Geniuses many of the founders may have been, but their achievements in political analysis were built on a long and rich tradition of political writing.Scholars have acknowledged the indebtedness of the founders to the great British and European legal and political writers, Edward Coke, John Locke, James Harrington, John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon, Frances Hutchinson, David Hume, William Blackstone, and Baron Montesquieu, to name only the most prominent.3 What has largely escaped systematic analysis, however, is the rich and extensive political literature produced in and about colonial British America during the century the American Revolution.
Geniuses many of the founders may have been, but their achievements in political analysis were built on a long and rich tradition of political writing.Scholars have acknowledged the indebtedness of the founders to the great British and European legal and political writers, Edward Coke, John Locke, James Harrington, John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon, Frances Hutchinson, David Hume, William Blackstone, and Baron Montesquieu, to name only the most prominent.3 What has largely escaped systematic analysis, however, is the rich and extensive political literature produced in and about colonial British America during the century the American Revolution.Tags: To His Coy Mistress Essay AnalysisEssay FreeA Research PaperEssay On Compare And Contrast Two PeopleWebsite Within A Research PaperWhat Are The Types Of Essays
Because of the ephemeral character of this literature and because it was not associated with a founding national moment, scholars have remained mostly unaware of it.
The obscurity of this literature has meant that an important body of English political writing has been largely ignored.
In this discussion, apologists for settler resistance widely condemned the Crown’s use of prerogative power to stifle or curtail traditional English liberties in the colonies, while their opponents depicted colonial uprisings as violations of the existing political order and invitations, not to liberty, but to licentiousness.
At the very heart of these discussions was the question of how English people organized into and living in polities so remote from the parent state could enjoy the traditional liberties of Englishmen, and settler protagonists manifested a powerful determination both to inscribe those liberties into their new polities and to resist any efforts to deprive them of their most valuable inheritance, as they often said, in paraphrase of Sir Edward Coke.
These included the vagaries of colonial justice, abuses of judicial and executive power, the ambiguity of colonial constitutions, the sanctity of colonial charters, the persecution of religious dissenters, the limits and responsibilities of proprietary government, freedom of the press, the enslavement of blacks, the desirability of balanced government, the privileges and powers of colonial legislatures, the efforts of power-seeking politicians to monopolize power, the entitlement of colonial settlers to English laws, and appropriate strategies for economic development.
Mostly arising out of local crises, the conflicts over these issues generated a large literature, including formal political tracts, published speeches from legislative debates, political satires, grand jury charges, election tracts and sermons, accounts of political trials, and many other genres.At the same time, a significant number of authors in the colonies (many, but not all of them government officials) took the side of the metropolis, defending it against the defiance of colonial protagonists and their alleged encroachments upon metropolitan authority.During the eight decades following the Glorious Revolution, the same question arose repeatedly, connected to a wide variety of issues. The copyright to this edition, in both print and electronic forms, is held by Liberty Fund, Inc. collection which presents a rich and extensive selection of the political literature produced in and about colonial British America during the century before the American Revolution (1687-1774). “A Sincere Lover of Virginia” [Sir William Gooch], A Dialogue (Williamsburg, 1732).In 1721, Jeremiah Dummer’s (Selection 20) brilliantly argued the colonial case for the sanctity of the charters on which the governments of several of the colonies depended for their immediate legal foundations.Later in the same decade, in (Selection 26), the Maryland lawyer and recent Irish emigrant Daniel Dulany used English jurisprudential thought and natural rights theory to fashion an effective case for the entitlement of Marylanders to the laws and liberties of Englishmen, a subject also canvassed with enormous learning in two New York pamphlets of 1734: William Smith, (Selection 41), Maryland’s only newspaper, subjected that colony’s constitution to an elaborate examination in which they explored in detail the relationship between balanced government and liberty and debated the concept of fundamental law.Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pensilvania, New-Jersey, New-York, Connecticut, and Rhode-Island: Of Aquanishuonigy the country of the Confederate Indians comprehending Aquanishuonigy proper, their places of residence, Ohio and Tuchsochruntie their deer hunting countries, Couchsachrage and Skaniadarade, their beaver hunting countries, of the Lakes Erie, Ontario, and Champlain, . All rights reserved Printed in the United States of America 17 18 19 20 21 22 Names: Greene, Jack P., editor. Title: Exploring the bounds of liberty : political writings of colonial British America from the Glorious Revolution to the American Revolution / edited by Jack P. The most important of these writings have long been accessible to scholars, many of the principal pamphlets and newspaper writings of the Revolutionary era having been included in the collection edited by Charles Hyneman and Donald Lutz and published by Liberty Fund nearly three decades ago.1 Several other important collections have republished many of the significant writings for and against the Federal Constitution of 1787.2 As it has become more widely and easily available and thus familiar to more scholars, this literature has elicited considerable scholarly respect for its political precociousness, learning, and sophistication as well as for its relevance to the ongoing project, so central to the history of the West, of defining the nature of civil liberty and determining how best to cultivate and maintain it.Yet, the impression remains that this literature somehow sprang, phoenix-like, out of the heads of geniuses, the revered founding fathers of the Revolutionary generation.Already by the 1670s, colonial spokespersons were producing formal writings about political questions, a few of them published in New England, which had the only printing presses then in English America, but most of them published in London.Throughout the colonial era, colonials and metropolitans concerned with colonial questions continued to publish their political writings in London or elsewhere in Britain.