The Origins of the American Revolution: Politics and Politicized Societies


The Junto

This is the fifth post in a weeklong roundtable about “The Origins of the American Revolution.” On Monday, Tom Cutterham kicked things off by exhorting historians to stop “separat[ing] economic from constitutional, imperial, political, or even intellectual causes of the revolution.” On Tuesday Jessica Parr raised questions about the convergence of religious and political rhetoric during the Revolution. Mark Boonshoft considered the importance of civil society and associationism, and yesterday Michael Hattem called for sharper attention to the periodization of the Revolution. In today’s post, Ken Owen argues for using politics as the lens with which to sharpen our focus on the disjunctures of the 1760s and 1770s. Tomorrow, the roundtable will conclude with a guest post from Jackie Reynoso.

7080030Revolutionary America was a politicized society. All of the most important conflicts of the American Revolution, from the Stamp Act through Independence to the ratification of the…

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2 thoughts on “The Origins of the American Revolution: Politics and Politicized Societies

  1. Craig Gallagher brings up a good point above–how do we define the political? Publications from Steve Pincus (“Rethinking Mercantilism), William Pettigrew (Freedom’s Debt); Mercantilism Reimagined eds. Philip Stern and Carl Wennerlind; and others poise similar questions. Modern concepts of politics and economics, of course, see these as two separate spheres, but this kind of thinking has largely changed or is changing (influences of 2008?). How do we reconcile these seemingly disparate spheres? The political, here, involves economic, institutional, social, and cultural–I would say especially social/ cultural. Gallagher’s thought about re-envisioning the political process(es) as local events also has to be accounted for. How did the myriad local ‘political’ events influence the big Political events (as we know them)?


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