The American Revolutionary Era Reading and Study Group

Chapter 8: The Making of an American Revolution, 1772–1776 (Parts 1-2) :: From Resistance to Revolution by Pauline Maier

Response / Thought Quotes

  • “to penetrate the Egyptian darkness … so palpable in the court atmosphere.”
  • “From your unspotted character, from your known attachment to the principles of religious and civil liberty, and from your generous concern for the welfare of your country,” a widely reprinted English letter to Dartmouth claimed, “the public in general” expected that he would use his influence “to protect, to countenance, and support the just pretensions of all his Majesty’s subjects to partake alike of his paternal care and affection.”
  • “so abhorrent from the principles of every free government, [that] our expectations from the change [in ministry] must be totally annihilated.”
  • “that kind of man who apparently meaning no ill, will never do any good.”
  • “Though not so actively bad,” Lee said, Dartmouth was “yet … as capable of adopting any unjust and arbitrary measure as my Lord Hillsborough”; and the “Rhode Island measure,” in fact, proved him to be “a man after his majesty’s own heart, arbitrary and hypocritical.”
  • “that the liberties of America are not so much in danger from any thing that Parliament has done, or is likely to do here, as from the violence and misconduct of America itself.”
  • “absurdity of the idea”
  • “There could no more be a “divine right of doing wrong” in Parliament than in the King,”
  • “and all the principles of the [Glorious] Revolution show that there are certain cases wherein resistance is justifiable to him.”
  • Describe the circumstances of the British elections of 1775
  • What were the consequences of the British elections of 1775 for American relations?
  • “Arthur Lee found English elections so corrupt that he doubted whether an “independent, impeaching House of Commons” could be procured; yet the prospect of a new election played a central role in the patriots’ strategy. In May and again July 1774, William Lee recommended an immediate colonial nonimportation and nonexportation agreement, largely for its effect on the British electorate”
  • “The thing I dread most,” the Boston radical Thomas Young wrote in August 1774, “is the sudden dissolution of the present Parliament and the rechoice before the People are thoroughly possessed of the whole information they need in these matters.”
  • “an insidious Manoeuvre calculated to divide us,”
  • “When you have shown that you are what Englishmen once were, whether successful or not, your foes will diminish, your friends amazingly increase,”
  • “By March 1775, William Lee, along with his brother Arthur, Price, Priestly, and other American supporters in England—with the exception of Franklin—had decided that the issue would not be settled without fighting, and the sooner hostilities began the better.”
  • “We must fight, if we can’t otherwise rid ourselves of British taxation, all revenues, and the constitution or form of government enacted for us by the British parliament.”

Thought Questions

  • Explain and Expand: “They were emotionally and intellectually unprepared for war and a potential withdrawal from the empire.”
  • Describe the transformation that took place in American political thought and action in 1772-1775
  • Describe the transformation that took place in British political thought and action in 1772-1775
  • Compare and Contrast: The evolution of American political thought and British political thought between 1772-1775
  • In what ways was 1772 the “beginning of the end”?
  • What hopes did conditional loyalists hold onto during 1772-1775 for maintaining peace and unity with Britain
  • What issues / events eroded conditional loyalists hopes in reconciliation?
  • Describe the concept of an “American Bill of Rights”
  • React and Respond: “Only after all these possibilities were ruled out did the colonists reject their Mother Country”
  • Explain and Expand: “he was willing to supplement biased official intelligence with direct private accounts from the colonies.”
  • Who was William Legge and how did he impact the American-British relationship? How did his relationship with the Americans deteriorate? What were the consequences of this deterioration?
  • Describe the background and purpose of the Gaspée Commission
  • Explain and Expand: “BLOODY good one,” an intended “American Death warrant.”
  • Explain and Expand: “American attitudes toward the King also took a new turn”
  • Describe the consequences of the American change of attitude toward the King
  • Explain and Expand: “Not everyone, of course, followed this line of reasoning. John Dickinson insisted in October 1774 that “every thing may yet be attributed to the misrepresentations and mistakes of ministers,” that the present cause was that of “half a dozen … fools or knaves,” not of Great Britain.”
  • Explain and Expand: “These successive re-evaluations of the British government were of intense and basic significance to colonial leaders.”
  • React and Respond: “Hence the importance of accurate accounts from England not only of events, but evaluating the government, the public’s feelings, the effect of American efforts, and prospects for the future.”
  • Explain the significance of the Bi-British-American subjects in communications between Britain and America
  • Who was Josiah Quincy, Jr?
  • Affirm or Refute: “The resort to force in 1774 and 1775 was more clearly revolutionary than it had been at the time of the first tea parties.”
  • Explain and Expand: “The contract between America and Britain might of course be renegotiated, with colonial rights more firmly established in an American Bill of Rights. It was clearly necessary, Elbridge Gerry noted, that some “constitutional check on the government at home be invented” to which Americans could recur whenever aggrieved in the future, and the terms of such a document were discussed by Samuel Adams and Arthur Lee in 1774.”
  • Explain and Expand: “The colonists were, however, not yet consciously molding an American war or an American revolution. They sought rather a British revolution”
  • Describe the activity of Arthur Lee during 1772-1775
  • Describe the activity of Samuel Adams during 1772-1775
  • Describe the evolution of John Adams during 1772-1775
  • Explain and Expand: “News of the Americans’ firmness also seemed to stimulate the shift in British opinion.”
  • Describe the transformation from “we” into “us and them” within the British empire
  • What role did “economic coercion” (nonimportation, nonexportation) play during 1772-1775?
  • How was the “economic coercion” practiced by the Americans both the expression and evolution of basic English rights

