Among the Powers of the Earth: The American Revolution and by Eliga H. Gould

By Eliga H. Gould

SHEAR booklet Prize (2013), Society for Historians of the Early American Republic
George Washington publication Prize Finalist
(2013)
A Library Journal top e-book of 2012

What does it suggest to be a treaty-worthy nation?  No query mattered extra to american citizens in 1776.  As Eliga Gould exhibits during this prize-winning e-book, the necessity for foreign acceptance touched every thing of the U.S.' early heritage -- from the drafting of the structure, to kinfolk among settlers and Indians, to the looming debate over slavery. 

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Throughout the period covered by this book, connections of various sorts linked Americans to the slave factories of West Africa, the towns and villages of Indian country, the islands of the Caribbean, and the lands and waters of Spanish America. Sometimes Americans interacted with their neighbors on terms of equality; on other occasions, they did so in subordinate or inferior roles. Either way, the revolution proved to be a profoundly disruptive event, as the intrusion and growing authority of European notions of peace and treaty-worthiness created new hierarchies of value, new forms of dependency, and, often, new languages of exclusion.

45 Although Acadians did not reject the treaty’s authority, On the Margins of Europe 27 their homeland’s disputed boundaries made it hard to avoid the appearance that they did. Compounding the shortcomings and failures of European peace treaties in America was a colonial typography that worked against the discipline that European armies used to compel soldiers to obey the rules of war in Europe. Although Wolfe’s victory at Quebec was a notable exception, most American battles occurred on terrain that differed from Germany and the Netherlands, with battles that were often far removed from large towns and cities and lines of supply that were sometimes hundreds of miles long.

29 As Americans knew from their own history as colonial subjects, and as we shall see in the chapters that follow on slavery and colonial and Indian warfare, the laws and customs that Americans wanted independence to secure were those that Europe’s rulers generally reserved for nations that seemed comparable to their own. In order to be at peace with other European nations, in their own neighborhood no less than in the world beyond, Americans needed to have a nation that Europeans would recognize and accept.

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