From Resistance to Revolution: Colonial Radicals and the Development of American Opposition to Britain, 1765-1776 by Pauline Maier

 

THE HISTORY CLUB

A place for history teachers, students and enthusiasts

The American Revolution
Reading Group

This is a friendly group of people interested in reading great books about the American Revolutionary Period c.1763 to 1789. It is intended to cover surveys of the American Revolution.

If there is interest, we can start specific focus groups about topics such as the Revolutionary Caribbean and Mexico, the War for Independence and American National Formation.

This group intends to be broadly about Revolutionary America in the area that would become the mainland United States and we sometimes read beyond the traditional timeframe.

See Our Reading List Here

Please Read: Suggestions on how to Meaningfully and Constructively Participate in our History Reading Groups

Thank you for your interest.

Our Current Book and Reading

Current Book Reading Schedule


Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4
  • Week 1: From Resistance to Revolution by Pauline Maier
    Chapter 1: Popular Uprisings and Civil Authority

    Thought Questions
    - Explain and Expand: "The colonists’ attitude depended in large part upon a tradition of popular uprisings that also shaped the forms of popular force during the revolutionary era."
    - What are some of the examples of "failure to act" on the part of government that led to popular uprisings in Colonial America?
    - Compare and Contrast the circumstances and reactions to the popular uprisings the author mentions
    - How did American Localism impact government in Colonial America?
    - How did American Communitarianism impact government in Colonial America?
    - In what ways did community regulation of "violence" impact Colonial uprisings?
    - Compare and Contrast the motivations for popular uprisings in Colonial America and Britain
    - Compare and Contrast the community regulation of "violence" in America with class monopoly on "violence" in England and the impact this had on popular uprisings?

    Articles and Resources
    - The Pine Tree Riot
    - Bacon's Rebellion
    - Shays' Rebellion
    - Whiskey Rebellion
    - The Paxton Boys
    - The North Carolina Regulators

    Further Reading
    - The Stamp Act Crisis: Prologue to Revolution by Edmund S. Morgan and Helen M. Morgan
  • Week 2: From Resistance to Revolution by Pauline Maier
    Chapter 2: An Ideology Of Resistance And Restraint


    Response / Thought Quotes
    - "The need to reconcile the impulse toward resistance with the injunction to restraint became, in fact, one of the central intellectual and practical problems of the American revolutionary movement."
    - "“undoubtedly the most desirable and complete form [of government] that the good fortune of man has hitherto produced or their wit been capable of contriving,” “the Work of Ages which is the Envy and Admiration of the Universe, the Glory of the English Nation.”"
    - "Here was the peculiar glory of the English constitution: rulers as well as ruled were subjected to the rule of law; none were given scope for arbitrary action that could endanger the liberty of others."
    - "Liberty was closely tied to material prosperity in the real world, for only in free states was every man guaranteed “his Right to enjoy the Fruit of his Labour, Art and Industry as far as by it he hurts not the Society.” Only in free states could trade prosper, cities grow, population increase: “Let the People alone and they will take Care of themselves and do it best.”"
    - "Nor could forceful resistance to authority be justified by casual errors or private immoralities on the part of the governors. Indulgence was always necessary for “such imprudence or mistakes of rulers as subjects must have expected in any fallible mortals.”"

    Thought Questions
    - React and Respond: It is in the American character to resist being governed
    - How did John Milton influence Colonial America?
    - How did John Locke influence Colonial America?
    - Compare and Contrast the influence of Locke and Milton on Colonial America
    - What was the motivation for and purpose of the Cato's letters?
    - Describe the characteristics of the "Real Whig" movement
    - Describe the evolution of the Real Whig Colonial movement from Locke and Milton
    - What was the Real Whig concept of "the public"?
    - What was the Real Whig concept of "resistance"?
    - What was the Real Whig concept of "restraint"?
    - How did the Real Whig movement justify the use of resistance?
    - What circumstances did the Real Whig movement justify the use of force or violence?
    - In what ways did the Colonial Middle Class work with the the Colonial Working Class during times of resistance?
    - Describe how Real Whigs understood public and private grievances

