A Struggle for Power: The American Revolution

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Date: Spring 1997
From: Independent Review(Vol. 1, Issue 4)
Publisher: Independent Institute
Document Type: Book review
Length: 922 words

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By Theodore Draper

New York: Times Books, 1996. Pp. xiv, 544. $35.00 cloth, $17.00 paper.

Theodore Draper has a well-deserved reputation for producing excellent histories. He received the Herbert Feis Award for Nonacademically Affiliated Historians in 1990 from the American Historical Association, an indication not only of the quality of his work but also of the depth of his dedication. (You'd better keep your day job to support that type of interest.) His portrayal of the cause of the American Revolution will maintain his fine reputation.

There is no shortage of accounts of the coming of the American Revolution, so one wonders what value might be added by yet one more. Draper develops a new slant on one of the major interpretations of the cause of the Revolution, often called the neowhig thesis. That line of argument sees the war as provoked by the British attempt to gain control over the Americans, who had carved out de facto independence while left to their own devices during the colonial era. Draper views the contest as one between the Americans struggling to maintain control over their affairs and the British seeking to reassert control for their own imperial purposes.

All historical accounts are premised on some conceptual framework, whether their authors acknowledge it or not. Sadly, many historians who deny that they are "captive to narrow constructs" but rather "choose the method...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A19918189