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What was the sequence of events that lead from the landing of the Mayflower at Plymouth rock to the Declaration of Independence?

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βˆ™ 2011-09-13 16:46:27

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The Foundation of Colonial AmericaI can only answer with two chapter summaries of my book The Never Realized Republic: Political Economy and Republican Virtue. These two chapter summaries appear on and are inclusive of footnotes. If you link to my book on Amazon more chapter summaries will be appearing. Here is the link, just copy and paste into browser:

Chapter II: European Heritage and Civil Government:The Virtues of Custom, Law, and Liberty, would be a great help to your question but I can't get the footnotes in because I have to copy them one at a time. Good Luck!

Chapter I

The Foundation of Colonial America:

Perpetuating Freedom and Justice

Introducing the reader to concepts of law and liberty brought to the mainland American Colonies, Chapter I introduces principles of liberty and justice that were peculiarly English . It provides an overview of demographics for the colonies, i.e., North and South being essentially English with the middle colonies representing western Europe.

Chapter I also references colonial charters as legal and binding documents, that were the recognition not the source of English liberty. By the time the colonies had been established, with their civil government, and societies, there was a foundation of law. English laws were English, but the colonists were immersed in classical education, and "learning was respected by many of those who wanted no part of it themselves."1

It is here we introduce Hamilton�s views referencing colonial charters as he began to enter the world�s stage as an advocate for (colonial) Americans. "...besides the clear voice of natural justice in this respect, the fundamental principles of the English Constitution are in our favor."2 "In British North America, however, Englishmen ruled over Englishmen according to English principles, and this fact helps to explain the unique political, social, and economic developments that shaped the future American republic."3


1Marvin Meyers, eds., et al., Sources of the American Republic: A Documentary History of Politics, Society, and Thought; rev.ed., (Glenview, Ill: Scott Foresman and Co., 1967), Vol. 1, Doc. #37, 108. Hereinafter cited as Meyers, eds., et al., Sources of the American Republic.

2Alexander Hamilton,, A Full Vindication of the Measures of the Congress, &c. New-York [December 15] 1774, in Harold C. Syrett and Jacob E. Cooke, eds., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, (New York: Columbia University Press, 1961), I, 47. Hereinafter cited as Syrett and Cooke, eds., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton.

3Meyers, eds., et al., Sources of the American Republic. Vol. 1, 7.


Chapter III

Revolution, Confederation and the Constitution:

Social Progress and Civil Government

Chapter III does not by-pass the American Revolution. It is here we turn from foundation and principle to introducing polity. The Revolution is central to the theme as a cause and motivation, not an historical event. The reader is brought directly to the Constitutional Convention as means to explain in Montesquieu�s words, "There is this difference between the nature and principle of government, that the former is that by which it is constituted, the latter that by which it is made to act. One is its particular structure, and the other the human passions which set it into motion."1

The foundation of the federal Constitution is demonstrated as an on-going development, attempting to preserve the principles of European heritage, the Declaration of Independence, and the Articles of the Confederation. Here we begin to demonstrate Alexander Hamilton�s private and public vision for the American Empire that was intended to replace England�s supremacy.

America�s revolution was a lawful and legitimate one. As the Articles of Confederation and its central government failed to maintain the requisite fiscal policies that would maintain government which maintains liberty, taxation and other "extraction policies" were imperative in strengthening the "central state apparatus."2

What was the "traditional republican heritage that Hamilton had so successfully discarded."? Why was the traditional republican heritage credited as "so heavily [influencing] the Revolutionary mind."?3 Liberty was central to that republican heritage and central to the purpose of government as well. Moreover, increased political participation was central to the colonists� perception of active citizenship and it was this participation that refused to allow them to become, in Hamilton�s words, "vassals of their fellow subjects in Great Britain."4

In the Constitutional Convention, classical and modern wisdom prevailed. The foundation of this wisdom, as discussed earlier, rested upon a faith in heritage, law, and education that clothed its principles in the dire hopes for a fully realized and hybrid republic. Inasmuch as Hamilton�s and others� educations were cut short by the war,5 there were sages present at Philadelphia. The Revolutionary generation was certainly represented in those hallowed halls when Hamilton spoke eloquently of "our Country" and "that we owed it to our Country, to do on this emergency whatever we should deem essential to its happiness... The great question" he asked "is what provision shall make for the happiness of our Country?"6 It is an all too familiar maxim of Hamilton�s biographers that, to him, the British government was the best in the world. This Madison notes, was Hamilton�s "private opinion."

Hamilton was certainly a part of one of these groups. "Early interested in finance, he worked to secure from the states the power for Congress to levy an impost in order to secure a national income. The effort failed by 1783 and he then began working for a stronger union."7 Beard recognized Hamilton�s organizing ability and, though "he had little part in the formation of the Constitution, it was his organizing ability that made it a real instrument bottomed on all the substantial economic interests of the time."8

Yet the goals of the Revolution were still wanting. There were two major arenas in which political thought moved: the Age of Enlightenment and a growing sense of nationalism. British practices served more to reinforce this nationalism than to create a threat requiring protection.9 This growing nationalism was "inseparable from preserving the gains of the Revolution,"10 of which republican virtue; the desire to do good for the public good � was clearly an intended gain. "Happily for America, happily we trust for the whole human race, they [the Revolutionary generation] pursued a new and noble course."11

The means of this social progress, born of the potential of human progress of the founding father�s heritage and classical education, to the hopes of virtuous statesman for economic and social development, was realistic expectations accompanying the Revolutionary generation and their nearly realized republic.

The aggrandizing of government and the increase of a central authority to utilize and exploit those interests that were most "constant and active," seeking "attachment," through "the dispensation of those regular honors & emoluments,"12 is the subject of the remaining chapters.


1Charles De Secondat, Baron De Montesquieu, The Spirit of Laws, ed., Robert Maynard Hutchins, trans. Thomas Nugent, (Chicago: William Benton, 1748, 1952), Book III, sec. 1, 9.

2Dall Forsythe, Taxation and Political Change in the Young Nation, (New York: Columbia University Press, 1977), 14.

3Drew R. McCoy, The Elusive Republic: Political Economy in Jeffersonian America (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1980), 132.

4[Alexander Hamilton], A Full Vindication of the Measures of Congress...(N.Y., 1774), in Syrett and Cooke, eds., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, I, 53.

5Carl J. Richard, The Founders and the Classics: Greece, Rome, and the American Enlightenment, (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1994), 26.

6Notes of Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787, Reported by James Madison, with an Introduction by Adrienne Koch, (N.Y.: W.W. Norton & Co.), 130. 7Stanley D. Rose, "Alexander Hamilton and the Historians," Vanderbilt Law Review, II, (1958), 854.

8 Charles Beard, An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution, (New York: MacMillan, 1946), 100.

9Robert E. Brown, Charles Beard and the Constitution, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1956), 59.

10Frank Bourgin, The Great Challenge: The Myth of Laissez-faire in the Early Republic, (N.Y.: George Braziller), 33.

11The Federalist Papers, Clinton Rossiter, ed., (New York: Nal Penguin Inc., 1961), No. 14, 104.

12See Hamilton�s statements during the Constitutional Convention. One was a list of five "great & essential principles necessary for the support of government," and that number two was "the love of power. Men love power." Madison, Notes of the Debates in the Federal Convention, 131.

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