    Primary Sources
    - Second Treatise of Government by John Locke
    - An Essay Concerning Humane Understanding, Volume 1 by John Locke
    - An Essay Concerning Humane Understanding, Volume 2 by John Locke
    - Areopagitica by John Milton
    - A Treatise of Civil Power by John Milton
    - Cato’s Letters, 4 vols. in 2

    Articles and Resources
    - Brief Biography: John Milton
    - Brief Biography: John Locke
    - The John Milton Reading Room - Dartmouth College

    Further Reading
    - America at 1750: A Social Portrait by Richard Hofstadter
    - Pursuits of Happiness: The Social Development of Early Modern British Colonies and the Formation of American Culture by Jack P. Greene
    - The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution by Bernard Bailyn
  • Week 3: From Resistance to Revolution by Pauline Maier
    Chapter 3: The Stamp Act Riots And Ordered Resistance, 1765


    Response / Thought Quotes
    - "deprive us of all our invaluable charter rights and privileges, drain us suddenly of our cash, occasion an entire stagnation of trade, discourage every kind of industry, and involve us in the most abject slavery.”
    - “startle men … accustomed to venerate and obey lawful authority … and to make them doubt the justice of the cause attended with such direful consequences.”
    - "You have no need to have recourse to violent methods any longer,” the colonists were told; “The channel is now open to the ear and heart of the best of KINGS: Rely upon it, he will hear you, and his PARLIAMENT will enable him to redress you.”
    - "On all of these accounts, it was said, the colonists’ resistance to the Stamp Act—that is, the insurrections patterned on the one in Boston on August 14, 1765—were justified."
    - "that if the whole People of the [British] Nation had thought their essential unalienable Rights … [were] invaded by an Act of Parliam[en]t, which is really the Opinion which the whole People of America have of the Stamp Act … in such a Case, after taking all legal Steps to obtain redress to no Purpose, the whole People of England would have taken the same Steps and justifyd themselves."

    Thought Questions
    - What were the provisions of the Stamp Act?
    - In what ways did the Stamp Act reaction in the Colonies reflect English traditions of popular uprisings?
    - What was the purpose and reason for the Stamp Act from the British perspective?
    - What was the purpose and reasoning behind the Stamp Act from the Colonial perspective?
    - What role does hindsight play in our understanding of the response to the Stamp Act?
    - Why was Georgia the only colony that briefly accepted the Stamp Act?
    - Describe the evolution of the Stamp Act resistance?
    - How was rioting and mob violence a part of the resistance to the Stamp Act?
    - Who was Andrew Oliver and what role did he play in the Stamp Act?
    - Who was Peter Oliver and what role did he play in the Stamp Act?
    - Who was Thomas Hutchinson and what role did he play in the Stamp Act?
    - Who was Samuel Adams and what role did he play in the Stamp Act?
    - How was the British enactment of the Stamp Act in continuity with their past actions and also a sign of changing relations with the colonies?
    - How was the Colonial reaction to the Stamp Act in continuity with the past and also a harbinger of something new?
    - How was the British reaction to the Stamp Act resistance in continuity with the past and also a harbinger of something new?
    - Why was the reaction to the Stamp Act different in the West Indies and Canada?
    - Who were the Sons of Liberty and what were their goals, methods and accomplishments?
    - Describe the Sons of Liberty from the British and loyalists perspectives
    - What were Liberty Trees and Liberty Poles and what were their expressed and covert purposes?
    - Why was violence counter productive in the Colonial resistance to the Stamp Act? In what ways was violence a necessary or inevitable part of the response?
    - Compare and Contrast the Colonial response in Boston, Philadelphia, New York, Newport and Charleston?
    - What factors account for the similarities and differences in the reaction to the Stamp Act in different colonial seaports?
    -What role did Colonial newspapers and pamphlets play in the response to the Stamp Act?
    - Describe the evolution from violence to ostracism in Colonial resistance
    - Explain and Expand: "Traditional criteria for just popular uprisings were repeated not only to justify the colonists’ resistance to the Stamp Act; they served also to specify the limits of just resistance, to articulate guidelines for future action."
    - Describe the evolution into non-importation as resistance to the Stamp Act

