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America's Revolution

Patrick Griffin

Publication Date - 17 August 2012

ISBN: 9780199754809

360 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

A narrative history and new interpretation of the American Revolution from Atlantic, continental, and global perspectives


In America's Revolution, Patrick Griffin offers a new interpretation, narrative, and historical synthesis of America's most formative period. Exploring the American Revolution from global, Atlantic, and continental perspectives, Griffin focuses on how men and women in local contexts struggled to imagine new ideas of sovereignty as British authority collapsed. He examines the relationship between ideas and social tensions, the War of Independence, the roles of the founders, and the struggles and triumphs of those on the margins. Griffin illustrates how, between 1763 and 1800, Americans moved from one mythic conception of who they were to a very different one, a change that was evident in word and in image. America's Revolution captures these dynamics by exploring origins and outcomes--as well as the violent, uncertain, and liberating process of revolution--that bridged the two.

About the Author(s)

Patrick Griffin is Madden-Hennebry Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame. He is the author of American Leviathan: Empire, Nation, and Revolutionary Frontier (2008) and The People with No Name: Ireland's Ulster Scots, America's Scots Irish, and the Creation of a British Atlantic World (2001).


"Griffin addresses a dazzling array of topics, and the numerous strengths of his synthesis cannot be summarized in a brief review... a lively, important work that readers will most likely find exhilarating." --The Journal of American History

"Patrick Griffin provides a masterful account of the American Revolution. He weaves the experiences of ordinary people into a compelling narrative of political change. The book not only recovers the voices of winners and losers, patriots and loyalists, planters and slaves, and Native Americans and frontier settlers, but also offers original insights into how Americans defined and redefined the power of the state in their daily lives."--T.H. Breen, Northwestern University

"Patrick Griffin's group portraits of the men and women who made the Revolution show that the transformation of British subjects into American citizens did not follow a preordained script. As British sovereignty collapsed, patriots sought to rally their self-sovereign, would-be countrymen to the cause of independence. The tortuous quest for the reconstruction of sovereignty shaped an emerging American identity that justified-and disguised-a new distribution of power and a new, more democratic yet more exclusionary social order. The picture that Griffin presents is not always a pretty one. But America's Revolution gives us a much better sense of how we got to be who we are today than do the simplistic, quasi-mythic narratives of our beginnings, whether celebratory or critical, that continue to shape our national self-understanding."--Peter S. Onuf, University of Virginia

"In this boldly argued and wide-ranging history of the origins of the U.S., Patrick Griffin takes familiar stories about the expansion of liberty and transforms them into unfamiliar stories about the expansion of state power. America's Revolution, he suggests, was less about collective resistance to entrenched authority than the establishment of effective imperial authority in eastern North America."--Andrew Cayton, Miami University

"Imaginatively framed and vividly conveyed, America's Revolution offers a compelling account of the processes by which America achieved nationhood and the myths and ambiguities its national story requires."--Peter Thompson, University of Oxford

"Better than any previous text I can call to mind, Griffin weaves together a narrative of the Revolutionary Era with the British background, the struggles of different groups of Americans, and some deep thinking about the nature of authority. Griffin offers a great deal of fresh thinking about the period, and has written a book that is comprehensive, insightful, and deeply satisfying."--Ben Carp, Tufts University

Table of Contents


    Part I: The Beginning: Britons

    Chapter 1: "O Happy Country! Happy Kingdom!"
    Chapter 2: "Reduce the Savages to Reason"
    Chapter 3: "Such a Power should be watched with a jealous Eye"

    Part II: The Middle: Actors

    Chapter 4: "They will cast your sovereignty in your face"
    Chapter 5: "The Devil is in the People"
    Chapter 6: "Dark and bloody grounds"

    Part III: The End: Founders

    Chapter 7: "In the chair of independency"
    Chapter 8: "Some way or other we must be a great and mighty empire"
    Chapter 9: "Puzzled and prospering beyond example in the history of man"


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