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Two Revolutions and the Constitution

How the English and American Revolutions Produced the American Constitution

James D. R. Philips



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13 April 2021
How and why did Americans conceive a republic built on individual liberty, in an era or oppressive monarchies? This book describes the origins of the rights and liberties which the Constitution protects, including their roots in the English Revolution and republic. It also tells the story of revolutionary American progress from British colonies to a new nation founded on the world's first written Constitution. This book describes how developments in England since Magna Carta had enabled liberty and representative government to develop in England and in America. The English replaced two kings in their revolutions of the seventeenth century, and the author explains how those revolutions resulted in enduring constitutional changes. This book shows that the charges against George III in the Declaration of Independence mirrored the charges against Charles I at the founding of the English republic. Philips considers why the American colonies were partially self-governing from their founding, and how the founding charters of the colonies contained seeds of American rebellion in the 1760s and 1770s. This book explains the gap between British and colonial Americans' perceptions of their constitutional rights, and how that gap led to British oppression and American rebellion. By means of the Constitution, the Framers aimed to establish a federal, national, and republican system of government which would protect Americans' liberties. The author explores how the Framers' experience of British colonial government, the American colonial charters, the innovations in the first American constitutions (the State constitutions), and the failure of the Confederation in the revolutionary period, all influenced the Framers in drafting the final Constitution.
Imprint:   HAMILTON
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 219mm,  Width: 153mm,  Spine: 14mm
Weight:   290g
ISBN:   9780761872689
ISBN 10:   076187268X
Pages:   190
Publication Date:  
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

James D. R. Philips is visiting lecturer at the University of Sydney's Law School.

Reviews for Two Revolutions and the Constitution: How the English and American Revolutions Produced the American Constitution

Two Revolutions and the Constitution demonstrates that the American constitutional system-- federalism, checks and balances, etc.--drew on the colonists' understanding of British laws and government, although the final product grew from what the Founders felt they had learned about effective governance in the course of the American Revolution and the desperate War of Independence. This important book teaches about the building blocks of history. It demonstrates how ideas spring from experience and events, and from what historical actors concluded were earlier mistakes, in this instance the presumed flaws in the first state and national constitutions.--John Ferling, author of Winning Independence: The Decisive Years of the Revolutionary War, 1778-1781 Two Revolutions and the Constitution: How the English and American Revolutions Produced the American Constitution is an analysis of a crucial turning point in history. How did the principle of a republic arise in two nations amid an era of monarchies, and how were those principles codified into a founding document? Written with meticulous attention to detail, yet thoroughly accessible to readers of all backgrounds, Two Revolutions and the Constitution is an utterly fascinating chronicle of advances in liberty and representative government in both England and its New World colonies, from the Magna Carta onward. Two Revolutions and the Constitution is highly recommended for both public and college library history collections.--Midwest Book Review An important book which explains hitherto unrecognized connections between early English Republicans and their common law concepts and the foundations of the United States Constitution. It analyzes the struggles against royalism in both countries, and why America seceded and succeeded with help from British legal history.--Geoffrey Robertson, international human rights lawyer, and author of The Tyrannicide Brief: The Story of the Man Who Sent Charles I to the Scaffold Two Revolutions and the Constitution strikes a much-deserved blow at 'American Exceptionalism, ' a misguided and self-congratulatory myth that persists in our profession. Philips offers a clear and persuasive account of the English roots of America's constitution and the government that it created. Bravo!--Carol Berkin, professor of history and author of A Brilliant Solution: Inventing the American Constitution A fascinating book for an age which has seen the Capitol stormed and the U.K. at the brink of destruction: there has never been a better time to remind ourselves of how exactly these first, deeply-related, Anglo-American revolutions unfolded.--James Hawes, author of The Shortest History of England

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