C. Bradley Thompson on the American Revolution

cbt john adams

An indispensable book on an indispensable republican.

I am thrilled to see that Professor Brad Thompson has commented on my American Revolution/Crises Timeline.  Though I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting him in person, I’ve known of Brad since my undergraduate days.  As early as my junior year at Notre Dame, one of my professors–Bruce Smith; then a graduate student–praised Brad to the skies.  He almost had a mythical presence in my life.

Since, folks I respect beyond measure–such as Michelle Le and Roger Ream–have continued to praise Brad to the skies.

Thirty years after Bruce first told me about Brad, he is, simply put, one of the greatest living scholars of the American Founding and of American history.

He’s written expertly and beautifully on Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, and abolitionism.

His book on neo-conservativism (co-authored with Yaron Brook) is one of my favorite books of the last decade.  In other words, you need to know him!!!!

Here’s a link to his books at amazon: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=bradley+thompson

Anyway, there’s no way in the world that I’ll chance having his thoughts buried in the comments.  So, here they are–for all to enjoy!  Thank you so much, Brad.  What an honor!

Comment 1:

Hi Brad:

Great timeline on the imperial crisis.

Most people today have forgotten the second half of the Americans’ opposition to the Sugar and Stamp Acts. Yes, there was the development of the “no taxation without representation” principle that resulted from the Stamp Act. John Adams, however, considered the “most grievous innovation” of the Sugar and Stamp acts to be the extension of the power of the vice-admiralty courts in America, which he thought violated the basic tenets of Magna Charta. In his “Instructions of the Town of Braintree to their Representative” he wrote: “We cannot help asserting, therefore, that this part of the act will make an essential change in the constitution of juries, and it is directly repugnant to the Great Charter itself; for, by that charter, ‘no amerciament shall be assessed, but by the oath of honest and lawful men of the vicinage;’ and, ‘no freeman shall be taken, or imprisoned, or disseized of his freehold, or liberties of free customs, nor passed upon, nor condemned, but by lawful judgment of his peers, or by the law of the land.’”

And, comment 2:

Let me also suggest that American Patriots considered the Massachusetts Government Act to be the worst of the Intolerable Acts.

The Massachusetts Government Act altered the Massachusetts charter in several respects: (a) it changed the Mass. Council to a body appointed by the Crown rather than by the colonial legislature, with each councillor continuing in office at the King’s pleasure; (b) The Mass. Governor was now given complete power to appoint and dismiss all executive and inferior judicial officers, including justices of the peace and sheriffs; (c) Superior court judges were to be nominated by the Governor for appointment by the King; (d) Juries would now be chosen by the sheriff instead of democratically by the people of the towns; (e) Finally, town meetings were barred without the consent of the Governor, except for annual election meetings.

It was the last blow for self-government in Massachusetts.

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