    Primary Sources
    - Great Britain : Parliament - The Stamp Act, March 22, 1765
    - Great Britain : Parliament - An Act Repealing the Stamp Act; March 18, 1766
    - Governor Francis Bernard Describes the Boston Riot
    - Origin and Progress of the American Rebellion (1781).- Peter Oliver

    Articles and Reference
    - Brief Biography: Andrew Oliver
    - Brief Biography: Peter Oliver
    - Brief Biography: Thomas Hutchinson
    - Brief Biography: Samuel Adams

    Further Reading
    - The Stamp Act Crisis: Prologue to Revolution by Edmund S. Morgan and Helen M. Morgan
    - Desperate Sons: Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry, John Hancock, and the Secret Bands of Radicals Who Led the Colonies to War by Les Standiford
    - Samuel Adams: Father of the American Revolution by Mark Puls
    - Samuel Adams: A Life by Ira Stoll
    - Thomas Hutchinson and the Origins of the American Revolution by Andrew Stephen Walmsley

Week 4: From Resistance to Revolution by Pauline Maier
Chapter 4: The Intercolonial Sons Of Liberty And Organized Resistance, 1765–1766

Note: After this chapter you should have a good understanding of the nature and philosophy of Colonial resistance. Begin to think about the process by which "Resistance" transitions into "Revolution". You should also have an idea of how inter-colonial relationships formed and how compromise and cooperations developed among them - a critical understanding when considering national formation and the expectations of the founders about how American leaders would deal with conflict.

Thought / Response Quotes
- “The Sons of Liberty of this place have wrote to Philadelphia,” he informed his father, “that if they do not make Hugh[e]s resign as fully as the other Distributors … [t]hey will disown them and hold no longer Correspondence with them.”
- “our worthy ancestors … having felt the effects of tyranny … fled … to seek shelter beneath the peaceful wing of liberty,” an article in the Boston Evening Post once proclaimed; hence the colonists were “the sons of noble freedom.”
- “to march with the utmost dispatch, at their own proper costs and expense, on the first proper notice (which must be signified to them by at least six of the sons of liberty) with their whole force if required … to the relief of those that shall, are, or may be in danger from the stamp act.”
- "Such a goal required that the Sons continue earlier efforts to restrain the possible violence of extra-legal gatherings. Military discipline could contribute to this end"
- “the greatest inducements to believe, that the Colonies will never more be threaten’d with such a Fetter, as an Act so mischievously calculated to bereave its Inhabitants of their darling Liberty.”

Thought Questions
- Describe the development of inter-colonial Stamp Act resistance
- Describe the evolution of the Stamp Act protests from random inceptions to organized resistance.
- What are some examples of rudimentary inter-colonial cooperation?
- In what ways did the Sons of Liberty in 1765 form an ideal type for colonial resistance?
- What is the history behind the label "Sons of Liberty"?
- How did the New York Sons of Liberty play a special part in inter-colonial cooperation?
- In what ways were the personal and familial relationships between the prominent Sons of Liberty significant?
- What are some examples of personal and familial relationships between the prominent Sons of Liberty impacting the course of resistance?
- Why were personal relationships between the Sons of Liberty essential to the development of inter-colonial resistance?
- Compare and Contrast: Alliances between the "noble families" in Britain and Alliances between Colonial merchants
- Describe the purpose and effectiveness of Committees of Correspondence?
- Name several significant leaders of the Sons of Liberty
- How did the end of the Stamp Act crisis impact the Sons of Liberty?
- How did the formation of the Sons of Liberty impact other colonial social institutions?
- Compare and Contrast the reasoning behind resistance to the Stamp Act in different colonies and regions?
- In what ways did the Sons of Liberty attempt to mobilize the "mass body politic" in the colonies and what was their intentions?
- How did the Sons of Liberty use Colonial newspapers to mobilize resistance?
- What was the Sons of Liberty New London agreement and how was it significant in shaping the wider actions of the Son of Liberty in other colonies?
- What were some examples of the Sons of Liberty cooperating and coordinating with established colonial authorities?
- In what ways did the Sons of Liberty act as a "shadow government" when British authorities dissolved Colonial Assemblies?
- How did the Sons of Liberty seek to balance resistance to British authority with loyalty to the British crown?
- What was the Boston Gazette and the Constitutional Courant what role did it play in Colonial resistance and coordination?
- Who were the "Loyal Nine"?
- In what ways did the repeal of the Stamp Act impact the Sons of Liberty, British authorities and the Colonial public?

