THE FIRST PROTEST OF MASSACHUSETTS (1761)
AFTER a century and a quarter of discussion the American Revolution is to-day clearly emerging as an event of first rate importance in social as well as political history. In that discussion the wrong point of view has often been taken. On the one hand the struggle has been looked upon as a war of liberation from a despotism imposed on the colonies as if through conscious malice; on the other as a needless revolt inspired mainly by a few hot-headed demagogues taking advantage of a blundering royal policy. The second error, which some American and many British writers have committed, is not less grave than the first; for the Revolution was indeed a movement for liberation, not from a consciously planned tyranny, but from a régime, economic and political, which was hampering the social growth of the colonies.
According to the usual definition, the American Revolution, unlike the French Revolution, is political and not social in character. It is not regarded as a struggle against class privilege. Yet in a very