Bailyn and the American Revolution
The general thesis of Bailyn’s work is that British thought, stemming from the English Civil War and from political theorists such as John Locke, has sown the seeds that would manifest itself in the American Revolution. The English Civil War established that the Monarchy may no longer govern without the consent of Parliament. John Locke argued that political legitimacy stems from consent, tacit or explicit. Bailyn argues that the origins of the American Revolution can be understood as a response to the tensions between English power imposed illegitimately (without Colonial consent) and the liberty Colonialist enjoyed for 150 years. Furthermore, he argues that the coercive acts (The Port Act, The Administration of Justice Act, the Massachusetts Government Act, the Quebec Act, and the Quartering Act) were part of a conspiracy designed to whittle away Colonial liberty in a very systematic way. Bailyn supports his claims through political pamphlets of the time.
Please write a 1500 words responding to the questions below:
Does Bailyn make a compelling case? What parts of his argument are compelling and what parts are not? Can his argument be substantiated through primarily political pamphlets? Why or why not? Are the ideological origins of the American Revolution simply those ideas found in the English Civil War? Explain your position.
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