The Causes of the American Revolution

By John C. Wahlke | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION

IT was not so very long ago that all Americans were taught that the American Revolution came about solely and simply because all colonists hated tyranny and loved freedom; because all colonists resented the denial by a foreign government of their right to share in governing themselves; and because all colonists, therefore, rising in heroic resistance to the government which oppressed them, determined to make of America an independent nation, founded on the principles of political liberty and equality. The persistence of such a simple and clear-cut picture of the revolutionary struggle is reflected in the widely- held belief that the chief point at issue between colonies and mother country was the rightness or wrongness of the principle, "taxation without representation is tyranny."

The labors of historians of the past two generations, however, have made it impossible to believe quite so surely that the Revolution was no more and no less than a conflict produced by verbal disagreements between a people united in the cause of freedom and a regime which refused to accept freedom as the necessary basis of all governments. The reappraisal of the colonial and revolutionary era, begun by such scholars as Charles M. Andrews, George Louis Beer, Herbert Levi Osgood, and others has made it dear that, to see selfless devotion of the patriots to political ideals as the sole cause of the Revolution might well be a national tradition, but it is hardly sound history. Significant facts which today seem obvious -- for example, the extreme tardiness of the patriot leaders in formulating the demand for independence, or the apparent lack of unanimity among the colonists concerning what they wanted, why they wanted it, and how they proposed to get it -- were long overlooked by the traditional explanations of why the revolutionists fought. Beginning in the 1890's, historians directed their attentions more closely to the revolutionary use of the political ideals of freedom and equality, of independence and self-government; they patiently considered the influence of such factors as economic interests, the accidental conjunctures of men and events, and the personal ambitions and prejudices of revolutionary leaders or members of Parliament; and they sought to discover all the possible logical connections between one step in the conflict and the next. As a result, there is today general agreement among historians that to understand why the Revolution was fought, one must do more than accept at face value the familiar political slogans and catch-words, that he must consider the actions and the motives of diverse individuals, groups, sections, and classes, and must be aware of the relation of the British-American conflict to British imperial problems and to larger problems of world affairs. There is no longer doubt that the causes of the

-v-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Causes of the American Revolution
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 134

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.