Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Glorious Cause by Robert Middlekauff

The Glorious Cause is a part of the Oxford History of the United States. It was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. It is one of the best one volume books on the period from 1754-1789. The complexity of events during this period are nothing less than daunting. The colonists fought a nine year war on behalf of the British Empire. Their loyalty to the crown was unquestioned. In a series of laws after the 1763, changed all of that. As the British Parliament began to assert itself the freedom loving American began to push back. Accustomed to representational government and a certain amount of autonomy, many colonists began to resist. By 1775, only a dozen years after the end of the French and Indian War, the resistance erupted into full rebellion.

Over the next eight years the new American Nation would fight for her independence against the greatest army and navy in the world. The Peace of Paris ended the war, but not the trouble in America. The weak nature of the Articles of Confederation meant that there was no way to maintain a strong national government. The solution for some was to create a new government. To this end the Constitution was written.

This book gives an excellent overview of this period. All of the major events are touched on. The size of the book means that not every topic can be dealt with in depth, but it gives readers a starting point. Middlekauff’s prose is not academic in nature and is very accessible to the average reader. Read this along with Gordon Woods’ Empire of Liberty and Daniel Walker Howe’s What Hath God Wrought and you will have a very strong foundation in American History.

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