for change in this first decade seems overstated. Many regulations (as subsequent chapters show) continued throughout the seventeenth and even into the eighteenth century. Between the 1640s and 1690s, New Englanders made clear their commitment to a diversified economy, an active government, and communal values. While fishing was the foundation of regional prosperity, a broad variety of activities, including the fur trade and ironmaking, contributed to regional growth. Most Puritans now believed in a "statist" approach to development: monopolies and tax exemptions aided favoured enterprises. But these prodevelopment policies, Newell observes, "stopped far short of a wholesale embrace of possessive individualism and liberal political economy" (67). Newell accepts the findings of scholars such asJames Henretta, and contends that most individuals were motivated by values other than simple economic self-interest. Newell's book hits stride with the 1690s and the discussion of the prolonged debate over paper money and the nature of economic development. The chapters discussing the half-century conflict over the money supply are the best in the book. This clash pitted the established merchants, such as the Hutchinsons, against "rising traders ... , land speculators, and farmers desirous of expanding their holdings" (107). This debate, as Newell documents, was a conflict between two world views. The hard-money advocates demonstrated a "cautious attitude to economic growth" and revealed a "nervousness about the moral and social implications of the market" (148). They emphasized stability and hierarchy. By contrast, the proponents of paper money, had "an optimistic vision of the region's future" (179). And they recognized that currency did more than promote growth, as important as that end was. These funds also "extended the benefits of credit beyond a selfish circle of powerful merchants" and so helped...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1710-114X
Print ISSN
0007-7720
Pages
pp. 176-178
Launched on MUSE
2019-01-02
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.