1775: A Good Year for Revolution

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9780670025121: 1775: A Good Year for Revolution

The contrarian historian and analyst upends the conventional reading of the American Revolution

In 1775, iconoclastic historian and bestselling author Kevin Phillips punctures the myth that 1776 was the watershed year of the American Revolution. He suggests that the great events and confrontations of 1775—Congress’s belligerent economic ultimatums to Britain, New England’s rage militaire, the exodus of British troops and expulsion of royal governors up and down the seaboard, and the new provincial congresses and hundreds of local  committees that quickly reconstituted local authority in Patriot hands­—achieved a  sweeping Patriot control of territory and local government that Britain was never able to overcome.  These each added to the Revolution’s essential momentum so when the British finally attacked in great strength the following year, they could not regain the control they had lost in 1775.

Analyzing the political climate, economic structures, and military preparations, as well as the roles of ethnicity, religion, and class, Phillips tackles the eighteenth century with the same skill and insights he has shown in analyzing contemporary politics and economics.  The result is a dramatic narrative brimming with original insights. 1775 revolutionizes our understanding of America’s origins.

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About the Author:

Kevin Phillips has been a political and an economic commentator for four decades. This is his fifteenth book. The predecessor to this book, The Cousins’ Wars, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1999. He lives in Connecticut.

From Booklist:

The year 1776 is often described as the year of this country’s birth. That is, of course, technically true. But Phillips, the acclaimed political analyst and historian, convincingly illustrates that it was in 1775 that the critical trends and events unfolded, so that our declared independence was a confirmation of facts already established on the ground: the lower houses of colonial legislatures had aggressively gained control, often driving out royal governors; the rhetoric of the Second Continental Congress became strident, even bellicose; and increasingly, that congress assumed the powers of a government. On a local level, various Patriot Committees enforced boycotts of British-made goods and made the lives of those deemed Tories very uncomfortable. Vast stretches of the Atlantic seaboard were “no go” areas for British troops. Independence was probably in the thoughts, if not on the lips, of many Americans by the end of the year. Phillips writes in a methodical and cooly dispassionate style, so those expecting a tribute to the “glorious cause” should look elsewhere. But he does provide a solid, well-argued, and informative re-examination of our beginnings as a nation-state. --Jay Freeman

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Book Description Viking Books, U.S.A., 2012. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition. What if the year we have long commemorated as America's defining moment was, in fact, misleading? What if the real events that signaled the historic shift from colony to country took place earlier, and that the true story of our nation's emergence reveals a more complicated -- and divisive -- birth process? In this major new work, iconoclastic historian and political chronicler Kevin Phillips upends the conventional reading of the American Revolution by puncturing the myth that 1776 was the struggle's watershed year. Mythology and omission have elevated 1776, but the most important year, rarely recognized, was 1775: the critical launching point of the war and Britain's imperial outrage and counterattack and the year during which America's commitment to revolution took bloody and irreversible shape. Phillips focuses on the great battlefields and events of 1775 -- Congress's warlike economic ultimatums to king and parliament, New England's rage militaire, the panicked concentration of British troops in militant, but untenable, Boston, the stunning expulsion of royal governors up and down the seaboard, and the new provincial congresses and many hundreds of local committees that quickly reconstituted local authority in Patriot hands. These onrushing events delivered a sweeping control of territory and local government to the Patriots, one that Britain was never able to overcome. Seventeen seventy-five was the year in which Patriots captured British forts and fought battles from the Canadian frontier to the Carolinas, obtained the needed gunpower in machinations that reached from the Baltic to West Africa and the Caribbean, and orchestrated the critical months of nation building in the backrooms of a secrecy-shrouded Congress. As Phillips writes, "The political realignment achieved amid revolution was unique -- no other has come with simultaneous ballots and bullets." Surveying the political climate, economic structures, and military preparations, as well as the roles of ethnicity, religion, and class, Phillips tackles the eighteenth century with the same skill and perception he has shown in analyzing contemporary politics and economics. He mines rich material as he surveys different regions and different colonies and probes how the varying agendas and expectations at the grassroots level had a huge effect on how the country shaped itself. He details often overlooked facts about the global munitions trade; about the roles of Indians, slaves, and mercenaries; and about the ideological and religious factors that played into the revolutionary fervor. The result is a dramatic account brimming with original insights about the country we eventually became. Kevin Phillip's 1775 revolutionizes our understanding of America's origins. Bookseller Inventory # 000176

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