The Colonial Merchants and the American Revolution The Colonial Merchants and the American Revolution
By Arthur Meier Schlesinger
2001/10 - Beard Books
1587981084 - Paperback - Reprint -  648 pp.

This scholarly monograph makes a significant contribution to the history of the American Revolution and is an excellent example of the modern school of historical research.

Publisher Comments

Category: History

Of Interest:

Early Financial History of the United States

Financial History of the United States

Robert Morris: The Financier and the Finances of the American Revolution

The Civil War and the Constitution: 1859-1865

This engrossing study focuses on the role played by colonial merchants in bringing about the separation of the 13 colonies from the mother country. Their most distinctive activity was the formation of non-intercourse agreements--covered extensively in this book because of their influence on the development of the revolutionary sentiment. It is a significant contribution to the history of the American Revolution.

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Arthur Meier Schlesinger (1888-1965) was a foremost American historian. Born in  Xenia, Ohio, he became a professor of history at Harvard (1924-54) after teaching at Ohio State University and the State University of Iowa. In 1928 became an editor of the New England Quarterly. His well-known works in the field of colonial history include The Colonial Merchants and the American Revolution, 1763-1776 (1918) and Prelude to Independence: The Newspaper War on Britain, 1764-1776 (1958). He is also known for his interest in the interpretation of social history, as in The Rise of the City, 1878-1898 (1933) and Political and Social Growth of the American People, 1865-1940 (1941). His other books include New Viewpoints in American History (1922), essays on American historiography. With Dixon Ryan Fox he edited the "History of American Life series (13 vol., 1927-48), which remains a valuable examination of U.S. social and cultural life.