Primary Sources
- The Boston Gazette and Country Journal
- Resolves of the Pennsylvania Assembly on the Stamp Act, September 21, 1765
- New York Merchants Non-importation Agreement; October 3, 1765
- Connecticut Resolutions on the Stamp Act: December 10, 1765

Articles and Resources
- Brief Biography: Christopher Gadsden
- Brief Biography: Samuel Adams
- Brief Biography: John Hancock
- Brief Biography: Patrick Henry
- Brief Biography: Oliver Wolcott
- Brief Biography: James Otis Jr.
- Brief Biography: Paul Revere
- Brief Biography: Benjamin Rush
- Brief Biography: Isaac Sears
- The Legend of Hercules Mulligan
- The Formation of the Sons of Liberty
- Participants of the Stamp Act Congress

Further Reading
- John Hancock: Merchant King and American Patriot by Harlow Giles Unger
- Patrick Henry: Champion of Liberty by Jon Kukla
- Christopher Gadsden And Henry Laur: The Parallel Lives of Two American Patriots by Daniel J. McDonough

Reading Discussion

Our Next Books

The surveys below blend political, economic, social and military aspects of the American Revolutionary Era. They are about Revolutionary America, the War for Independence is one part of Revolutionary America, but we do sometimes read beyond the normal timeframe of the traditional 1760-1789.

I will modify the list as I receive feedback from our current participants.

The American Revolution Reading List

  1. The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution, 1763-1789 by Robert Middlekauff
  2. From Resistance to Revolution: Colonial Radicals and the Development of American Opposition to Britain, 1765-1776 by Pauline Maier
  3. The American Revolution: Revised Edition by Edward Countryman
  4. The Radicalism of the American Revolution by Gordon S. Wood
  5. The Divided Ground: Indians, Settlers, and the Northern Borderland of the American Revolution by Alan Taylor
  6. Liberty Men and Great Proprietors: The Revolutionary Settlement on the Maine Frontier, 1760-1820 by Alan Taylor
  7. Crucible of War: The Seven Years' War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754-1766 by Fred Anderson
  8. The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832 by Alan Taylor
  9. The Framers' Coup: The Making of the United States Constitution by Michael J. Klarman
  10. Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution, 1787-1788 by Pauline Maier
  11. American Revolutions: A Continental History, 1750-1804 by Alan Taylor
  12. The Civil War of 1812: American Citizens, British Subjects, Irish Rebels, & Indian Allies by Alan Taylor
  13. Revolutionary Mothers: Women in the Struggle for America's Independence by Carol Berkin
  14. Our Sister Republics: The United States in an Age of American Revolutions by Caitlin Fitz
  15. West of the Revolution: An Uncommon History of 1776 by Claudio Saunt
  16. An Empire Divided: The American Revolution and the British Caribbean by Andrew Jackson O'Shaughnessy
  17. The Birth of the Republic, 1763-89 by Edmund S. Morgan and Rosemarie Zagarri
  18. Six Frigates: The Epic History of the Founding of the U.S. Navy by Ian W. Toll
  19. Rough Crossings: The Slaves, the British, and the American Revolution by Simon Schama
  20. Igniting the American Revolution: 1773-1775 by Derek W. Beck and The War Before Independence: 1775-1776 by Derek W. Beck
  21. The American Revolution in Indian Country: Crisis and Diversity in Native American Communities by Colin G. Calloway
  22. Give Me a Fast Ship: The Continental Navy and America's Revolution at Sea by Tim McGrath
  23. The Marketplace of Revolution: How Consumer Politics Shaped American Independence by T. H. Breen
  24. The Creation of the American Republic, 1776-1787 by Gordon S. Wood
  25. The Unknown American Revolution: The Unruly Birth of Democracy and the Struggle to Create America by Gary B. Nash

After the first books listed above we will select the next books we read from the list below. Provide us feedback and suggestions for our next book by clicking here.

Click Here For List Possible Next Books