The Unknown American Revolution: The Unruly Birth of Democracy and the Struggle to Create America
by Gary B. Nash
In 1775, war broke out between the British and the American colonists. By 1776, the colonists had declared themselves independent and in 1783, ... Show synopsis In 1775, war broke out between the British and the American colonists. By 1776, the colonists had declared themselves independent and in 1783, following a long and bloody war, Britain was forced to recognize the independence of the United States. Writing with the benefit of hindsight in 1818, John Adams, one of the central figures in the Revolution, recalled that Americans were committed to independence in their hearts long before the outbreak of hostilities. This remarkable new book not only tells the story of the Revolutionary war - the longest and most disruptive upheaval in American history - but also explores the truth of Adams's claim. The Founding Fathers - those men who signed the Declaration of Independence against Britain - may have led the charge, but the energy to raise a revolt emerged from all classes and races of American society. "The Unknown American Revolution" plunges us into the swirl of ideology, grievance, outrage and hope that animated the Revolutionary decades. It tells of the efforts of a wide variety of men and women who stepped forward amidst a discouraging, debilitating, but ultimately successful war to inscribe on the clean slate their ideas for the kind of America they hoped would emerge from the blood-soaked eight-year conflict. Millennialist preachers and enslaved Africans, frontier mystics and dockside tars, disgruntled women and aggrieved Indians - all had their own fierce vision of what an independent America could and should be. According to Nash, the American Revolution was truly a people's revolution, a civil war at home, as well as an armed insurrection against British colonial control. The goal was to set a new course for the new country, one free of entrenched class hostilities, religious bigotry and racism. The people so vividly portrayed in this book did not all agree or succeed, but during the exhilarating and messy years of the country's birth, they laid down ideas that have become a crucial and fundamental part of America's inheritance.