The Declaration of Independence in Historical Context


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American State Papers, Petitions, Proclamations, and Letters of the Delegates to the First National Congresses

Compiled, Edited, and Introduced by Barry Alan Shain

View Inside Format: Cloth
Price: $150.00
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Political science professor Barry Shain has collected 174 letters, papers, petitions, and proclamations from the years directly preceding the creation of the Declaration of Independence that challenge many of the dominant narratives that shape contemporary understanding of this all-important document. Rather than arising from strong philosophical convictions and a clearly perceived vision of the future, the Declaration, as these writings demonstrate, was more the result of chance occurrences and practical considerations, and reflective of a society less rebellion-minded and far more monarchically inclined than most Americans today have been taught to believe.
Barry Alan Shain is professor of political science and chair of the department at Colgate University.
“An impressive achievement and a valuable corrective to much of the scholarship on the political thought of the Revolution. This collection should be attractive to anyone teaching a class on the American Revolution; indeed, one could build a whole course around it.” --Craig Yirush, UCLA
“Shain’s book shines a new light on the central actors who played out their roles in the twelve-year drama that culminated in the Declaration of Independence. They were not natural-rights philosophers, but, with a handful of exceptions, a rather conservative assemblage of provincials who wanted nothing more than to bring back the good old days. The book is an important and challenging study, which future historians will have to reckon with.”—George McKenna, author of The Puritan Origins of American Patriotism

“Exhaustively edited and attractively presented . . . the book will stand as a lasting scholarly resource.”—Chronicles
ISBN: 9780300158748
Publication Date: August 5, 2014
784 pages, 7 x 10