The Glorious Cause, a short review

The history book, The Glorious Cause, by Prof. Robert Middlekauff is a thick, detailed examination of the American War of Independence. The book tries to layout the details of the war, plus the causes through the reaction of the 13 colonies and the politics of England.

 

The book covers events from the year 1763 AD to 1789 AD. These years cover from the end of the French & Indian war, the North American theater of the Seven Years’ War, up through the Constitutional Convention and general acceptance of the American Constitution.

 

Through these topics, Prof. MiddleKauff has tried to look at the roots of the revolution and the consequences of the war. This attempts to place the war in a larger context, helping the reader to comprehend how other events in Europe influenced the American colonist to the point of war. The approach also gives the reader some suggested ideas of how the foundations of the United states of American were laid, not just in the political domain, but also the cultural and economic domains as well.

 

The chapters covering the war do not start till page 255. In attempting to lay a foundation for the war, the author covers many events and persons. He discusses the elements of King George III’s reign, which started in 1760, and how this began to shift royal policies toward the colonies. By this point the 13 colonies had existed for over a century so were a well established society.

 

Prof. Middlekauff lays out how the colonies disgruntled reaction to these policy changes were the first embers of revolution. Yet, the author does not bias in favor of the colonials. He shows why many of those royal policies were taken in reaction to budgetary difficulties the British government was having after several years of fighting European wars.

 

The war is covered in excellent detail up through page 570. His analysis of the war looks at the battles, strategy of each side, and the personalities of the major leaders. Once the War of Independence started to pull in European allies in France and Spain, the author attempts to layout why those nations went to war, how France favored the colonial cause, but Spain was more ambivalent toward the American’s cause.

 

Prof Middlekauff then spends a 150 pages laying out the aftermath of the war, and the struggles for the 13 colonies to try and form a proper central government. This goes through elements of the Constitutional convention, why it was called, and the debates on the ratification of the American Constitution.

 

Overall, this is an excellent but lengthy read on one of the most pivotal event of modern history, the founding of the United States of America.

 

glorious cause cover

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