Catalogue


A mighty empire : the origins of the American Revolution /
Marc Egnal.
edition
Cornell Paperback ed.
imprint
Ithaca : Cornell University Press, 2010.
description
xxvii, 381 p. : ill., maps ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0801476585 (pbk. : alk. paper), 9780801476587 (pbk. : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
author
imprint
Ithaca : Cornell University Press, 2010.
isbn
0801476585 (pbk. : alk. paper)
9780801476587 (pbk. : alk. paper)
general note
"With a new preface."
Originally published: Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1988.
catalogue key
7336045
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Marc Egnal is Professor of History at York University. He is the author of books including New World Economies and Divergent Paths.
First Chapter
Marc Egnal here provides a major new interpretation of the causes of the American Revolution. Focusing on five colonies—Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and South Carolina—from 1700 to the post-Revolutionary era, he asserts that throughout colonial America the struggle against Great Britain was led by an upper-class faction motivated by a vision of the rapid development of the New World. In each colony the membership of this group, which Egnal calls the expansionist faction, was shaped by self-interest, religious convictions, and national origins. According to Egnal, these individuals had long shown a commitment to American growth and had fervently supported the colonial wars against France, Spain, and Native Americans. While advancing this interpretation, Egnal explores several salient aspects of colonial society. He scrutinizes the partisan battles within the provinces and argues that they were in fact clashes between the expansionists and a second long-lived faction that he calls the nonexpansionists. Through close analysis he shows how economic crisis—the depression of the 1760s—influenced the colonists' behavior. And although he focuses on the initiative and leadership of the elite, Egnal also investigates the part played by the common people in the rebellion. A Mighty Empire contains insightful sketches of Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and other revolutionary leaders and makes clear the human dimensions of the clash with Great Britain. The final chapter provides a new context for understanding the writing of the Constitution and considers the links between the Revolution and modern America. An appendix lists members of the colonial factions and identifies their patterns of political commitment. Written in lucid, forceful prose, Mighty Empire is a valuable addition to the ongoing debate over the role of ideas and interests in shaping the Revolution. The book will engage individuals who wish to explore the origins of the United States.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 1988-02-01:
The American Revolution was the culmination of a contest between two factions of wealthy colonists, ``expansionists'' and ''non-expansionists.'' The first were convinced that the colonies had the ``spiritual and physical resources to become a self-reliant, mighty New World empire''; the latter were ``citizens of little faith.'' Though concentrating on elites, Egnal does not neglect the common people. He focuses on Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and South Carolina, delineating factional composition and activity from the period of imperial wars through the adoption of the Constitution. A challenging new interpretation, well written and solidly supported. Highly recommended for academic libraries. Roy H. Tryon, Delaware State Archives, Dover (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Choice on 1988-10:
Egnal contends that in the five colonies of Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and South Carolina, a coterie of upper-class colonists, animated by a vision of America's future greatness, spearheaded the Revolutionary movement. These expansionists, as Egnal labels them, competed for power in the provincial legislatures, town meetings, and county courts with a second, more conservative faction of the elite, who harbored less sanguine expectations of the country's destiny and sought to maintain close ties to Britain. An increasingly assertive popular party of craftsmen, small shopkeepers, and farmers made up a third element in each colony, with the expansionists frequently enlisting the support of this latter faction while seeking to prevent the rank-and-file group from gaining predominant power. The author charts the factional infighting and shifting alliances in each of the above colonies from 1690 to 1776, structuring the three groups according to the positions they took on such pre-Revolutionary issues as paper money, military expenditures, and Indian policy. Egnal's approach is provocative but, like many a new thesis, raises almost as many questions as it answers. In sum, Egnal's study provides a fresh perspective on the American Revolution but contains several problems that need to be addressed. Upper-division undergraduates and above. -J. K. Somerville, SUNY College at Geneseo
Reviews
Review Quotes
"A challenging new interpretation, well written and solidly supported."-Library Journal (reviewing the first edition)
"Combining prodigious scholarship and subtle analysis, A Mighty Empire offers us a new consideration of factional division and class politics in the coming of the American Revolution. A signal contribution to our national history, the book demonstrates that the political and economic experience of Americans during the Age of Revolution shaped their ideas and ideologies and gave form to their aspirations as people and as an expanding nation-state."-Douglas Greenberg, Rutgers: The State University of New Jersey
"This book first appeared in 1988 with a forthright argument about the intersections between political economy and the American Revolution. . . . [and] remains a vital voice amid the cacophonous babble of interpretative approaches to the Revolutionary era. . . . A Mighty Empire remains a provocative thesis, and it may yet prove to be the building block of a fruitful body of scholarship on the American Revolution. Interested scholars should be grateful to the press for reissuing the book."-Benjamin L. Carp, The Historian (Winter 2011)
This item was reviewed in:
Reference & Research Book News, February 2011
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
Marc Egnal emphasises the human dimensions of the Revolution, with insightful sketches of John Adams, Benjamin Franklin & other leaders.
