The Ideological Origins of the Revolution in American Financial Policies

  • George D. Green
Part of the Rochester Studies in Economics and Policy Issues book series (RSEP, volume 2)

Abstract

The title for this paper deliberately paraphrases Bernard Bailyn’s masterful work, The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution. Economic historians in recent years have devoted great energy and ingenuity to measuring the economic burdens on (or benefits for) the American colonists of British imperialism, on the presumption that their answer might reveal the economic basis for that political conflict. Bailyn’s book makes this debate over the economic costs of imperialism largely irrelevant by reminding us that the conflict did not involve “rational” economic or political men maximizing their individual or national interest. He portrays the political rebels of the 1770s as unconscious victims of cultural lag, interpreting the actions of king and parliament through the distorted ideological lens of a fading political theory inherited from some angry English Whigs of the preceding century. To understand fully the action of our revolutionary ancestors, we must see it first through their eyes, from within their ideological perspective, and then recognize where that ideology sometimes diverged from the economic and political reality of their day.

Keywords

Depression Manifold Income Assure Gall 

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Copyright information

© University of Rochester Center for Research in Government Policy and Business 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • George D. Green

There are no affiliations available

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