Book Review of David Lefer's, The Founding Conservatives: How a Group of Unsung Heroes Saved the American Revolution

Topics: United States Declaration of Independence, Liberalism, American Revolution Pages: 6 (1879 words) Published: January 9, 2014
Prior to the American Revolution, thirteen Colonies were founded. Some colonies were founded based on economics, while others were founded on religious freedom. As time went on the Colonies developed different economies. Ihe New England Colonies had manufacturing industries, such as, shipbuilding; Middle colonies had fur exporting and manufacturing industries, such as, iron; Southern Colonies had plantation agriculture. By the eve of the American Revolution, most colonies were royal colonies, under the direct control of the King. According to David Lefer,

“Of course, many other historical prisms offer insight into the Revolution as well. America was divided by regional differences, western land claims, population sizes, gender, age, and race. All of these divisions should be and have been studied, and the fact this book focuses on one sort of conflict doesn’t mean others did not exist” (5). Reading this, I'm not sure what sort of conflict the author is referring to. You need to make the context for the quotation clear. What conflict does Lefer focus on? Prior to the American Revolution, Britain’s French and Indian War led to war debt. The British Parliament passed taxes on American Colonies to recover debt: the Sugar Act (1764), Currency Act (1764), Stamp Act (1765), Quartering Act (1765). Colonists protested and tension between England and America leading to distrust. Then the Parliament passed the Townshend Revenue Acts (1767), and sent British troops in Boston (1768), leading to the Boston Massacre (1770). In Boston Harbor, American smugglers destroyed HMS Gaspee (1772), to which Parliament responded by passing the Molasses Act (1773) and Tea Acts (1773). Colonist further protested with the Boston Tea Party Protest (1770). Again, the British Parliament passed more taxes: Coercive/Intolerable Acts (1774). This prompts the American Founders as the First Continental Congress (1774) to meet in Philadelphia to discuss action and pass the Declaration of Rights. England declares American Colonies in rebellion and passes New England Restraining Act (1775).

Most people learned that the American Founders were united in an independent effective government. According to David Lefer, “in the years following World War II, American historians made a conscious decision to downplay any hint of strife among the Founding Fathers”(4). The American Founders were in the middle of a war, with economic crisis, radical ideas, and conflict over wealth, civil liberties, banks, and corporations. This was the American Revolution. According to Lefer, “the split between left and right remains one of the most important the idea that the founders were just as politically divided as we are today holds a certain realistic appeal”(5). The Founders were split between conservatives and liberals. Traditionally, political liberalism supports federal rights, and environmental, trade, and business regulation, and social liberalism supports civil liberties, government funded social programs, and strong regulation. Traditionally, political conservativism supports capitalism, low taxes, and states rights over federal rights, and strong military, but oppose environmental, trade, and business regulation, and social conservativism support personal responsibility and traditional Judeo-Christian values.

Today, people are split between two main political parties, Democrats and Republicans. Modern Democrats are considered to be political and social liberals. Liberalism relates to both political and social liberalism. Today’s Democrats generally support pro-choice, LBGT rights, feminism, animal rights, strict gun control, and government run welfare, national healthcare, unemployment benefits, retirement benefits, and oppose regulated immigration, and the death penalty. Modern Republicans, are considered to be politically and socially conservative. Conservativism relates to both political and social conservatism. Today’s Republicans generally support...

Cited: ü Lefer, David. The Founding Conservatives: How a Group of Unsung Heroes Saved the American Revolution. New York: Penguin Group USA, 2013. Print.

ü The National Archives. "The Constitution of the United States: Questions and Answers." The Constitution of the United States: Questions and Answers.” The Charters of Freedom: A New World Is at Hand, Web. 21 Nov. 2013. http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution_q_and_a.html
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