The essays in Empire and Nation challenge facile assumptions about the "exceptional" character of the republic's founding moment, even as they invite readers to think anew about the complex ways in which the Revolution reshaped both American society and the Atlantic world.
How did events and ideas from elsewhere in the British empire influence development in the thirteen American colonies? And what was the effect of the American Revolution on the wider Atlantic world? In Empire and Nation, leading historians reconsider the American Revolution as a transnational event, with many sources and momentous implications for Ireland, Africa, the West Indies, Canada, and Britain itself.
The opening section of the book situates the origins of the American Revolution in the commercial, ethnic, and political ferment that characterized Britain's Atlantic empire at the close of the Seven Years' War. The empire experienced extraordinary changes, ranging from the first stirrings of nationalism in Ireland to the dramatic expansion of British rule in Canada, Africa, and India. The second part focuses on the rebellion of the thirteen colonies, touching on slavery and ethnicity, the changing nature of religious faith, and ideas about civil society and political organization. Finally, contributors examine the changes wrought by the American Revolution both within Britain's remaining imperial possessions and among the other states in the emerging "concert of Europe."