"What do we mean by the Revolution?" John Adams asked Thomas Jefferson in 1815. "The war? That was no part of the Revolution. It was only an effect and consequence of it." As Thomas Slaughter suggests here, the long process of revolution reached back more than a century before 1776, developing out of the colonies' laws, commerce, social structures, religious sentiments, and political interests. Over the years, the struggle to define this independence took many forms, as colonists showed their discontent through orderly protests and occasionally smuggling, taking up arms only as a last resort.
"Only bold historians will attempt one-volume histories of the American Revolution's origins; Slaughter brings his off brilliantly. Rarely, if ever, has this history been told with such graceful readability, freshness, and clarity…. A political, event-filled history of its subject, this masterful work is unsurpassed." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)