December 16, 2005

Tea Time

Boston Tea Party.gif

Today is the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party in 1773.

It's entirely too bad that U.S. history classes rarely pay anything more than lip service to the Colonial Era, because without an understanding of that period, it strikes me that one could not possibly understand the whys and wherefores of the Revolutionary times that followed. I think to the extent anybody actually gives it any thought, there's an assumption that the various issues were black and white and the Revolution was inevitable. But this simply isn't the case.

To that end, I've really been engrossed in Fred Anderson's Crucible of War: The Seven Years' War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754-1766. While Anderson doesn't go into as much detail about the actual fighting of the French & Indian War as does Francis Parkman in his Montcalm and Wolfe: The French and Indian War, he nonetheless does a very good job tracking the relationships between the Colonies and the Crown, looking at the ways in which assumptions, attitudes and expectations formed, developed and hardened. He also takes the time to focus not just on Britain's North American interests, but to place them in the wider context of Britain's international dealings at the time.

(And just to show how I'm starting to seriously geek out on the period, I've tossed White Savage: William Johnson and the Invention of America by Fintan O'Toole into my Amazon gimme list on the basis of Steve-O's recommendation the other day.)

Posted by Robert at December 16, 2005 04:38 PM | TrackBack

I realize it's been a while since I was in high school, but in the two years of US history I had then, *we* never got anywhere past the writing of the Constitution ourselves (of course, for both those years, we also had a monomaniacal teacher who could fly off on extended rants about Crispus Attucks with very little student provocation required...)

Posted by: LDH at December 17, 2005 12:26 AM

Fred Anderson was my MA advisor at CU-Boulder and there is perhaps no better book, of recent academic vintage, that exceeds his examination of the British Empire before the American Revolution than this.

Posted by: Michael at December 17, 2005 05:31 AM

A young George Washington gained valuable military experience commanding the Virginia Regiment in support of British General Braddock's campaigns during the Seven Year's War. The insight into British Army tactics learned during this time were later put to good use during the Revolution.

Posted by: KMR at December 17, 2005 11:55 AM