Primary Sources

Articles and Resources

 

The American Revolutionary Era Reading and Study Group

Chapter 6: The International Sons Of Liberty And The Ministerial Plot, 1768–1770 :: From Resistance to Revolution by Pauline Maier

Response / Thought Quotes

  • “giving or restoring it, not only to our brethren of Scotland and Ireland, but even to France itself, were it in our power, is one of the principal articles of Whiggism.”
  • “in the name and behalf of all the true SONS of LIBERTY in America, Great-Britain, Ireland, Corsica, or wheresoever they may be dispersed throughout the world.”
  • “do nothing rashly … nothing against the known laws of the land, that we appear not a faction endeavouring to overturn the system of government, but … free subjects by birth, endeavouring to recover our lost rights.”

Thought Questions

  • Affirm or Refute: “Yet they were, in a sense, already world revolutionaries.”
  • Describe the role newspapers and pamphlets played in this stage of the American Revolution. How did it evolve from early uses and in what ways did this foreshadow further changes?
  • Who was Heraclius II of Georgia and why did he interest colonial leaders?
  • Who was Paschal Paoli and why did he interest colonial leaders?
  • Who was John Wilkes and why did he interest colonial leaders
  • Explain and Expand: “But within the next four years, from 1768 to 1772, Wilkes, Paoli, the Irish, and the Americans all suffered serious reverses.”
  • What was the North Briton Number 45 and why is it significant in British – American history?
  • React and Respond: “an outlaw … of bad personal character, not worth a farthing”
  • Compare and Contrast: The American Stamp Act and the British Cider Bill of 1763
  • Who was John Dickinson
  • Describe: “”
  • Explain and Expand: “When in January 1769 the colonists learned of the King’s speech at the opening of Parliament on November 8, 1768, with its reference to a “state of Disobedience to all Law and Government” in Massachusetts, and to a “Disposition to throw off their Dependence on Great Britain,” they were further embittered.”
  • In what ways was 1769 the year colonial leaders lost their faith in Great Britain?
  • What developments in Ireland interested and impacted the American colonies?
  • What development in Corsica interested the American colonies and impacted the Early Republic?
  • Explain and Expand: “The impact of these and related events was of the greatest significance.”
  • React and Respond: “This background of a growing official reliance on troops, with the sense of impending danger it evoked, explains the English opposition’s readiness to champion the cause of the black Caribs of St. Vincent’s Island in the West Indies.”
  • Explain and Expand: “The Boston Sons of Liberty rejected several drafts of a letter to Wilkes because rapidly developing local events made them obsolete”
  • What was the significance of the December 1769 pamphlet: “To the Betrayed Inhabitants of the City and Colony of New York”?
  • Describe the events that led to the Boston Massacre and the event itself
  • Explain and Expand: “The Boston Massacre of March 1770 seemed to complete the parallel development of English and American events.”
  • Who were the North Carolina Regulators

Primary Sources

Articles and Resources

Further Reading