Sample Book Review: The Birth of the Republic, 1763–89

Part 1: Thesis

Most populations believe that the American Revolution would not have occurred in the absence of the taxation policy that emerged after 1763. Edmund’s primary theme of the book is to support this claim. The author mentions that in the history of ancient America, the colonial parliamentary leaders did not embrace the idea of internal or external taxing of the colonists as a strategy for collecting money. However, in this claim, Edmund does not make an effort to present a two-sided view of the revolution.

The author, for instance, takes three chapters namely “Sugar and Stamps,” “Peace Without Honor,” and “Troops and Tea” to discuss parliamentary taxation. After his discussion, Edmund wants the reader to determine whether the colonists were looking for avenues to avoid the mandatory payment of taxes or there was some sincerity in their declarations of principle. Edmund writes that his book has established that “the colonists’ attachment to principle was genuine (Morgan 28). Edmund is clear that not all historians will embrace his theory as the gospel truth. However, he does not make an effort to address the opposing viewpoints in a satisfactory manner.

Edmund believes that the revolution was just a political rebel against England. However, he is of the opinion that the changes, as well as disputes experienced within the colonies, were necessary at the secondary level. Edmund goes on to point at the effects of the revolution on Americans. For instance, he argues that it was not responsible for causing division among the people, but it united “three million of cantankerous colonists into one nation” (Morgan, 46).

The rest of the book majors on the efforts to mold the new nation besides adopting state constitutions. Other topics covered include the Articles of Federation and the U.S. Constitution. Edmund pays much attention to discuss the role played by the Articles in the government’s achievements and uses similar energy to point at the shortfalls of the government. When Edmund explains Constitutional Convention, he looks down on the interpretation of Charles Beard. Edmund sees patriotism positively and argues that the public spirit portrayed by the convention members deserves recognition.

Part 2: Intervention

The Birth of the Republic, 1763–89 is a brief volume authored by Edmund Morgan that presents the history of the American republic between 1763 and 1789 in a version that is easy to comprehend. The book does not give the reader anything new about the revolutionary era. However, the fact that Edmund has made it a simple piece attracts more audience. The theme of the book appeals to the undergraduate students especially the ones studying survey courses. I feel that Edmund should have attempted to attract a more general audience.

Part 3: Historical Sources

Edmund did not consider the use of some footnotes which could have increased his books value. Further, Edmund uses a short bibliographical note that does not recognize other authors who contributed significantly to the creation of the book. For instance, he needed to mention people like A. C. McLaughlin, G. O. Trevelyan, and C. H. VanTyne.

Part 4: Critique

It is almost impossible to criticize the scholarship of Edmund. For instance, in The Stamp Act Crisis which he published before The Birth of the Republic, 1763–89, Edmund offers the reader a detailed analysis of parliamentary taxation and explains how the colonists received it. Even though he has repeated these theories in The Birth of the Republic, 1763–89, he has not given any elaboration. Maybe the editors denied Edmund the space to include this thoroughness. Edmund deserves credit for trying to discuss the 1763–89 period in a limited space. Moreover, Edmund has presented his opinions on the discussion topic in an excellent manner. It is an ideal publication for students and casual readers who embrace readings containing few details.


Works Cited

Morgan, Edmund S. “The Birth of the Republic, 1763-89, Fourth Edition.” Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press, 2013.