Bernard Bailyn

The most powerful presentations were based on legal precedents, especially Calvin’s Case (1608), which, it was claimed, proved on the authority of Coke and Bacon that subjects of the King are by no means necessarily subjects of Parliament.

“The most powerful presentations were based on legal precedents, especially Calvin’s Case (1608), which, it was claimed, proved on the authority of Coke and Bacon … Read More

What Americans were really objecting to had nothing to do with constitutional principles. their objection was not to Parliament’s constitutional right to levy certain kinds of taxes as opposed to others, but to its effort to collect any.

“What Americans were really objecting to had nothing to do with constitutional principles. their objection was not to Parliament’s constitutional right to levy certain kinds … Read More

The ideas that the colonists put forward, rather than creating a new condition of fact, expressed one that has long existed; they articulated and in so doing generalized, systematized, gave moral sanction to what had emerged haphazardly, incompletely and insensibly, from the chaotic factionalism of colonial politics.

“The ideas that the colonists put forward, rather than creating a new condition of fact, expressed one that has long existed; they articulated and in … Read More

Incorporating in their colorful, slashing, superbly readable pages, the major themes of the “left” opposition under Walpole, these libertarian tracts, emerging first in the form of denunciations of standing armies in the reign of William III, left an indelible imprint on the “country” mind everywhere in the English-speaking world.

“Incorporating in their colorful, slashing, superbly readable pages, the major themes of the “left” opposition under Walpole, these libertarian tracts, emerging first in the form … Read More

What were once felt to be defects-isolation, institutional simplicity, primitiveness of manners, multiplicity of religions, weaknesses in the authority of the state-could now be seen as virtues, not only by Americans themselves but by enlightened spokesmen of reform, renewal and hope wherever they may be-in London coffeehouses, in Parisian salons, in the courts of German princes.

“What were once felt to be defects-isolation, institutional simplicity, primitiveness of manners, multiplicity of religions, weaknesses in the authority of the state-could now be seen … Read More

In effect the people were present through their representatives, and were themselves, step by step and point by point, acting in the conduct of public affairs. No longer merely an ultimate check on government, they were in some sense the government.

“In effect the people were present through their representatives, and were themselves, step by step and point by point, acting in the conduct of public … Read More

Up and down the the still sparsely settled coast of British North America, groups of men-intellectuals and farmers, scholars and merchants, the learned and the ignorant-gathered for the purpose of constructing enlightened governments.

“Up and down the the still sparsely settled coast of British North America, groups of men-intellectuals and farmers, scholars and merchants, the learned and the … Read More

It was an elevating, transforming vision: a new, fresh, vigorous, and above all morally regenerate people rising from the obscurity to defend the battlements of liberty and then in triumph standing forth, heartening and sustaining the cause of freedom everywhere.

“It was an elevating, transforming vision: a new, fresh, vigorous, and above all morally regenerate people rising from the obscurity to defend the battlements of … Read More

Everyone knew that democracy – direct rule by all the people – required such spartan, soul-denying virtue on the part of all the people that it was likely to survive only where poverty made upright behavior necessary for the perpetuation of the race.

“Everyone knew that democracy – direct rule by all the people – required such spartan, soul-denying virtue on the part of all the people that … Read More

The categories within which the colonists thought about the social foundations of politics were inheritances from classical antiquity, reshaped by seventeenth century English thought.

“The categories within which the colonists thought about the social foundations of politics were inheritances from classical antiquity, reshaped by seventeenth century English thought.”   … Read More