Book Review of The Founding Conservatives

Prior to the American Revolution, thirteen Colonies were founded. Some colonies were founded based on economics, while others were founded on religious freedom. As time went on the Colonies developed different economies. ‘he New England Colonies had manufacturing industries, such as, shipbuilding; Middle colonies had fur exporting and manufacturing Industries, such as, Iron; Southern Colonies had plantation agriculture. By the eve of the American Revolution, most colonies were royal colonies, under the direct control of the King.According to David Lifer, “Of course, many other historical prisms offer insight into the Revolution as well.

America was divided by regional differences, western land claims, population sizes, gender, age, and race. All of these divisions should be and have been studied, and the fact this book focuses on one sort of conflict doesn’t mean others did not exist” (5). Reading this, I’m not sure what sort of conflict the author Is referring to.

You need to make the context for the quotation clear. What conflict does Lifer focus on? Prior to the American Revolution, Britain’s French and Indian War led to war debt.The British Parliament passed taxes on American Colonies to recover debt: the Sugar Act (Bibb Currency Act (1764), Stamp Act (Bibb Quartering Act (1765). Colonists protested and tension between England and America leading to distrust.

Then the parliament passed the Townsend Revenue Acts (1767), and sent Brutish troops In Boston (1768), leading to the Boston Massacre (1770). In Boston Harbor, American smugglers destroyed HAMS Gasped (1 772), to which Parliament responded by passing the Molasses Act (1773) and Tea Acts (1773).Colonist further protested with the Boston Tea Party Protest (1770). Again, the British Parliament passed more taxes: Coercive/lamentable Acts (1774). This prompts the American Founders as the First Continental Congress (1774) to meet in Philadelphia to discuss action and pass the Declaration of Rights. England declares American Colonies In rebellion and passes New England Restraining Act (1775). Most people learned that the American Founders were united in an independent effective government.

According to David Lifer, “in the years following World War II, American historians made a conscious decision to downplay any hint of strife among the Founding The American Founders were In the middle of a war, with economic crisis, radical ideas, and conflict over wealth, civil liberties, banks, and corporations. This was the American Revolution. According to Lifer, “the split between left and right remains one of the most important the idea that the founders were Just as politically divided as we are today holds a certain realistic appeal”(5).The Founders were split between conservatives and liberals. Traditionally, political liberalism supports federal rights, and environmental, trade, and business programs, and strong regulation. Traditionally, political conservatism supports capitalism, low taxes, and states rights over federal rights, and strong military, but oppose environmental, trade, and business regulation, and social conservatism purport personal responsibility and traditional Jude-Christian values. Today, people are split between two main political parties, Democrats and Republicans.

Modern Democrats are considered to be political and social liberals. Liberalism relates to both political and social liberalism. Today’s Democrats generally support pro-choice, LBS. rights, feminism, animal rights, strict gun control, and government run welfare, national healthcare, unemployment benefits, retirement benefits, and oppose regulated immigration, and the death penalty. Modern Republicans, are considered to be politically and socially conservative. Conservatism relates to both political and social conservatism.Today’s Republicans generally support pro-life, regulated immigration, the death penalty, but oppose LBS.

rights, feminism, animal rights, strict gun control, and government run welfare, unemployment benefits, retirement benefits, and national healthcare. In The Founding Conservatives: How A Group of Unsung Heroes Saved The American Revolution, as the main thesis of the book, David Lifer, states, “This book makes three main arguments. First, the founding conservatives saved the American Revolution… Second, the founding conservatives brought modern capitalism o America..

.And third, we should no longer look to Britain for the origins of American conservatism” (6). Good identification of the book’s thesis. This book takes a close look at the role of the Founding Conservatives who believed in capitalism, including environmental, trade, and business-free of regulation, strong military, and low taxes. Lifer argues that conservatives, such as, John Dickinson (Pennsylvania-Delaware), James Wilson (Pennsylvania), Sills Deane(Connecticut), Robert Morris (Pennsylvania), John Jay (New York), John Rutledge (South Carolina), James Duane(New York), Robert Livingston(New York), Edward Rutledge(SouthCarolina), Edmund Randolph (Virginia), Carter Brannon (Virginia), and Governed Morris (New York) helped save the American Revolution. Expand here. How did they save the revolution? The author, David Lifer, is a historian and professor at the New York University Polytechnic Institute.