Main Description
First published in 1988, Marc Egnal's now classic revisionist history of the origins of the American Revolution, focuses on five colonies-Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and South Carolina-from 1700 to the post-Revolutionary era. Egnal asserts that throughout colonial America the struggle against Great Britain was led by an upper-class faction motivated by a vision of the rapid development of the New World. In each colony the membership of this group, which Egnal calls the expansionist faction, was shaped by self-interest, religious convictions, and national origins. According to Egnal, these individuals had long shown a commitment to American growth and had fervently supported the colonial wars against France, Spain, and Native Americans. While advancing this interpretation, Egnal explores several salient aspects of colonial society. He scrutinizes the partisan battles within the provinces and argues that they were in fact clashes between the expansionists and a second long-lived faction that he calls the "nonexpansionists." Through close analysis he shows how economic crisis-the depression of the 1760s-influenced the colonists' behavior. And although he focuses on the initiative and leadership of the elite, Egnal also investigates the part played by the "common people" in the rebellion. A Mighty Empire contains insightful sketches of Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and other revolutionary leaders and makes clear the human dimensions of the clash with Great Britain. The final chapter provides a new context for understanding the writing of the Constitution and considers the links between the Revolution and modern America. An appendix lists members of the colonial factions and identifies their patterns of political commitment. Now back in print with a new preface, A Mighty Empire is a valuable addition to the debate over the role of ideas and interests in shaping the Revolution. For the 2010 edition, Egnal reviews how interpretations of the American Revolution have developed since the publication of his landmark volume. In his new preface he considers and critiques explanations for the Revolution founded on ideology, the role of non-elite Americans, and British politics. Egnal also looks to a trend in the writing of the history of the Revolution that considers its effects more than its causes and thereby grapple with the conflicts ingredient in the nascent American empire. With great lucidity, he shows where the writing of history has gone since the appearance of A Mighty Empire and makes a case for its continuing relevance.
Main Description
First published in 1988, Marc Egnal's now classic revisionist history of the origins of the American Revolution, focuses on five colonies-Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and South Carolina-from 1700 to the post-Revolutionary era. Egnal asserts that throughout colonial America the struggle against Great Britain was led by an upper-class faction motivated by a vision of the rapid development of the New World. In each colony the membership of this group, which Egnal calls the expansionist faction, was shaped by self-interest, religious convictions, and national origins. According to Egnal, these individuals had long shown a commitment to American growth and had fervently supported the colonial wars against France, Spain, and Native Americans. While advancing this interpretation, Egnal explores several salient aspects of colonial society. He scrutinizes the partisan battles within the provinces and argues that they were in fact clashes between the expansionists and a second long-lived faction that he calls the "nonexpansionists." Through close analysis he shows how economic crisis-the depression of the 1760s-influenced the colonists' behavior. And although he focuses on the initiative and leadership of the elite, Egnal also investigates the part played by the common people in the rebellion. A Mighty Empire contains insightful sketches of Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and other revolutionary leaders and makes clear the human dimensions of the clash with Great Britain. The final chapter provides a new context for understanding the writing of the Constitution and considers the links between the Revolution and modern America. An appendix lists members of the colonial factions and identifies their patterns of political commitment. Now back in print with a new preface, A Mighty Empire is a valuable addition to the debate over the role of ideas and interests in shaping the Revolution. For the 2010 edition, Egnal reviews how interpretations of the American Revolution have developed since the publication of his landmark volume. In his new preface he considers and critiques explanations for the Revolution founded on ideology, the role of non-elite Americans, and British politics. Egnal also looks to a trend in the writing of the history of the Revolution that considers its effects more than its causes and thereby grapple with the conflicts ingredient in the nascent American empire. With great lucidity, he shows where the writing of history has gone since the appearance of A Mighty Empire and makes a case for its continuing relevance.
Main Description
Marc Egnal here provides a major new interpretation of the causes of the American Revolution. Focusing on five colonies-Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and South Carolina-from 1700 to the post-Revolutionary era, he asserts that throughout colonial America the struggle against Great Britain was led by an upper-class faction motivated by a vision of the rapid development of the New World. In each colony the membership of this group, which Egnal calls the expansionist faction, was shaped by self-interest, religious convictions, and national origins. According to Egnal, these individuals had long shown a commitment to American growth and had fervently supported the colonial wars against France, Spain, and Native Americans. While advancing this interpretation, Egnal explores several salient aspects of colonial society. He scrutinizes the partisan battles within the provinces and argues that they were in fact clashes between the expansionists and a second long-lived faction that he calls the nonexpansionists. Through close analysis he shows how economic crisis-the depression of the 1760s-influenced the colonists' behavior. And although he focuses on the initiative and leadership of the elite, Egnal also investigates the part played by the common people in the rebellion. A Mighty Empire contains insightful sketches of Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and other revolutionary leaders and makes clear the human dimensions of the clash with Great Britain. The final chapter provides a new context for understanding the writing of the Constitution and considers the links between the Revolution and modern America. An appendix lists members of the colonial factions and identifies their patterns of political commitment. Written in lucid, forceful prose, Mighty Empire is a valuable addition to the ongoing debate over the role of ideas and interests in shaping the Revolution. The book will engage individuals who wish to explore the origins of the United States.
Table of Contents
Maps and Figuresp. ix
Preface 2010p. xi
Preface to the First Editionp. xxiii
Note on Definitionsp. xxv
Abbreviations Used in Notesp. xxvii
Introductionp. 1
The Factions Emerge, 1690-1762p. 17
Massachusetts to 1741: Three Parties Were Formedp. 20
Massachusetts, 1741-1762: Coalition Politicsp. 38
New York: Traders and Warriorsp. 51
Pennsylvania: Quaker Party Ascendancyp. 68
Virginia: Rise of the Northern Neckersp. 87
South Carolina: Factions Times Twop. 102
Revolutionary Politics, 1763-1770p. 123
The Depression of the 1760sp. 126
Massachusetts: Patriot Alliancep. 150
New York: Reluctant Revolutionariesp. 168
Pennsylvania: Challenging the Quaker Partyp. 191
Virginia: Conflict and Cooperationp. 215
South Carolina: Triumphant Patriotsp. 227
The Quiet Years, 1771-1773p. 247
The Quiet Yearsp. 248
The Expansionists Prevail, 1774-1776p. 271
Northern Colonies: Antagonists High and Lowp. 275
Southern Colonies: Maintaining Controlp. 302
Beyond Independencep. 328
Appendix. Members of the Factionsp. 339
Indexp. 371
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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