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The Eve of the Revolution, Bibliographical Note

  • Contemporary Writings
    • Many of the most important documents for this period are in the following brief collections:
      • W. Macdonald, “Select Charters and Other Documents,” 1906
      • H. W. Preston, “Documents Illustrative of American History,” 5th ed., 1900
      • H. Niles, “Principles and Acts of the Revolution in America,” 1822
      • J. Almon, “Collection of Papers Relative to the Dispute between Great Britain and America,” 1777 (commonly cited as “Prior Documents”)
    • The spirit of the times is best seen in the contemporary newspapers, many extracts from which are printed in F. Moore, “Diary of the American Revolution from the Newspapers and Original Documents,” 1863
    • Of the numberless controversial pamphlets, the following are noteworthy:
      • J. Otis, “Rights of the British Colonies Asserted and Proved,” 1764
      • D. Dulaney, “Considerations on the Propriety of Imposing Taxes on the British Colonies” 1765
      • J. Dickinson, “Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania to the Inhabitants of the British Colonies, “1768 (also in “Writings of John Dickinson,” 3 vols. 1895)
      • W. Knox, “The Controversy between Great Britain and her Colonies Reviewed,” 1769 (excellent pro-British reply to Dickinson)
      • S. Jenyns, “The Objections to the Taxation of Our American Colonies …Briefly Considered,” 1765
      • J. Wilson, “Considerations on the Nature and Extent of the Legislative Authority of the British Parliament,” 1774 (also in “The Works of James Wilson,” 2 vols. 1896)
      • S. Seabury, “Free Thoughts on the Proceedings of the Continental Congress,” 1774
      • T. Paine, “Common Sense,” 1776 (also in “Writings of Thomas Paine,” 4 vols. 1894-96)

      These pamphlets are not available to most readers, but all of them, together with many others, have been admirably described and summarized in M. C. Tyler, “The Literary History of the American Revolution,” 2 vols. 1897.

    • he letters and public papers of the leaders of the Revolution have been mostly printed, among which some of the most valuable and interesting collections are:
      • T C. F. Adams, “The Works of John Adams,” 10 vols. 1856 (vol. II)
      • J. Adams, “Familiar Letters of John Adams and his Wife Abigail Adams,” 1875
      • W. C. Ford, “The Warren-Adams Letters,” 1917 (vol. I)
      • A. H. Smyth, “The Writing’s of Benjamin Franklin,” 10 vols; 1905-1907 (vols. IV-VI)
      • P. L. Ford, “The Writings of John Dickinson,” 3 vols. 1895
      • H. A. Cushing, “The Writings of Samuel Adams,” 4 vols. 1904-1908
      • P. O. Hutchinson, “Diary and Letters of Thomas Hutchinson,” 2 vols. 1884
    • The following works give the history of the time as it appeared to various contemporaries:
      • W. Gordon, “History of the Rise, Progress, and Establishment of American Independence,” 4 vols. 1788 (parts of the work taken bodily from the “Annual Register”)
      • D. Ramsey, “History of the Revolution of South Carolina,” 2 vols. 1785
      • A. Graydon, “Memoirs of His Own Times,” 1846
      • T. Hutchinson, “History of Massachusetts Bay,” 3 vols. 1795-1828 (based on documents collected by the author, some of which were destroyed in the Stamp Act riots)
      • Mercy Warren, “History of the American Revolution,” 3 vols. 1805 (author was a sister of James Otis)
      • VP. Moultrie, “Memoirs of the American Revolution so far as it Related to North and South Carolina,” 2 vols. 1802
      • J. Drayton, “Memoirs of the American Revolution,” 2 vols. 1821
      • T. Jones, “History of New York in the Revolutionary War,” 2 vols. 1879 (by a prominent New York Loyalist)
      • “The Annual Register,” 1765-1776 (an English annual giving summaries of political events supposed to have been prepared by Edmund Burke)
      • H. Walpole, “Memoirs of the Reign of George the Third,” 4 vols. 1894
  • Secondary Works:
    • The best single volume on the Revolution is W. E. H. Lecky, “The American Revolution,” 1912
    • Other good accounts:
      • E. Charming, “History of the United States,” vol. III, 1912
      • G. Howard, “Preliminaries of the American Revolution,” 1905
      • S. G. Fisher, “Struggle for American Independence,” 2 vols. 1908 (controverts many traditional ideas. Interesting book by a man who has been bored by the laudation of the heroic and patriotic side of the Revolution)
    • Of the more detailed histories, the best are:
      • G. Bancroft, “History of the United States,” 10 vols. 1834-1874 (vols. V-VIII deal with the period 1765-1776. Strongly prejudiced but accurate as to facts; based on documents collected in European archives, some of which are not easily obtainable elsewhere. Revised ed., 6 vols. 1885, omits notes and references, and therefore not so valuable as the original edition).
      • G. O. Trevelyan, “The American Revolution,” 6 vols. 1899 1914 (brilliantly written by an Englishman of Liberal sympathies. On the whole the work on the Revolution best worth reading).
    • Studies of the beginnings of the Revolution in particular colonies:
      • C. H. Lincoln, “Revolutionary Movement in Pennsylvania,” 1901
      • H. J. Eckenrode, “The Revolution in Virginia,” 1916
      • C. L. Becker, “History of political Parties in New York,1760-1776,” 1909
    • The best account of the British policy leading up to the Grenville measures is G. L: Beer, “British Colonial Policy, 1754-1765”, 1907.
    • The interesting and important subject of the Loyalists is sketched in C. H. Van Tyne, “The Loyalists of the American Revolution,” 1902.
    • Interesting biographies well worth reading:
      • W. W. Henry, “Patrick Henry: Life, Correspondence, and Speeches,” 3 vols. 1891
      • J. K. Hosmer, “Life of Thomas Hutchinson,” 1896
      • J. K. Hosmer, “Samuel Adams,” 1893
      • M. Chamberlin, “John Adams,” 1884
      • C. J. Stille, “The Life and Times of John Dickinson,” 1891
      • D. D. Wallace, “Life of Henry Laurens,” 1915
      • P. L. Ford, “The Many-Sided Franklin,” 1899
      • J. Parton, “Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin,” 2 vols. 1867

The Eve of the Revolution


The Eve of the Revolution
by Carl Lotus Bekcer


The Declaration of Independence:
A Study in the History of Political Ideas
by Carl Lotus Becker

Beginnings of the American People
by Carl Lotus Becker

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