Most of the books sources are secondary. The sources include other historians, such as Samuel Eliot Morison, Leonard Labret, David Hackett Fischer, Richard Hovercrafts, Alfred Young, Edward Countryman, Gary Nash, Clinton Roister, Edwin Burrows, and Mike Wallace to convey his argument. For example,Samuel Eliot Morison believed that the Fort Wilson Riot would be the equivalent to would have changed if conservatives were not involved (2). Lifer also, uses primary sources to show what the American Founding conservatives believed in their own words. John Dickinson said, “Bribery is so common” in England and the colonies (22). As a historian, Lifer uses a variety of sources to back up his argument, but left out any counter-claims. The Founding Conservatives: How A Group of Unsung Heroes Saved the American Revolution is biased, focusing mainly on one founding conservative-John Dickinson and his actions, during the American Revolution.

John Dickinson helped draft the Articles of Confederation. Chapter 2: “None Shall Make Them Afraid,” describes the life of John Dickinson before the American Revolution. As a child, he grew-up on a Delaware plantation and who studied law in England, but as an adult he became interested in public service. Additionally, Chapter 3: “The Rise of Radicalism” describes the Boston Tea Party. Americans were divided after the Boston Tea Party. John Adams championed the Boston Tea Party, while Benjamin Franklin rejected it.John Dickinson, like many Americans, was outraged by England’s reaction to the Boston Tea Party.

While Quakers and rich merchants were uninterested in helping Massachusetts, while poor artisans supported Massachusetts. Radicals looked to Dickinson to help and he agreed (40). Chapter 24, “We the People” ends with John Dickinson refusing to sign the Declaration of Independence and George Read signing for him (323). Lifer uses John Dickinson as the main conservative that influenced the other conservatives.David Lifer’s argument that the “founding conservatives saved the American Revolution” is unconvincing (6). Good analysis of the text. Lifer argues that the American Independence war effort was poor and the radicals wanted a fast independence.

David Lifer argues that Philip Schuler (New York) lead to the American Victory in the Battle of Saratoga in New York and John Rutledge (South Carolina), who rallied the army after the British had won in South Carolina. The Battle of Saratoga is seen as the turning point of the American Revolution. The conservatives responded by focusing on the war effort.They stabilized the economy, focused on the economy, and got help from France. Robert Morris (Pennsylvania) financed the American Revolution and Sills Deane (Connecticut) helped America obtain aid from France. Additionally, he argues that Robert Morris (Pennsylvania) wrote most of the Constitution, including “We the People” (317). Most people learn that the Constitution is mostly a group effort of John Rutledge (South Carolina), Edmund Randolph (Virginia), Nathaniel Gorham (Massachusetts), Oliver Ellsworth (Connecticut), James Wilson (Pennsylvania), William S.

Johnson (Connecticut), Alexander Hamilton (New York), James Madison (Virginia), Rufus King (Massachusetts), and Governed Morris (New York) (The National Archives). Yes – I would be interested to know how he supports his claims. David Lifer’s argument that “we should no longer look to Britain for the origins of American conservatism” is unconvincing (6). Chapter 1, “Court and Country,” begins absolute power. Parliament rebelled and King Charles I was executed. People considered King Charles I a tyrant not a king, because a king would share power between the people.Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector, wiped out resistance, and later, monarchy was restored under, Charles II (Charles Xi’s son).

King Charles II did not do much for England. Then King James II (Charles Sis’s brother) came to power and tried to do the same thing as Charles l. William of Orange took over with the Parliament’s help and brought capitalism to England. Here is where two parties, Whig (supported republicanism) and Tories (supported the King) fought in Parliament. Eventually, Whig won, but split between Country (radicals) and Court (conservatives).The Court Whig won in Parliament, but although, the Country Whig never won, but they influenced America (19). Lifer does state that most people believe that Edmund Burke did not establish American conservatism, but the American Founding Fathers did years before(130).

Lifer’s argument is invalid, because most of the American Founding Fathers were Whig, and later Patriots. However, American Founding conservatives did, use ideas like separation of church and state, and focused on the everyday citizen, which was different from British conservatism.This is a good point, except if you see figures like Hamilton or Washington as conservatives – they tended to focus more on the elite. Lifer’s argument that the “founding conservatives brought modern capitalism to America” is convincing(6). Although, William of Orange, the Dutch-English King brought capitalism to England and England brought capitalism to America, American fatalism is different. Lifer means modern capitalism is not only profit making, but banking, corporations, and large-scale industry, and that the conservatives brought that to America.Robert Morris financed the American Revolution and founded the first bank in America.

Morris, like most Founding Fathers, believed in independence, because England had denied them property rights. Although, most of David Lifer’s arguments are void, he did use a great amount of primary and secondary research. However, his book was biased and he mostly focused on John Dickinson. The Founding Conservatives: How A Group of Unsung Heroes Saved the American Revolution does give an in-depth look into different issues surrounding the American Revolution.

Related Post