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The Urban Crucible: The Northern Seaports and the Origins of the American Revolution Paperback – Abridged, April 14, 1986

ISBN-13: 978-0674930599 ISBN-10: 0674930592 Edition: Abridged

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press; Abridged edition (April 14, 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674930592
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674930599
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #94,730 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Gary B. Nash is Professor of History Emeritus, UCLA and Professor and Director, National Center for History in the Schools.

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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By S. Bellavia on July 6, 2007
Format: Paperback
In Gary Nash's book, The Urban Crucible Northern Sea Ports and the Origin of the American Revolution (Abridged), he argues that urban importance is severely understated by historians looking at the revolutionary timeframe, and that changes which occur in the urban setting trickle down to the rural population. He says the socioeconomic state of the labor class, and the awakening of its political acumen in the three major northern seaports of Boston, New York, and Philadelphia created the revolutionary impetus. In seven chapters, each devoted to a specific timeframe. Nash tracks the evolution of the three cities into urban centers from 1690 until 1775 Nash argues that it was the changing socioeconomic interactions of urban life that eventually influenced rural colonial America and led to the American Revolution. He bases his research not only on the traditional primary sources, but also looks at nontraditional economic sources; such as tax lists, poor relief records, wills, and other legal documents. (xv) Nash focuses on the interaction between economic, social, and political change. He looks at how a change in one arena can drive change in the others.
Nash uses estate inventories to show the relative wealth of an average urbanite of a particular social station at their death and then compares them with decedent's who were of a similar station in the other cities. His use of tax lists and poor relief records to point out the economic health of these urban centers adds a dimension not normally seen when talking about the colonial period.
One criticism of the book is that Nash focuses primarily on Boston, even when Boston dropped in prominence to become the third-largest city in colonial America.
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10 of 31 people found the following review helpful By inthesouthwest on May 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
In the Urban Crucible, Nash attempts to demonstrate that the American Revolution was a duel revolution against England and the traditional ruling classes. He shows how the economic effects of the boom and bust cycles following the various wars of the 18th century affected the colonies, specifically the port cities. The result of these increasingly disruptive economic cycles--especially after the French and Indian War--caused the colonists in the port cities to rebel against England and the American elites because of economic concerns. However, Nash offers very little evidence that socioeconomics was indeed the main motivation for revolution, and he offers no evidence that class warfare really existed.
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