The First Revolutions: In the Minds of the People (eBook)


More than three decades after America’s unlikely victory in its war for political independence, John Adams observed that, “the revolution was in the minds of the people” and was completed “… before a drop of blood was shed in Lexington.” Author James Thompson explains that this was far from true. In The First Revolution in the Minds of the People, Thompson shows that the largest part of America’s colonial population remained loyal to the British Monarchy and that Adams’s patriotic movement gained power not through enlightened appeals to the rights of man, but through the strategic use of public violence. It is likely, Thompson contends, that up to two thirds of American colonials were content to remain subjects of the English king and that they were bullied into silence by patriotic intimidation. The author goes on to consider the problem America’s founders faced after winning their independence: how would they preserve their enlightened new system of government against assaults by opponents who used the benighted political methods they had used to overthrow a legitimate majoritarian government?