The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution

The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution

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In this 25th anniversary edition, Bailyn has added a substantial essay, "Fulfillment", as a Postscript to the original text. In it he discusses the intense, nation-wide debate on the ratification of the constitution, stressing the continuities between that struggle over the foundations of the national government and the original principles of the Revolution. This study of the persistence of the nation's ideological origins adds a new dimension to the book and projects its meaning forward into vital present concerns. Bailyn is author of "The Ordeal of Thomas Hutchinson" which won the National Book Award and "Voyagers to the West" which won the Pulitzer Prize for History.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 416 pages
  • 140 x 210 x 26.67mm | 349g
  • The Belknap Press
  • Cambridge, Mass., United States
  • English
  • Enlarged
  • 2nd Enlarged edition
  • 0674443020
  • 9780674443020
  • 388,969

Back cover copy

In this book, Bailyn discusses the intense, nation-wide debate on the ratification of the Constitution, stressing the continuities between that struggle over the foundations of the national government and the original principles of the Revolution.
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Table of contents

I. The Literature of Revolution II. Sources and Traditions III. Power and Liberty: A Theory of Politics IV. The Logic of Rebellion A Note on Conspiracy V. Transformation 1. Representation and Consent 2. Constitution and Rights 3. Sovereignty VI. The Contagion of Liberty 1. Slavery 2. Establishment of Religion 3. The Democracy Unleashed 4. "Whether Some Degree of Respect Be Not Always Due from Inferiors to Superiors" Postscript. Fulfillment: A Commentary on the Constitution Index
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Review quote

With this reading of the American Revolutionary Experience, Mr. Bailyn has substantially and profoundly altered the nature and direction of the inquiry on the American Revolution. In the process he has also erected a new framework for interpreting the entire first half-century of American national history...A landmark in American historiography. American Quarterly Tightly written and politically sophisticated...In the field of American Revolutionary Studies Bailyn's book must henceforth occupy a position of first rank. Saturday Review The most brilliant study of the meaning of the Revolution to appear in a generation. History One cannot claim to understand the Revolution without having read this book. New York Times Book Review A distinguished achievement. Mr. Bailyn writes with the authority and integrity that derive from a thorough mastery of the material. His meticulous scholarship is matched with perceptive analysis. New York Review of Books In every area of Bernard Bailyn's research--whether Virginia society of the 17th century or the schools of early America--he transformed what historians had hitherto thought about the subject. In The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution, the most famous of his works, Bailyn uncovered a set of ideas among the Revolutionary generation that most historians had scarcely known existed. These radical ideas about power and liberty, and deeply rooted fears of conspiracy, had propelled Americans in the 1760s and 1770s into the Revolution, Bailyn said. His book, which won the Pulitzer and Bancroft prizes in 1968, influenced an entire generation of historians. For many, it remains the most persuasive interpretation of the Revolution. -- Gordon S. Wood Wall Street Journal 20090228
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About Bernard Bailyn

Bernard Bailyn is Adams University Professor, Emeritus, and Director of the International Seminar on the History of the Atlantic World, Harvard University. He is the author of numerous books, including The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution (Pulitzer and Bancroft Prizes) and The Ordeal of Thomas Hutchinson (National Book Award), both published by Harvard.
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Rating details

3,949 ratings
4.04 out of 5 stars
5 42% (1,641)
4 31% (1,223)
3 19% (768)
2 6% (220)
1 2% (97)
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