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The King's Three Faces: The Rise and Fall of Royal America, 1688-1776 (Published for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, Virginia) Paperback – September 25, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-0807858660 ISBN-10: 0807858668 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Series: Published for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, Virginia
  • Paperback: 344 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press; 1 edition (September 25, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807858668
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807858660
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #906,616 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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"This well-researched and scrupulously detailed work... is an insightful and provocative read, challenging our attitudes and assumptions about the mind-set of American Colonists." - Library Journal"

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This innovative and thought-provoking book should be required reading for all those with an interest in the British Atlantic world. It will surely be central to any future discussions of early American politics, religion, popular culture, and the coming of the Revolution.--Pennsylvania Magazine of History

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By historybuff on September 12, 2012
Format: Paperback
In The King's Three Faces, Brendan McConville looks at the pre-Revolutionary mainland British colonies in the context of the British Empire, and not as proto-republican cells in the making. His new book provides an answer to the question posed by Alison Olson in her book, Making the Empire Work: How is it that with such a minimal imperial presence in America that Britain was able to hold the allegiance of the colonies for so long? Olson suggested that Britain's receptiveness to colonial requests was part of the answer. T. H. Breen, in his The Marketplace of the Revolution, put forth the thesis that colonials were bound to the empire by the developing consumer economy it shared with the mother country. McConville now adds a third dimension, by chronicling the rise of the cult of the "good king" in America before the Revolution.
The colonists, both those of English extraction and those who immigrated from the continent, loved the king. Under the Stuarts the "dread" king was feared, but the Hanoverian kings, in part to overcome questions of their legitimacy, through a concerted campaign generated an image of a beloved king, whose benevolence, like the rays of the sun, bathed the colonies in their good will.
This perception of the "King as our friend" was not a good foundation for the relationship between the mainland colonies and Britain. It overlooked that the King was not an independent source of power, but shared power with Parliament as a result of the Glorious Revolution. As McConville recites, several writers proposed plans to cement the relationship between the colonies and Britain on a firmer footing, but each suggestion collided with a combination of entrenched interests, lack of interest, lack of political will, and lack of imagination.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Lindner on January 16, 2014
Format: Paperback
In the King's Three Faces, author Brendan McConville takes the traditional whig approach to the American Revolution and sets it aside and looks at our colonial past as an imperial British past and not a predestined march towards patriotism and liberty. Actually, patriotism and liberty were always part of the colonial era but the emphasis was first to king and country instead of freedom and independence. McConville examines nearly every aspect of society, from toasting the king on his birthday to religious expression to gender relations to race relations and beyond then combines them all into his recipe that emerged as the United States. But it was a long and arduous process not a fast track to July 4, 1776.

History was alive in the world of colonial America. And it was predominantly British history complete with oaths to king, the impact of the Glorious Revolution, fear of papacy and Catholicism, and trust that the king would look out for all of his children. It was the King who most colonials saw as the representative of empire, not parliament and certainly not the prime minister. The King's likeness appeared in colonial halls of justice, on colonial tableware, in art, on public documents, and other places. Counties, roads, even entire colonies were named in his honor. The empire was as embedded in America equally as much as it was in England, and possibly more embedded than it was in Scotland, given the Scots' tendencies towards supporting the former Stuart pretenders.

McConville weaves an intricate history that touches so many parts of the imperial relationships becuase those relationships were so strongly connected.
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The King's Three Faces: The Rise and Fall of Royal America, 1688-1776 (Published for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, Virginia)
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