Origin of the American Revolution is the first of Bernhard Knollenberg’s two-part history concerning the basis of the conflict between England and its North American colonies from 1759 to 1766.
This compact narrative history, written more than a generation ago, has been widely unavailable, until now. Liberty Fund has made this rich historical treasure available once again to an eager audience of scholars, students, and interested lay readers.
In this first volume, Origin of the American Revolution, Knollenberg knits together the most important and coincident prerequisite conditions that made the colonial break with England inevitable. The book is in great measure a work of imperial history, in that it views the advent of the American Revolution within the context of the first British Empire. In this context, Knollenberg views the movement toward independence as the failure of the British to solve the problem of empire.
Although Knollenberg does not primarily deal with intellectual history, he describes the basic divergence in political principles between England and its North American colonies. In keeping with the style of the time in which he wrote, Knollenberg stresses politics and economics over social and cultural history.
Origin of the American Revolution provides a concise treatment of a time period crucial to the making of the American nation. Knollenberg is one of the first historians to move the Anglo-American dispute back in time, and his work throughout is deeply researched and clearly and engagingly written.
Bernhard Knollenberg practiced law for twenty-two years in New York City before leaving to direct the Yale University Library in 1938. He was the senior deputy administrator of the United States Lend-Lease Administration in Washington, D.C., and later a Division Deputy in the O.S.S., during World War II. Thereafter, he dedicated his time to historical research and writing about the American Revolution. He is also the author of Washington and the Revolution; Pioneering Sketches of the Upper Whitewater Valley: Quaker Stronghold of the West; and Franklin, Jonathan Williams, and William Pitt. Bernhard Knollenberg died in 1973.
Bernard W. Sheehan is Professor emeritus of history at Indiana University and past editor of the Indiana Magazine of History.