Last modified on 26 October 2013, at 11:58

Bernard Bailyn

Whatever deficiencies the leaders of the American Revolution may have had, reticence, fortunately, was not one of them.

Bernard Bailyn (born September 9, 1922, in Hartford, Conecticut) is an American historian, author, and professor specializing in U.S. Colonial and Revolutionary-era History. He has been a professor at Harvard since 1953. Bailyn has won the Pulitzer Prize for History twice (in 1968 and 1987).

SourcedEdit

The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution (1967)Edit

  • The full bibliography of pamphlets relating to the Anglo-American struggle published in the colonies through the year 1776 contains not a dozen or so items but over four hundred; ...
    • FOREWORD, p. v
  • Whatever deficiencies the leaders of the American Revolution may have had, reticence, fortunately, was not one of them.
    • Chapter I, THE LITERATURE OF REVOLUTION, p. 1
  • The classics of the ancient world are everywhere in the literature of the Revolution, but thet are everywhere illustrative, not determinative, of thought
    • Chapter II, SOURCES AND TRADITIONS, p. 26
  • Incorporating in their colorful, slashing, superbly readable pages, the major themes of the "left" opposition under Walpole, these libertarian tracts, emerging first in the form of denunciations of standing armies in the reign of William III, left an indelible imprint on the "country" mind everywhere in the English-speaking world.
    • Chapter II, SOURCES AND TRADITIONS, p. 36
  • The theory of politics that emerges from the political literature of the pre-Revolutionary years rests on the belief that what lay behind every political scene, the ultimate explanation of every political controversy, was the disposition of power.
    • Chapter III, POWER AND LIBERTY A THEORY OF POLITICS, p. 55
  • What gave transcendent importance to the aggressiveness of power was the fact that its natural prey, its necessary victim, was liberty, or law, or right.
    • Chapter III, POWER AND LIBERTY A THEORY OF POLITICS, p. 57
  • The wielders of power did not speak for it, nor did they naturally serve it. Their interest was to use and develop power, no less natural and necessary than liberty but more dangerous.
    • Chapter III, POWER AND LIBERTY A THEORY OF POLITICS, p. 59
  • Everyone knew that democracy-direct rule by all the people-required such spartan, sel denying virtue on the part of all the people that it was likely to survive only where poverty made upright behavior necessary for the perpetuation of the race.
    • Chapter III, POWER AND LIBERTY A THEORY OF POLITICS, p. 65
  • The turning point was the Tea Act and the resulting Tea Party in Boston in December 1773.
    • Chapter IV, THE LOGIC OF REBELLION, p. 118
On the evening of October 14, 1774, the Massachusetts delegates were invited to Carpenters' Hall by a group of Philadelphians to do "a little business."
  • That by 1774 the final crisis of the constitution, brought on by political and social corruption, had been reached was, to most informed colonists, evident; ...
    • Chapter IV, THE LOGIC OF REBELLION, p. 132
  • The fact that the ministerial conspiracy against liberty had risen from corruption was of the utmost importance to the colonists.
    • Chapter IV, THE LOGIC OF REBELLION, p. 138
  • It was an elevating, transforming vision: a new, fresh, vigorous, and above all morally regenerate people rising from the obscurity to defend the battlements of liberty and then in triumph standing forth, heartening and sustaining the cause of freedom everywhere.
    • Chapter V, TRANSFORMATION, p. 160
  • What were once felt to be defects-isolation, institutional simplicity, primitiveness of manners, multiplicity of religions, weaknesses in the authority of the state-could now be seen as virtues, not only by Americans themselves but by enlightened spokesmen of reform, renewal and hope wherever they may be-in London coffeehouses, in Parisian salons, in the courts of German princes.
    • Chapter V, TRANSFORMATION, p. 160
  • The ideas that the colonists put forward, rather than creating a new condition of fact, expressed one that has long existed; they articulated and in so doing generalized, systematized, gave moral sanction to what had emerged haphazardly, incompletely and insensibly, from the chaotic factionalism of colonial politics.
    • Chapter V, TRANSFORMATION, p. 162
  • In England the practice of "virtual" representation provided reasonably well for the actual representation of the major interests of the society, and it raised no widespread objection.
    • Chapter V, TRANSFORMATION, p. 167
  • In effect the people were present through their representatives, and were themselves, step by step and point by point, acting in the conduct of public affairs. No longer merely an ultimate check on government, they were in some sense the government.
    • Chapter V, TRANSFORMATION, p. 173
  • The primary function of a constitution was to mark out the boundaries of governmental powers-hence in England, where there was no constitution , there were no limits (save for the effect of trail by jury) to what the legislature might do.
    • Chapter V, TRANSFORMATION, p. 182
  • The idea of sovereignty current in the English speaking world of the 1760's was scarcely more than a century old. It had first emerged during the English Civil War, in the early 1640's, and had been established as a canon of Whig political thought in the Revolution of 1688.
    • Chapter V, TRANSFORMATION, p. 198
  • Never had Parliament or the crown, or both together, operated in actuality as theory indicated sovereign powers should.
    • Chapter V, TRANSFORMATION, p. 203
  • What Americans were really objecting to had nothing to do with constitutional principles. their objection was not to Parliament's constitutional right to levy certain kinds of taxes as opposed to others, but to its effort to collect any.
    • Chapter V, TRANSFORMATION, p. 218
  • The most powerful presentations were based on legal precedents, especially Calvin's Case (1608), which, it was claimed, proved on the authority of Coke and Bacon that subjects of the King are by no means necessarily subjects of Parliament.
    • Chapter V, TRANSFORMATION, p. 225
Defiance to constituted authority leaped like a spark from one flammable area to another, growing in heat as it went.
  • Up and down the the still sparsely settled coast of British North America, groups of men-intellectuals and farmers, scholars and merchants, the learned and the ignorant-gathered for the purpose of constructing enlightened governments.
    • Chapter VI, THE CONTAGION OF LIBERTY, p. 231
  • At first the relevance of chattel slavery to libertarian ideals was noted only in individual passages of isolated pamphlets.
    • Chapter VI, THE CONTAGION OF LIBERTY, p. 237
  • On the evening of October 14, 1774, the Massachusetts delegates were invited to Carpenters' Hall by a group of Philadelphians to do "a little business."
    • Chapter VI, THE CONTAGION OF LIBERTY, p. 268
  • The categories within which the colonists thought about the social foundations of politics were inheritances from classical antiquity, reshaped by seventeenth century English thought.
    • Chapter VI, THE CONTAGION OF LIBERTY, p. 273
  • In no obvious sense was the American Revolution undertaken as a social revolution.
    • Chapter VI, THE CONTAGION OF LIBERTY, p. 302
  • Defiance to constituted authority leaped like a spark from one flammable area to another, growing in heat as it went.
    • THE CONTAGION OF LIBERTY, Chapter VI, p. 305

External linksEdit

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has an article about: