FOUNDATIONS OF AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE 1763-1815 by J. R. Pole

FOUNDATIONS OF AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE 1763-1815

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In this first volume of a new ""History of American Society"" series, the editors promise an overview of ""American society as a whole"" -- not merely politics but ""the many complex components of American social development -- values, economic and religious organization, aspirations, social structure and internal tensions."" Professor Pole's survey fails to carry out this claim. His political history resurrects a few colonial myths, such as the assertion that the Proclamation of 1763 banning settlement beyond the Appalachians was based on military exigencies rather than economic and political motives. The anti-Stamp Act indignation is viewed as chiefly the response of gentlemen editors and lawyers, i.e., the ""natural leadership, which felt itself to be the prime target of attack"" bypassing popular stirrings and tax burdens. The ""behavior and drift of American society"" is rendered in cursory snatches: for instance, the revivalist movement is mentioned without insight into its populist roots. One hopes the succeeding six volumes will offer the promised ""broad strokes"" of historical evaluation -- but Pole's work is simply impressionistic, illustrative rather than analytic or original.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1972
Publisher: Bobbs-Merrill