In Quest of Freedom: American Political Thought and Practice

By Alpheus Thomas Mason McCormick; Richard H. Leach | Go to book overview

3
FORGING INDEPENDENCE

THE DISTINCTIVELY AMERICAN PATTERN OF POLITICAL thought, which had developed in the colonies by the middle of the eighteenth century, might never have flowered had not the pleasant relations existing before 1760 between the colonies and Great Britain been drastically altered. Though the philosophy of revolution had already made its way into colonial thinking through John Locke and certain Puritan ministers, there had been no occasion or desire to translate that theory into action anywhere in the colonies. But after 1760 Anglo- American relations were subjected to a series of rude and ever more severe shocks, and in the space of barely a dozen years, the colonists bad formulated and acted upon a fullgrown philosophy of revolution and independence.

Colonial Americans generally regarded themselves as Britons, loyal subjects of the King and citizens of the Empire. That circumstances were gradually forcing them away from

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