"American Insurgents, American Patriots" Book Review

Topics: American Revolution, Thirteen Colonies, Nationalism Pages: 3 (1111 words) Published: November 21, 2010
In American Insurgents, American Patriots, Breen attempts to shed light on a new perspective in the American Revolution. Through his methodology of creative adaptation of history, he shows how the “middling” or ordinary people of the day had a significant role in propelling the force of the American Revolution. Breen uses a combination of newspaper articles, journal entries and excerpts from sermons to accurately illustrate the atmosphere surrounding the common people of the time and explain how they were able to undertake actions that would eventually lead to the revolution. Although, is difficult to completely grasp the passion of the farmers towards this cause, Breen is able to successfully explain how the American Revolution was more of a popular uprising than it has been shown to be in the past. Typically, in the study of American History, main focus is put on the Founding Fathers and their role in the American Revolution, but Breen takes a different stance. His goal is to provide readers with a new perspective in which to look at this revolution, the perspective of the “middling men and women” and how they worked to “reject imperial rule” (35). In the first chapter of American Insurgents, American Patriots, Breen uses the example of Hannah Leighton and her husband Isaac Davis, captain of the Acton Minutemen. He uses the example of this family to show that ordinary people with ordinary lives were the ones to take up arms and fight against the British rule. Breen states: Without tens of thousands of ordinary people willing to set aside their work, homes, and families to take up arms in expectation of killing and possibly being killed, a handful of elite gentlemen arguing about political theory makes for a debating society, not a revolution. (4) Breen was explaining that in order to be successful in this war the colonists were undertaking, they would have to come together to create a “shared revolutionary identity” and fight for a cause that appealed to the...
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