Chapter I
The Old Order Changeth

Effects of British commercial and financial supervision on the colonies. 15
Economy of commercial provinces. 22
Dominance of merchant class in commercial provinces. 27
Economy of plantation provinces. 32
Leadership of planting class in plantation provinces. 34
Survey of colonial smuggling to 1763 39
Chapter II
The First Contest for Commercial Reform (1764-1766)
Restrictive acts of 1764 50
Sectionalization of discontent 54
First stage of industrial depression 56
Beginning of organized opposition on part of merchants 59
Broadening the basis of protest 62
Early movement for retrenchment in commercial provinces 63
Stamp Act (1765) and its economic burden 65
Popular demonstration in commercial provinces 71
Contrast with plantation provinces 73
Union of commercial and plantation provinces in Stamp Act Congress 75
Organized efforts for economic relief in commercial provinces 76
Remedial Legislation of Parliament (1766) 82
Chapter III
The Second Movement for Commercial Reform (1767-1770)
Position of merchant class early in 1767 91
Townshead legislation (1767) 93
General modes of opposition 96
Opposition to regulations against smuggling (1767-1770) 97
General character of non-importation movement 105
New England town movement for non-consumption (October, 1767 - February, 1768) 106
Efforts for a tri-city mercantile league of non-importation (March - June, 1768) 113
Independent boycott agreements in chief trading towns (August, 1768 - March, 1769) 120
Attempt to extend scope of mercantile agreements (October, 1769) 131
Non-importation movement in plantation provinces 134
In Virginia 135
In Maryland 138
In South Carolina 140
In Georgia 147
In North Carolina 148
Boycott agreements in minor northern provinces 149
In Delaware 149
In New Jersey 150
In Connecticut 150
In Rhode Island 152
In New Hampshire 155
Chapter IV
Enforcement and Breakdown of Non-Importation (1768-1770)
Difficulties of judging execution of non-importation 156
Enforcement at Boston 156
Enforcement at New York 186
Enforcement at Philadelphia 191
Enforcement in other northern provinces 194
Accession of New Hampshire to non-importation 194
Uncandid course of Rhode Island 195
Enforcement in Delaware, New Jersey and Connecticut 196
Chapter V
Enforcement and Breakdown of Non-Importation (Continued.)
Operation of non-importation in plantation provinces 197
Situation in Virginia 198
Situation in Maryland 199
Enforcement in South Carolina 202
Enforcement in North Carolina 208
Early defection of Georgia 209
General trend toward relaxation of non importation 209
Movement of great trading towns to terminate non-importation (April - October, 1770) 217
Collapse of non-importation in planatation provinces (October, 1770 - July 1771) 233
Coercive effects of non-importation in England 236
Chapter VI
Colonial Prosperity and a New Peril (1770-1773)
Alienation of merchant class from radicals 240
Return of prosperity 241
Widespread acquiescence in tea duty 244
Continuance of smuggling 246
Attempt of radicals to revive agitation (November, 1772 - July 1773) 253
Cause for renewal of opposition: tea act of 1773 262
Analysis of literature of protest 265
Chapter VII
The Struggle With the East India Company (1773-1774)
Inauguration of movement of opposition at Philadelphia 279
Development of Boston oppositions to tea shipments 281
Course of opposition at Philadelphia 290
Course of opposition at New York 291
Course of opposition at Charleston 294
Effect of Boston Tea Party on colonial opinion 298
Chapter VIII
Contest of Merchants and Radicals for Dominance in the Commercial Provinces (March - August, 1774)
Passage of coercive acts of 1774 305
Effect of coercive acts on American opinion 306
Movement in commercial provinces for non-intercourse 311
In New England 311
In New York 327
In Pennsylvania 341
In New Jersey 356
In Delaware 357
Chapter IX
Contest of Merchants and Radicals for Dominance in the Plantation Provinces (May -- October, 1774)
Factors conditioning the non-intercourse movement in plantation provinces 359
Action of Maryland 360
Measures of Virginia 362
Attitude of North Carolina 370
Course of South Carolina 373
Backwardness of Georgia 379
Indications of rising tide of radicalism in British America 386
Combination of workingmen at Boston and New York against Gage 386
Destruction of the Peggy Stewart in Annapolis 388
Chapter X
The Adoption of the Continental Association (November 1775 - June, 1775)
Genesis of First Continental Congress 393
Factors determining the policy of Congress 396
Proceedings of First Continental Congress 410
Chapter XI
Ratification of the Continental Association (Novemeber, 1774 - June 1775)
Position of moderates after First Continental Congress 432
Literature of protest 435
Establishment of Association in commercial provinces 440
In Massachusetts 440
In New Hampshire 442
In Rhode Island 444
In Connecticut 444
In New York 447
In New Jersey 455
In Pennsylvania 456
In Delaware 460
Establishment of Association in plantation provinces 460
In Maryland 461
In Virginia 461
In North Carolina 462
In South Carolina 464
Failure of Georgia to ratify 469
Chapter XII
Five Months of the Association in the Commercial Provinces (December, 1774 - April 1775)
General conditions affecting operation of Association 473
Workings of Association in Massachusetts 476
Workings of Association in New Hampshire 483
Workings of Association in Rhode Island 485
Workings of Association in Connecticut 486
Workings of Association in New York 489
Workings of Association in New Jersey 493
Workings of Association in Pennsylvania 495
Workings of Association in Delaware 502
Chapter XIII
Five Months of the Association in the Plantation Provinces General Conclusions
Contrast with commercial provinces 504
Workings of Association in Maryland 504
Workings of Association in Virginia 509
Workings of Association in North Carolina 519
Workings of Association in South Carolina 525
Employment of provincial boycott 529
Regulation of coastwise trade 534
General conclusions as to non-importation regulation in all provinces 535
Effects of Continental Association on Great Britain 536
Chapter XIV
Transformation of the Association (April, 1775 - July, 1776)
Cause of transformation of Continental Association 541
Widespread adoption of defense associations 542
Belated accession of Georgia to Continental Association 546
Changing functions of committees of observation 552
Early adoption of non-exportation for military purposes 559
Modifications in Continental Association made by Second Continental Congress 563
Advent of non-exportation 570
Chapter XV
Transformation of the Association (Continued)
Nullification of acts of navigation and trade 576
Relaxation of tea non-consumption 581
Removal of restraint on prices 584
Merchant class and the supreme decision 591
Appendix 607
Bibliography 614
Index 631

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