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The Creation of the American Republic, 1776-1787
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The Creation of the American Republic, 1776-1787

4.1  ·  Rating Details ·  1,275 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
During the Revolutionary era, American political theory underwent a fundamental transformation that carried the nation out of a basically classical and medieval world of political discussion into a milieu that was recognizably modern. This classic work is a study of that transformation. Gordon Wood describes in rich detail the evolution of political thought from the Declar ...more
Paperback, Published for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, Virginia, 675 pages
Published April 6th 1998 by University of North Carolina Press (first published January 28th 1969)
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Jul 07, 2008 Debbie rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in early America, or in debunking "experts" on the Founding Fathers.
Shelves: american-history
Gordon Wood defined a new concept of understanding early American political history with this brilliant book. He literally wrote the book on republicanism, a concept fashioned out of the bits and pieces of previous ideologies as well as contemporary issues in post-revolutionary America.
Aug 10, 2008 Ryan rated it really liked it
One of the most enjoyable works to read about those years essential to the formation of the Republic, despite the factional rivalries that were already well-established (and continue to characterize American society). Many authors are too technical or just plain dry when writing about the Constitutional era, but this is a lovely exception.
Mar 27, 2010 Jeff rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
The best book on the revolutionary period. This book is packed and well written. A tour do force.
Mark Singer
Essential for an understanding of how the American Republic was created, from the Declaration of Independence, through the Articles of Confederation and ending with the creation and adoption of the Constitution. This was required reading for a course I had on that subject in the Spring of 2010 at Temple University - Ambler.
Second time through, and just as relevant. 2/20/2014
Michael Hattem
Jul 21, 2010 Michael Hattem rated it it was amazing
Shelves: early-america
Simply put, this is one of the ten most important books written about early America in the last one hundred years.
Craig Bolton
"The Creation of the American Republic, 1776-1787 (Published for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, Virginia) by Gordon S. Wood (1998)"
Oct 10, 2010 Russell rated it really liked it
Fantastic, but *dense.* But no one has been more significant in shaping our understanding of the American founding.
Frank Stein
Nov 24, 2010 Frank Stein rated it it was amazing
One of the best books on American government I've ever read.

This was not exactly a school book, but one of my teachers kept recommending it so frequently and so heartily that I had to give it a try, even if its not exactly in my field. He was right. It is just an amazing piece of work.

It's an intellectual history of sorts, except there are practically no individual characters or thinkers. Most of the innumerable quotes come from a barely distinguished mass of newspapers and private correspondenc
Mar 29, 2011 Jason rated it it was amazing
An intellectual tour-de-force. I have learned more about the development of American political theory by reading this book than by any other. The founders understood that people were by nature self-interested and could not design a system reliant upon virtue for its success. "America would remain free not because of any quality in its citizens of spartan self-sacrifice to some nebulous public good, but in the last analysis because of the concern each individual would have in his own self-interes ...more
A magisterial overlook at the history and concepts behind the formation of the United States. Apparently this is assigned to grad students, but I had this crammed in undergrad.

