A Dissenting Companion to the U.S. History Textbook
Various aspects of the conventional narrative of the Revolution strain our credulity:
Why would the winners of colonial society – the elites – lead a war to change the status quo?
Why would the rich risk their wealth, lives, and social/political standing over mild tax hikes?
If the rich acted out of economic self-interest, why did hundreds of thousands of lower-class colonists join them in their fight?
If this was a tax revolt, why were Americans so angry about the Tea Act, which eliminated the tax on tea?
If Americans opposed monarchy, why were they silent on it until after the war broke out?
The conventional narrative of the Revolution paints the American response to British taxes and trade regulation as hysterical, paranoid, radical, and completely disproportional to the offense. This book offers an explanation for American resistance and rebellion that makes the Revolutionists seem like normal Englishmen of their day – traditionalists, rather than radicals; sober and conservative, rather than hysterics and paranoids; and conventionally English, rather uniquely American. The book presents the Revolution not as a tax revolt, a war of national liberation, or an effort to launch a new system of government, but as one in a series of British rebellions that aimed to preserve the old order against novel governmental reforms initiated in London. This narrative of the Revolution makes the rebels seem more recognizable to us as normal people with understandable fears and reasonable complaints.