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Program in British Studies

‘The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution Revisited’

James Vaughn (HISTORY)

Fri, April 11, 2014 | Tom Lea Rooms, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center 3.206

2:45 PM - 4:30 PM

What were the political and ideological origins of the American Revolution?  Historians and social scientists disagree on whether the outbreak of the Revolution was essentially conservative or radical in nature and scope.  Was 1776 a defense of traditional colonial liberties against the threat posed by British ministers creating a centralized empire, or was it an innovative assertion of rights by a more democratic North American society sundering its ties with Britain’s Ancien Régime?   James Vaughn will argue that it was a worldwide conflict over the shape and evolution of Britain’s imperial state, pitting radicals and reformers against conservatives and reactionaries from Boston to Bristol to Bombay.  The American Revolution was a radical solution to the global crisis of the British Empire.
James M. Vaughn is an historian of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Britain and the British Empire.  His first book, The Politics of Empire from Cromwell to Clive: The East India Company and the Rise and Transformation of Britain’s Imperial State, 1650-1780, will be published by Yale University Press in 2015.

Sponsored by: Faculty Seminar on British Studies

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