Multinational, profit-driven, materialistic, politically self-conscious, power-hungry, religiously plural: America three hundred years ago - and today. Here are Britain's mainland American colonies after 1680, in the process of becoming the first modern society - a society the earliest colonists never imagined, a "new order of the ages" that anticipated the American revolution, Jon Butler's panoramic view of the colonies in this epoch transforms our customary picture of pre-Revolutionary America. It reveals a strikingly "modern" character that belies the 18th century quaintness fixed in history. Stressing the middle and late decades (the hitherto "dark ages") of the American colonial experience, and emphasizing the importance of the middle and southern colonies as well as New England, this book shows us vast revolutionary changes before 1776 among a fantastically diverse assortment of peoples.
Here are polyglot populations of English, Indians, Africans, Scots, Germans, Swiss, and French; a society of small colonial cities with enormous urban complexities; an economy of prosperous farmers thrust into international market economies; peoples of immense wealth, a burgeoning middle class, and incredible poverty. Butler depicts settlers pursuing sophisticated provincial politics that ultimately sparked revolution and a new nation; developing new patterns in production, consumption, crafts, and trades that remade commerce at home and abroad; and fashioning a society remarkably pluralistic in religion, whose tolerance nonetheless did not extend to African or Indians. Here was a society that turned protest into revolution and made itself many times during the next centuries - a society that, for 90 years before 1776, was already becoming America.
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(235mm x 155mm x 22mm)
Harvard University Press
Publisher: Harvard University Press
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Author Biography - Jon Butler
Jon Butler is the William Robertson Coe Professor of American Studies and History, and Professor of Religious Studies, at Yale University.