Glorious Cause: The American Revolution Middlekauff, Robert. Book Review

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Glorious Cause: The American Revolution

Middlekauff, Robert. The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution. New York: Oxford University Press, 1982.

Robert Middlekauff, born in 1927 in Washington state, holds a B.A. from the University of Washington and a Ph.D. from Yale. He saw active duty as a lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps in Korea from 1952-54. For most of his long career he has been a professor of history at the University of California at Berkeley. In addition to The Glorious Cause (1982), his published books include Ancients and Axioms (1963), The Mathers (1971), and Benjamin Franklin and His Enemies (1996). Dr. Middlekauff received the Bancroft Prize in 1972 and the Commonwealth Gold Medal in 1983. He is listed as a historical educator in Who's Who in America where this biographical information was obtained.

This work, a narrative historical study of the American Revolution, and the first volume to appear in the Oxford History of the United States, reveals the complexities of the years between the signing of the treaty of Paris in 1763 and the election of George Washington in 1789. Although he does not intend his title to be ironic, the author recognizes that the cause of the American revolution "had its inglorious side, and the Americans' manner of advancing it was sometimes false to the great principles they espouse." (vii) Middlekauff's purpose is to present both the achievements and failures of the American revolution. His thesis is that our patriots and revolutionaries were not perfect, yet in learning "to see things as they are and to imagine how they might be," (665) they created a vision, fought for noble causes, endured their own imperfections and created the foundations for our country.

Through the work of this scholar the reader learns that the road to liberty was not as swift or smooth as we may have learned in high school history. He leads up to the Revolution with Jennifer Hartley-2

Dr. Jones detail that is exciting and fresh compared to most historical works. The importance of the Seven Years' War, to Britain's later tactics is illuminating. The author reveals how colonists carried the burden of the fighting against the French in North America, expecting to be permitted to return to self-government at the end of the war. Britain's new King and Parliament, however, had a fresh awareness of the potential for wealth to be found in the American colonies. The extensive details of British debate over colonial issues offers insightful background, making it clear how the British came up with those objectionable tax laws to which the colonists, with their ideals of democracy and liberty, just had to rebel. The evolution of the details of that rebellion, first political, and finally, through violence, is superbly presented by Middlekauff.

As Middlekauff examines the causes of the war, the reader feels the…

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