Virginia's American Revolution: From Dominion to Republic, 1776-1840

4.6 out of 5 stars 7 ratings
ISBN-13: 978-0739121313
ISBN-10: 0739121316
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Editorial Reviews

Review

In recent years, Kevin Gutzman has earned rank as one of our finest young historians of the American Founding. In Virginia's American Revolution, he calls attention to 'the old reality of American political life that the state was the primary unit of political allegiance, the chief locus of political identity, and the level at which most significant political questions were decided in the Early Republic.' Pursuing the history of the most important of the first thirteen states in light of this neglected truth, Gutzman provides a new and valuable perspective on our origins. -- Clyde Wilson, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History, University of South Carolina, University of South Carolina

Gutzman displays a detailed, even at times sympathetic (though not uncritical) understanding that many readers should find particularly worthwhile. -- ., N-Net, May 2008

In short, Virginia's American Revolution is not only an invaluable contribution to the scholarly literature, but it is also a treasure trove for those who would recapture the original American republic., Lewrockwell.Com

Gutzman describes how Virginia's independence initiated the replacement of a monarchical society with a republican one. In the most important and original part of the book, Gutzman argues that Virginians ratified the Constitution in 1788 only because they understood it to establish a nonbinding compact of states wherein Virginia still controlled its own destiny. By looking at early national Virginia through a state rather than a federal lens, Gutzman brings a less celebrated cast of characters to the fore. -- Stuart Leibiger, Journal of American History, June 2009

Kevin R. C. Gutzman's study of Virginia in the early republic is the sad story of how the most influential of the thirteen colonies fell under the sway of a clique of cranky reactionaries and set itself on a course to disaster. Virginia's American Revolution might be called history from the middle out. Gutzman has produced a prodigiously researched and useful account of a stratum of political leadership that is often overlooked., Journal of Southern History, August 2009

Kevin Gutzman's important new book shows how Virginian patriots sought to secure provincial liberties and create a new American union in the Old Dominion's image. Challenging the conventional nationalist bias in Revolutionary historiography, Gutzman points the way toward a broader, more compelling interpretation of the history of the federal republic in its formative decades. Lucidly written and powerfully argued,Virginia's American Revolution is a superb addition to the literature. -- Peter S. Onuf, Thomas Jefferson Foundation Professor, University of Virginia, and author of Jefferson's Empire: The Language of American Nat

From the Back Cover

Virginia's American Revolution follows the Virginia revolutionaries from their decision for independence on May 15, 1776, through the following 60 years--when the last of them finally passed from the scene. To their surprise, the decision to break with Great Britain entailed reconsideration of virtually all of their major political and social institutions, from the established church, their aristocratic state government, and feudal land tenures to slavery and their federal relations with the other American states. Some of these issues, such as the place of the Church of England in the newly republican Virginia, received quick resolutions; others, such as the nature of the relationship between the elite and other men, were not so easily decided. All of them were considered against the backdrop of Virginia's decline from preeminence in the Revolution and early Republic to the position of just another state in the age of Jackson. By following Virginia's American Revolution from start to finish, this account shows why so many revolutionaries in the Old Dominion died doubting that their great struggle had been worth the effort.

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Reviewed in the United States on July 15, 2011
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Reviewed in the United States on August 30, 2011
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Reviewed in the United States on October 30, 2011
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