The Colonial Background of the American Revolution

The Colonial Background of the American Revolution

The Colonial Background of the American Revolution

The Colonial Background of the American Revolution

Excerpt

Charles McLean Andrews was one of the most distinguished members of a group of American historians in the first third of this century who pioneered a new interpretation of the colonial period and the American Revolution. Most earlier writers had regarded the English colonies primarily as embryonic states of a future American nation. After narrating the events of the years of settlement, they had emphasized chiefly those developments in which they saw the beginnings of a distinctly American society with its own particular virtues. The mother country played little part in their accounts except as an unwelcome source of outside interference with strictly American communities. When that interference became intolerable, the Revolution followed. The new group of historians adopted a very different approach.

Andrews and his colleagues held that the way to understand the colonial period was to study these colonies primarily in terms of what they actually were for a century and a half before they became independent states-- that is, as political and commercial dependencies of England and integral parts of her far-flung territorial and economic domain. It was necessary, he believed, to examine the relationships existing between colonies and mother country, the slowly emerging British system of colonial control, and the theories, economic as well as political, upon which they were based. A study of the . . .

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