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Drink hard, pray hard and simply vanish

Jack Rakove: The history of the American revolution, 5 April 2001

Becoming America: The Revolution Before 1776 
by Jon Butler.
Harvard, 324 pp., £19.50, May 2000, 0 674 00091 9
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Inheriting the Revolution: The First Generation of Americans 
by Joyce Appleby.
Harvard, 322 pp., £17.95, May 2000, 0 674 00236 9
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... Did the 13 mainland colonies of British North America become America before their inhabitants thought of themselves as Americans? That is the question raised by these two books. Each is a work of scholarly synthesis; each deals rather uneasily with the epochal event – the Revolution – that separates their respective periods; each is finally concerned with the onset of modernity in the world’s ‘first new nation’, as Seymour Martin Lipset described the United States ...

An Agreement with Hell

Eric Foner, 20 February 1997

Original Meanings: Politics and Ideas in the Making of the Constitution 
by Jack Rakove.
Knopf, 439 pp., $35, April 1996, 0 394 57858 9
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... to mobilise a democratic majority to change the law, but to look for someone to sue. Of course, as Jack Rakove points out in Original Meanings, precisely because of its centrality the Constitution has been a continuing source of dispute as well as a symbol of unity. Each generation reinvents the Constitution in its own image, and politicians of all ...

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