The Origins of the American Revolution: A Roundtable

The Junto

“The origins and causes of the Revolution remain the two least studied parts of the Revolution in the last thirty years.” So we suggested in these pages back in spring. Was that assessment correct? Where have historians got to in understanding the origins of the revolution; and where do we still need to go? All this week, members of The Junto will weigh in on the question of causes, in an effort to take stock. This is not intended as a definitive overview of current scholarship. Rather, we’ll be exploring our own idiosyncratic approaches to revolutionary origins, and to the recent scholarship that interests us. We invite you to join in the conversation!

Empire on the EdgeBeyond any new discoveries of evidence and perhaps new technological capacities, every new generation of historians has something unique to contribute to the study of the past—a consciousness of its own time and place. History is written on a…

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2 thoughts on “The Origins of the American Revolution: A Roundtable

  1. Tom Cutterham, reviewing Nick Bunker’s An Empire on the Edge: How Britain Came to Fight America (Knopf, 2014) states that “what distinguishes Bunker’s approach from that of, say, David Waldstreicher and Staughton Lynd, is that Bunker never seeks to make a strong distinction between so-called “economic” and “constitutional” causes of the revolution.” This trend is something that can be found in many recent historical works concerning both the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. For instance, in the forward of Mercantilism Reimagined: Political Economy in Early Modern Britain and Its Empire, Philip J. Stern and Carl Wennerlind make a similar argument stating that what we (modern) have distinguished between political and economic was not so distinct in the eighteenth century. Both Cutterham and Michael Braddick (in reference to Mercantilism Reimagined) refer to the 2008 stock market debacle, which seems to have reminded us that the political and economic are indeed not distinct.


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