The historical and ideological roots of early American thought were numerous - the classical Republics of antiquity, mercantile republics such as the Venetians and Dutch, and of course, the English mixed semi-constitutional monarchy. The colonies, even after taxation, were still incredibly prosperous. The main factor in re
Feb 01, 2011 Beth rated it liked it
Shelves: for-school, 2011
Detailed explanation of the role of republicanism in establishing the American republic, and necessary reading for anyone hoping to understand the role Wood and his mentor, Bernard Bailyn, played in changing historical understandings of early American politics.
Sam Newton
Apr 21, 2011 Sam Newton rated it really liked it
This is a fantastic book on the political philosophy of the new American republic. It's got a pretty dry narrative (if there's even one at all). However, his understanding of Whig, Republican, Federalist, Anti-Federalist and other political philosophies remains second to none, over half a century later.
Sep 24, 2013 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
This is one of the most impressive books I've ever read. It is an amazing work of research and scholarship that is astounding in scope. It is clear that Wood has done his homework and has created an impressive work. The title is rather broad, and could indicate a variety of things, but lest any be misled, this book is pure political philosophy. This is not a work dealing with the war, the build-up to war, or even a history of the period. The book is singularly focused on the evolution of the pol ...more
Jan 31, 2012 Billy rated it really liked it
Bought this for eleven dollars at Powell's on a trip to Portland back in October, and started it soon after; I think it took so long to finish because reading it felt like work, or perhaps homework (although I was a history major at college I'm uncertain whether I read him then in my poor excuse for an American history curriculum*). Or maybe it was the interminable circularity of his points and Zagatian pathology of constructing prose not by synthesizing and summarizing but by hitching quotation ...more
Martha Smith
Nov 16, 2011 Martha Smith rated it really liked it
Shelves: us-history
One of the half dozen most important books ever written about the American Revolution. This 615 page book is no light read.
Mar 07, 2012 Chris rated it really liked it
Shelves: american-history
Heavy stuff Gordon. You must be a professor or something. But really, to get a sense of the ideological evolution of American politics before the Constitution was written, this might not be the best place to start. It's written for elitist post-graduates; you know, the kind of book that purposefully tries to confuse undergraduate perfectionists and drive them crazy, so they'll follow up the readings with an agonizing amount of research, score poorer on papers, and be more miserable in general. I ...more
Nigel Sellars
Aug 07, 2012 Nigel Sellars rated it it was amazing
I read this as part of my studying for the general exams I took for my doctorate in history. Wood does an incredible job of explaining what the founders' really believed and what the Constitution really means. Everyone should read this classic, especially those Tea Party types who need in a good lesson in what the original intent of the Founders actually was. Sobering, humbling, exhilarating, and stimulating--one of the best books I have ever read.
Jon Glazer
Jul 29, 2013 Jon Glazer rated it it was amazing
I read this book perhaps 20 years ago and it remains my favorite work of history. I particularly enjoyed the fact that Wood didn't limit his narrative solely to the political ideas that ultimately prevailed, but instead he gave ample time to competing strains of thought. His method necessarily leads to a slow-paced book, but ultimately it is much richer and satisfying.
Adel Salah
Adel Salah rated it really liked it
Feb 28, 2014
Jun 24, 2014 Matthew rated it it was ok
This was not a "book" so much as a collage of artfully strung together phrase-length quotations -- sort of like if you asked to guy who wrote the restaurant reviews for Zagats to write about the intellectual history of the American Revolution. "I liked the 'balance of power' and 'the lack of a hereditary aristocracy,' but the steak was 'overcooked' and the maitre d' refused to 'give voting rights to the Negroes.'" Each paragraph had its own footnote, and a standard one that I opened to randomly ...more
Matthew Dambro
Feb 04, 2015 Matthew Dambro rated it it was amazing
If you only read one book on the early American experience; this is the one. It is clear that Dr. Wood immersed himself in the primary sources. His analysis and synthesis of those primary documents is nothing short of phenomenal. His basic thesis is that American political thought underwent a sea change between the Revolution and the Constitution. He is spot on. From a blind acceptance of the "people" as able to govern themselves without limitations to an acknowledgement that the "people" could ...more
Suman007dutta rated it it was amazing
Jul 18, 2016
Ryan Welch
Mar 02, 2015 Ryan Welch rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Junaid Ahmed
Junaid Ahmed rated it it was ok
Jun 26, 2015
One of the seminal works on the American Revolutionary era. Wood attempts to refute previous scholarship which focused primarily on the economics of the era, giving emphasis to the role of ideas and public conceptions of politics and the role of government.
Shahjahan rated it did not like it
Nov 30, 2015
May 21, 2016 JimZ rated it it was amazing
In depth history of the approx. decade from independence to adoption of the Constitution. A classic!
Aug 10, 2016 Ron rated it it was amazing
Sweeping, lucid, and magnificent, but not for the faint of heart. I read every page of this 615-page behemoth, and I feel like I deserve a cookie. This is an intellectual history of the evolution of the ideas that were debated and thrown into the blender of the Constitutional Convention. Why is there a Senate? Is the Senate meant to be a body populated by a natural aristocracy of the propertied and talented? Why isn't there just one legislative body? How can one generation of "the People" bind f ...more
Bryan Weynand
Bryan Weynand rated it it was amazing
Jul 18, 2016
Ben Hale
Ben Hale rated it really liked it
Aug 05, 2016
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Gordon S. Wood is Professor of History at Brown University. He received the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for History for The Radicalism of the American Revolution and the 1970 Bancroft Prize for The Creation of the American Republic, 1776-1787 .
More about Gordon S. Wood...

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