By Eliga H. Gould. ISBN 13: 978-0674046085. Copyright 2012. Hardcover with 344 pages, including notes and index, plus 29 pages of black and white maps and illustrations.
Finalist for the 2013 George Washington Book Prize.
For most Americans, the Revolution’s main achievement is summed up by the phrase “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Yet far from a straightforward attempt to be free of Old World laws and customs, the American founding was also a bid for inclusion in the community of nations as it existed in 1776. America aspired to diplomatic recognition under international law and the authority to become a colonizing power itself.
In this reappraisal of the American Revolution, Eliga Gould argues that the Revolution was an international transformation of the first importance. To conform to the public law of Europe’s imperial powers, Americans crafted a union nearly as centralized as the one they had overthrown, enduring taxes heavier than any they had faced as British colonists, and remained entangled with European Atlantic empires long after the Revolution ended.