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A Time to Rend: An Essay on the Decision for American Independence Hardcover – December 15, 1968

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About the Author

John M. Head is assistant professor of history at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York.  After receiving his B.A. degree from Baylor University, he studied United States history at Brown University, where he received his Ph.D. in 1965.  Professor Head is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, the American Association of University Professors, the Organization of American Historians, and the American Historical Association.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Wisconsin Historical Society (December 15, 1968)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0870200429
  • ISBN-13: 978-0870200427
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,962,786 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Leonard J. Wilson on March 22, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A Time to Rend, by John Head, describes how the different American Colonies reacted to the events that led to the American Revolutionary War. In general terms, his thesis is that the New England, Middle, and Southern Colonies had different historical, cultural, religious, and financial backgrounds that significantly influenced their roles in the revolution. In many ways, Dr Head's book, published in 1968, anticipated David Hackett Fischer's Albion's Seed which I have also reviewed on

(1) The New England colonies were highly homogenous, populated almost entirely by Puritans from East Anglia. This cultural and religious uniformity led to a political uniformity that was reinforced by the moral certainty of Puritanism and produced the hotbed of the revolution. After presenting this overview of New England, Dr. Head provides a detailed chapter on John Adams as the leading revolutionary of his region.

(2) The Middle colonies (NY, NJ, PA) were populated by numerous and diverse ethnic and religious groups, Germans, Dutch, Scots-Irish, English, Anglicans, Quakers, Calvinists, etc. This diversity led to a tradition of compromise markedly different from the unbending New England Yankees. The Middle colonies were the least revolutionary, seeking compromise within the Empire. John Dickinson of Pennsylvania, who favored reform and compromise within the British Empire, is presented as the representative of the Middle Colonies.

(3) The Southern colonies were split between a rich, coastal, English, Anglican planter population and the western population which was largely poorer, Scots and Scots-Irish, Presbyterian farmers.
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