In one remarkable quarter-century, thirteen quarrelsome
colonies were transformed into a nation. Edmund S. Morgan's
classic account of the Revolutionary period shows how the
challenge of British taxation started the Americans on a
search for constitutional principles to protect their
freedom and eventually led to the Revolution.
Morgan demonstrates that these principles were not
abstract doctrines of political theory but grew instead out
of the immediate needs and experiences of the colonists.
They were held with passionate conviction, and incorporated,
finally, into the constitutions of the new American states
and of the United States.
Though the basic theme of the book and his assessment
of what the Revolution achieved remain the same, Morgan has
updated the revised edition of The Birth of the
Republic (1977) to include some textual and stylistic
changes as well as a substantial revision of the
Edmund S. Morgan is Sterling Professor of History emeritus
at Yale University. His many books include The Gentle
Puritan: A Life of Ezra Stiles; The Challenge of the
American Revolution; and Inventing the People: The
Rise of Popular Sovereignty in England and America.