The Literature of Revolution II. Sources and Traditions III. Transformation 1. Representation and Consent 2.
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D from Harvard University. He has been associated with Harvard ever since. He was made a full professor in , and professor emeritus in In , he received an honorary doctorate from Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa.
He argued that international commerce was an uncertain business, given the high risk of losses at sea in the very long turnaround times meant that information was often too old to be useful. Merchants reduced the uncertainty by pooling their resources, especially with marriages to other merchant families, and placing their kinfolk as trusted agents in London and other foreign ports.
International commerce became a chief means of growing rich in colonial Massachusetts. However, there was an ongoing tension between the entrepreneurial spirit on the one hand and traditional Puritan culture on the other.
The world of merchants became an engine of social change, undermining the isolationism , scholasticism , and religious zeal of the Puritan leadership. Bailyn pointed the younger generation of historians away from Puritan theology and toward broader social and economic forces. Bailyn expanded his research to the social structure of Virginia , showing how its leadership class was transformed in the s. Like Edmund Morgan at Brown University and Yale , Bailyn emphasized the multiple roles of the family in the colonial social system.
In his most influential work, The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution, Bailyn analyzed pre-Revolutionary political pamphlets to show that colonists believed the British intended to establish a tyrannical state that would abridge the historical British rights.
He thus argued that the Revolutionary rhetoric of liberty and freedom was not simply propagandistic but rather central to their understanding of the situation. This evidence was used to displace Charles A. Bailyn maintained that ideology was ingrained in the revolutionaries, an attitude he said exemplified the "transforming radicalism of the American Revolution.
He located the intellectual sources of the American Revolution within a broader British political framework, explaining how English country Whig ideas about civic virtue , corruption , ancient rights, and fear of autocracy were, in the colonies, transformed into the ideology of republicanism. According to Bailyn, The modernization of American Politics and government during and after the Revolution took the form of a sudden, radical realization of the program that had first been fully set forth by the opposition intelligentsia Where the English opposition, forcing its way against a complacent social and political order, had only striven and dreamed, Americans driven by the same aspirations but living in a society in many ways modern, and now released politically, could suddenly act.
Where the French opposition had vainly agitated for partial reforms American leaders moved swiftly and with little social disruption to implement systematically the outermost possibilities of the whole range of radically libertarian ideas. In the process they The first is the belief that power is evil, a necessity perhaps but an evil necessity; that it is infinitely corrupting; and that it must be controlled, limited, restricted in every way compatible with a minimum of civil order.
Written constitutions; the separation of powers ; bill of rights ; limitations on executives, on legislatures, and courts; restrictions on the right to coerce and wage war—all express the profound distrust of power that lies at the ideological heart of the American Revolution and that has remained with us as a permanent legacy ever after.
Social history[ edit ] In the s, Bailyn turned from political and intellectual history to social and demographic history. His histories of the peopling of colonial North America explored questions of immigration , cultural contact, and settlement that his mentor Handlin had pioneered decades earlier. Bailyn has been a major innovator in new research techniques, such as quantification , collective biography, and kinship analysis.
According to Michael Kammen and Stanley N. Katz, Bailyn: is very clearly a believer in the distinctiveness of American civilization. Although he rarely, if ever, uses the phrase " American exceptionalism ," he repeatedly insists upon the "distinctive characteristics of British North American life. As a leading advocate of the Atlantic history , Bailyn has organized an annual international seminar at Harvard designed to promote scholarship in this field.
Rakove and Gordon S.
The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution
NEXT Setting the Scene for Independence Antiquity—that is, the societies of ancient times—and England itself were two of the principal inspirations for American ideas about liberty, independence, and the form that the Founders envisioned for their new government. These participatory republics predicated their stability and authority on the virtue of the citizenry as a whole and their resistance to corruption or tyranny. For 18th-century republicans, a person with "virtue" owned property, possessed an intrinsic sense of morality, and was willing to subordinate his own interests for the interests of the community: the public good. These were the only sorts of people that Founding Father Benjamin Franklin thought capable of freedom.