The Price of Nationhood: The American Revolution in Charles County

Jean B. Lee, Author W. W. Norton & Company $29.95 (388p) ISBN 978-0-393-03658-9
Lee, professor of history at the University of Wisconsin, uses Charles County, Md., as a provocative case study to make his point that the American Revolution brought radical change to American society. Before 1776, the county participated in the flowering of Maryland's plantation society, and a stable internal order was sustained by an economy profitably integrated into the British Empire. Yet the county entered the patriot camp overwhelmingly, supporting the war effort by providing tools and supplies while minimizing damage from British raiders. The elite continued to lead, but only by becoming increasingly sensitive to the general populace, black as well as white. Peace generated a brief burst of political, commercial and economic activity. The county, however, never recovered from the loss of its economic ties with Britain. Virgin land across the Appalachians beckoned to the ambitious. As Lee shows us with telling irony, for those who remained, Charles County became a backwater. Sacrifice of local identity was part of the price of winning national independence. Photos not seen by PW. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/30/1994
Release date: 06/01/1994
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Paperback - 100 pages - 978-0-393-96847-7
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