The Counter-Revolution of 1776: Slave Resistance and the Origins of the United States of America

Gerald Horne. New York Univ, $39 (368p) ISBN 978-1-4798-9340-9
Horne (Negro Comrades of the Crown), Moores Professor of history and African-American studies at the University of Houston, confidently and convincingly reconstructs the origin myth of the United States grounded in the context of slavery. He examines the forces pushing colonists to rebel against London, focusing specifically on the colonies’ increasing dependence on the institution of slavery, and the increasing problems this very institution was causing for the Crown. London found itself in the middle of a losing battle as its settlers wanted an increasing number of slaves to sustain their economy while London began to recognize the dangers of slavery in the form of slave rebellions (coupled with the very real fear of escaped slaves joining the military forces of London’s Catholic enemies, France and Spain) and private slave merchants trading with these foreign countries, bypassing England. London’s increasing resistance to slavery and such free trade contributed to friction between itself and its colonies—and, ultimately, the fight for independence. Though dense, Horne’s study is rich, not dry; his research is meticulous, thorough, fascinating, and thought-provoking. Horne emphasizes the importance of considering this alternate telling of our American origin myth and how such a founding still affects our nation today. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/03/2014
Release date: 04/01/2014
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