American Insurgents, American Patriots by T. H. Breen
The Revolution of the People

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American Insurgents, American Patriots¿¿¿ uses correspondence, diaries, outtakes from clergy sermons and newspaper reports to build a mosaic representation of the popular mood, and the escalating willingness to take up arms.
-LA Times

Synopsis

Before there could be a revolution, there was a rebellion; before patriots, there were insurgents. Challenging and displacing decades of received wisdom, T. H. Breen's strikingly original book explains how ordinary Americans—most of them members of farm families living in small communities—were drawn into a successful insurgency against imperial authority. This is the compelling story of our national political origins that most Americans do not know. It is a story of rumor, charity, vengeance, and restraint. American Insurgents, American Patriots reminds us that revolutions are violent events. They provoke passion and rage, a willingness to use violence to achieve political ends, a deep sense of betrayal, and a strong religious conviction that God expects an oppressed people to defend their rights. The American Revolution was no exception.

A few celebrated figures in the Continental Congress do not make for a revolution. It requires tens of thousands of ordinary men and women willing to sacrifice, kill, and be killed. Breen not only gives the history of these ordinary Americans but, drawing upon a wealth of rarely seen documents, restores their primacy to American independence. Mobilizing two years before the Declaration of Independence, American insurgents in all thirteen colonies concluded that resistance to British oppression required organized violence against the state. They channeled popular rage through elected committees of safety and observation, which before 1776 were the heart of American resistance. American Insurgents, American Patriots is the stunning account of their insurgency, without which there would have been no independent republic as we know it.

 

About T. H. Breen

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T. H. Breen is the William Smith Mason Professor of American History at Northwestern University. The author of several works of history, Breen has also written for The New York Times Magazine, the London Review of Books, The Times Literary Supplement, and The New York Times Book Review. He lives in Evanston, Illinois.
 
Published May 6, 2010 by Hill and Wang. 347 pages
Genres: History. Non-fiction
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LA Times

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Reviewed by ART WINSLOW on Aug 06 2014

American Insurgents, American Patriots¿¿¿ uses correspondence, diaries, outtakes from clergy sermons and newspaper reports to build a mosaic representation of the popular mood, and the escalating willingness to take up arms.

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