Traces the emergence of a revolutionary conception of political authority on the far shores of the eighteenth-century Atlantic world. Based on the equal natural right of English subjects to leave the realm, claim indigenous territory and establish new governments by consent, this radical set of ideas culminated in revolution and republicanism. But unlike most scholarship on early American political theory, Craig Yirush does not focus solely on the revolutionary era of the late eighteenth century. Instead, he examines how the political ideas of settler elites in British North America emerged in the often-forgotten years between the Glorious Revolution in America and the American Revolution against Britain. By taking seriously an imperial world characterized by constitutional uncertainty, geo-political rivalry and the ongoing presence of powerful Native American peoples, Yirush provides a long-term explanation for the distinctive ideas of the American Revolution.
Craig Yirush is Assistant Professor in the Department of History at the University of California at Los Angeles. He is the author of several articles and book chapters focusing on early American political and legal ideas. Professor Yirush previously served as a Library Associates Fellow at the John Carter Brown Library and a Fellow at Harvard University's Charles Warren Center for American History.
Introduction: Jasper Maudit's 'instructions': the imperial roots of early American political theory; Part I. Restoration and Rebellion: 1. English rights in an Atlantic world; 2. The Glorious Revolution in America; Part II. Empire: 3. Jeremiah Dummer and the defense of chartered government; 4. John Bulkley and the Mohegans; 5. Daniel Dulany and the natural right to English law; 6. Richard Bland and the prerogative in pre-revolutionary Virginia; Part III. Revolution: 7. In search of a unitary empire; 8. The final imperial crisis; Conclusion.