Common Sense Essay

The American Revolution is all too often confused with the War for Independence.As John Adams noted in a letter of 1815 to Thomas Jefferson, “What do we mean by the Revolution? That was no part of the Revolution; it was only an effect and consequence of it.

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To what extent does the extension of protection of the sort offered by the British armies obligate the protected?

• What is the distinction between resistance to unjust authority and active revolution seeking to overturn unjust authority?

The most enduring legacy of the American Revolution is the attempt to establish a system of individual liberty and limited government governed by law—a system consistent with the nature of human beings as moral agents with inalienable rights.

That effort has been an inspiration to lovers of liberty all around the globe.

Still one thing more, fellow citizens—a wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. Mayer, (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1995).

This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicities”). A distinguished historian neatly explains such matters as the philosophical antecedents to the Declaration, the principles of natural law, and the then-current theory of the British Empire and offers a careful examination of the rhetoric and language of the Declaration itself. This book examines Jefferson’s views on the fundamental constitutional questions about the relationship of the individual to government, the states to the federal government, and more.A distinguished American historian examines in great detail the intellectual background of the American Revolution.John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon, , edited and annotated by Ronald Hamowy (Indianapolis: Liberty Classics, 1995).Readings to Accompany The Audio From : Declarations of the Stamp Act Congress (1765) (pp. Some Problems to Ponder & Discuss• To what extent were the American revolutionaries defending a tradition of liberty and constitutionalism against encroaching absolutism, and to what extent were they introducing and implementing new principles?47-50), Declaration of the First Continental Congress (1774) (pp. • Were the colonists of British America being “ungrateful” for the protection offered them by the British Empire during, for example, the French and Indian Wars?The Revolution was in the minds of the people, and this was effected, from 1760 to 1775, in the course of fifteen years before a drop of blood was drawn at Lexington.The records of thirteen legislatures, the pamphlets, newspapers in all the colonies, ought to be consulted during that period to ascertain the steps by which the public opinion was enlightened and informed concerning the authority of Parliament over the colonies.” This lesson examines the “Revolution in the minds of the people” that Adams described, focusing on Thomas Paine’s remarkably influential pamphlet , published in January 1776 and reprinted 25 times in the next year.It certainly hath no divinity in it.”The material in this module reveals the way in which the American experiment in liberty and limited government arose out of the intersection of libertarian moral and political philosophy and the political conflicts of the day, for example, the intersection of support for freedom of trade and attempts by the British government to impose mercantilist policies on the Americans in the interest of the British East Indies Company.A particularly important topic discussed in this module is the glaring contradiction between the claims to liberty and self-government made by the revolutionaries and the existence of the degrading practice of chattel slavery in many of the states.Peter Ackerman and Christopher Kruegler, (New York: Praeger, 1993).The authors offer a thoughtful and careful consideration of resistance theory, with well-developed case studies.


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