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American Revolutions: A Continental History, 1750-1804 Hardcover – September 6, 2016
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- Jill Lepore, author of Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin
“American Revolutions is a game changer―a sprawling, ambitious history that forever alters our understanding of the Revolutionary War era.”
- Elizabeth Fenn, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Encounters at the Heart of the World: A History of the Mandan People
“As masterful as its author and as pluralist as its title, American Revolutions combines strong narrative drive with a kaleidoscopic array of settings and characters. In vivid prose animated by prodigious research, Taylor reveals the fight for the independence of the United States as a bloody civil war in which violence and division were the norms and clarity of purpose the exception. This is a sweeping synthesis for a new century.”
- Jane Kamensky, author of A Revolution in Color: The World of John Singleton Copley
“The new standard work―essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the complicated beginnings of our national history.”
- Peter S. Onuf, coauthor of “Most Blessed of the Patriarchs”: Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination
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About two fifths of the population were active Patriots, two-fifths neutral or undecided, and one-fifth Loyalists.
The latter years of the war became especially savage. The population and the troops were starving. A full third of Continental troops deserted. Troops and wandering hordes ravaged farms and killed indiscriminately.
As the British developed an ambiguous policy about slavery, the Patriots were seen more as the protectors of property and freedom.
The British offered freedom to slaves who joined their troops and were promised freedom in England. At the same time, they were cautious about stirring up slave revolts in the great plantations of the Carolinas and Georgia, which they saw as great assets for British investors.
There is reason why southerners later saw slavery as a right they won in their struggle for independence.
Another factor motivating the Patriots was the irritating British restrictions against colonizing Indian lands to the West. Many Indians saw the British as their protectors, and Patriots indiscriminately burned Indian villages suspecting them of colluding with the British.
Both sides turned to atrocity as the standard MO. While the British tended to be dispirited by the atrocities inflicted upon them, the Patriots were the more enraged.
Taylor writes that made a difference in who won the war. The winner was able to tolerate the most carnage.
The War was fought not only for self-government and autonomy but also for the freedom to own slaves and expropriate the lands of Native Americans.
This should replace history text books in American schools from the 6th grade forward. And be required reading for all candidates for political office.
I can’t recommend it enough.