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1774 : The Long Year of Revolution
by Mary Beth Norton




Overview -
From one of our most acclaimed and original colonial historians, a groundbreaking book tracing the critical long year of 1774 and the revolutionary change that took place from the Boston Tea Party and the First Continental Congress to the Battles of Lexington and Concord.

A WALL STREET JOURNAL BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR

In this masterly work of history, the culmination of more than four decades of research and thought, Mary Beth Norton looks at the sixteen months leading up to the clashes at Lexington and Concord in mid-April 1775. This was the critical, and often overlooked, period when colonists traditionally loyal to King George III began their discordant "discussions" that led them to their acceptance of the inevitability of war against the British Empire. Drawing extensively on pamphlets, newspapers, and personal correspondence, Norton reconstructs colonial political discourse as it took place throughout 1774. Late in the year, conservatives mounted a vigorous campaign criticizing the First Continental Congress. But by then it was too late. In early 1775, colonial governors informed officials in London that they were unable to thwart the increasing power of local committees and their allied provincial congresses. Although the Declaration of Independence would not be formally adopted until July 1776, Americans had in effect "declared independence " even before the outbreak of war in April 1775 by obeying the decrees of the provincial governments they had elected rather than colonial officials appointed by the king. Norton captures the tension and drama of this pivotal year and foundational moment in American history and brings it to life as no other historian has done before.

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More About 1774 by Mary Beth Norton

 
 
 

Overview

From one of our most acclaimed and original colonial historians, a groundbreaking book tracing the critical long year of 1774 and the revolutionary change that took place from the Boston Tea Party and the First Continental Congress to the Battles of Lexington and Concord.

A WALL STREET JOURNAL BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR

In this masterly work of history, the culmination of more than four decades of research and thought, Mary Beth Norton looks at the sixteen months leading up to the clashes at Lexington and Concord in mid-April 1775. This was the critical, and often overlooked, period when colonists traditionally loyal to King George III began their discordant "discussions" that led them to their acceptance of the inevitability of war against the British Empire. Drawing extensively on pamphlets, newspapers, and personal correspondence, Norton reconstructs colonial political discourse as it took place throughout 1774. Late in the year, conservatives mounted a vigorous campaign criticizing the First Continental Congress. But by then it was too late. In early 1775, colonial governors informed officials in London that they were unable to thwart the increasing power of local committees and their allied provincial congresses. Although the Declaration of Independence would not be formally adopted until July 1776, Americans had in effect "declared independence " even before the outbreak of war in April 1775 by obeying the decrees of the provincial governments they had elected rather than colonial officials appointed by the king. Norton captures the tension and drama of this pivotal year and foundational moment in American history and brings it to life as no other historian has done before.

 

Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385353366
  • ISBN-10: 0385353367
  • Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group
  • Publish Date: February 2020
  • Page Count: 528
  • Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.7 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds


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BookPage Reviews

1774

American colonists loved tea and wished to acquire it cheaply. Parliament’s Tea Act of 1773, however, made that impossible. As an anonymous New York writer at the time explained, colonists would pay “a duty which is a tax for the Purpose of raising a Revenue from us without our own consent, and tax, or duty, is therefore unconstitutional, cruel, and unjust.” It was an effort to help the financially struggling East India Company. In protest, some ports halted or sent back their shipments of tea. In Boston, in December of 1773, men disguised as Native Americans destroyed 342 chests of tea. The term “Boston Tea Party” wasn’t used until the next century, but the action was controversial and set in motion crucial actions and discussions that lasted until mid-April 1775.

The vigorous debates regarding freedom and liberty during that period prepared the country for what was to follow in 1776. Drawing on correspondence, newspapers and pamphlets, noted historian Mary Beth Norton brings that 16-month period vividly alive in her meticulously documented and richly rewarding 1774: The Long Year of Revolution.

Support for resistance to King George III was far from unanimous. Loyalists sought to deal rationally with Parliament on the Tea Act and other issues. The proposal to elect a congress to coordinate opposition tactics came not from radical leaders but from conservatives who hoped for reconciliation with Britain. Loyalists to England, not the revolutionaries, were the most vocal advocates for freedom of the press and strong dissenting opinions. But shortsighted decisions from London often moved these conservatives in the opposite direction. 

This important book demonstrates how opposition to the king developed and shows us that without the “long year” of 1774, there may not have been an American Revolution at all.

 

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