28th out of 68 books — 21 voters
From Resistance to Revolution: Colonial Radicals and the Development of American Opposition to Britain 1765-76
In this classic account of the American revolution, Pauline Maier traces the step-by-step process through which the extra-legal institutions of the colonial resistance movement assumed authority from the British. She follows the American Whigs as they moved by stages from the organized resistance of the Stamp Act crisis of 1765 through the non-importation associations of t...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published January 17th 1992 by W.W. Norton & Company
(first published 1972)
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Pauline Maier’s 1974 work From Resistance to Revolution became a classic by disputing the then prevalent interpretation of the American Revolution which emphasized the role of radical printers and self-interested American politicians in maneuvering the colonies toward revolution through provocation and propaganda. Growing from her dissertation on the pro-American British opposition MP John Wilkes and the work of her adviser Bernard Bailyn, Maier placed the Revolution within the context of the wi...more
Maier constructs a framework for colonial resistance prior to the Revolution that is more accurate than anything I have read in previous books. The Sons of Liberty were organized, legal, and acted within acceptable limits established by over a century of organized resistance. This is a necessary read for any serious student of Colonial America and the American Revolution. Easily a five star history!
The first couple of chapters make this book worth reading and purchasing. I'm amazed it is not talked about more in "conservative" circles. It presents a society that had far less differentiation between police power and the rest of society. In English and Colonial society, police power was a duty of everyone, so that, when a civil magistrate failed to do what was lawful, and the "mob" did it anyway, the line between "riot" and "lawful government" was not so easy to detect. John Locke and Algern...more
The strongest parts of Maier's work involve as the title would suggest, the path the colonists followed from "passive" resistance to armed revolution. Overly reliant on the same sources utilized by Bernard Bailyn (her academic advisor on her dissertation) and too often supporting his research rather than adding something new of her own,the good still overcomes the bad. (and bonus points for not being as dry as many dissertations turned into full length books usually are)
The first part is an illuminating discussion of the role of mobs in pre-1765 America and England. The book lost me after that. The prose is dry and the arguments are unoriginal. Maier would have done better to either concentrate upon mob activities or upon America's disillusionment with Britain, because her prose utterly fails to connect the two.
Dec 25, 2011 Mary rated it 4 of 5 stars
Interesting exploration of how American colonists transitioned from thinking of themselves as loyal subjects of Britain with a few grievances about the laws of the colonies to people willing to fight for independence. Very accessible to the reader with some awareness of the revolutionary period.