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Remaking the British AtlanticThe United States and the British Empire after American Independence$
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P. J. Marshall

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199640355

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199640355.001.0001

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The Challenge of Revolutionary America

The Challenge of Revolutionary America

(p.55) 3 The Challenge of Revolutionary America
Remaking the British Atlantic

Peter J. Marshall

Oxford University Press

In terms of power, the new America posed no threat to the British empire. Its republican principles were, however, seen as a challenge to the British political order. American republicanism was generally interpreted in Britain in terms of the early assertions of popular power within the states. These were dismissed as totally incompatible with the ordered liberty guaranteed by the balanced powers of the British constitution, whose strengths seemed to be vindicated in the political turmoil in Britain at the end of the war. A torrent of publications in newspapers and pamphlets, with some government encouragement, denounced American innovations and affirmed the virtues of British governance. After the war American political arrangements continued to be depicted as producing weak government subject to popular whim, at least until the results of the Convention of 1787 produced some reassessment.

Keywords:   republicanism, British constitution, liberty, Constitution of the United States, Convention, newspapers

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