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Exploring the Bounds of Liberty: Political Writings of Colonial British America from the Glorious Revolution to the American Revolution. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. , which was one of the ships boarded during the Boston Tea Party, a political protest by the Sons of Liberty in Boston, a city in the British colony of Massachusetts, against the tax policy of the British government and the East India Company, which controlled all the tea imported into the colonies.” Used by permission © i Stock.com/duncan 1890. Description: Carmel, Indiana : Liberty Fund, Inc., 2018. Identifiers: LCCN 2017026534 | ISBN 9780865978997 (hardcover : alk. This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc.Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pensilvania, New-Jersey, New-York, Connecticut, and Rhode-Island: Of Aquanishuonigy the country of the Confederate Indians comprehending Aquanishuonigy proper, their places of residence, Ohio and Tuchsochruntie their deer hunting countries, Couchsachrage and Skaniadarade, their beaver hunting countries, of the Lakes Erie, Ontario, and Champlain, . All rights reserved Printed in the United States of America 17 18 19 20 21 22 Names: Greene, Jack P., editor. Title: Exploring the bounds of liberty : political writings of colonial British America from the Glorious Revolution to the American Revolution / edited by Jack P. The most important of these writings have long been accessible to scholars, many of the principal pamphlets and newspaper writings of the Revolutionary era having been included in the collection edited by Charles Hyneman and Donald Lutz and published by Liberty Fund nearly three decades ago.1 Several other important collections have republished many of the significant writings for and against the Federal Constitution of 1787.2 As it has become more widely and easily available and thus familiar to more scholars, this literature has elicited considerable scholarly respect for its political precociousness, learning, and sophistication as well as for its relevance to the ongoing project, so central to the history of the West, of defining the nature of civil liberty and determining how best to cultivate and maintain it.
In this short general introduction, we can mention only a few of the most impressive examples of this literature.
Published by an anonymous Virginian in London in 1701, metropolitan power and colonial liberty that would prove to be constant irritants in metropolitan-colonial relations until the American Revolution and, for those polities that remained in the British Empire after 1783, well beyond it.
However, with the expansion of printing to most of the colonies during the last decade of the seventeenth century and the first three decades of the eighteenth century (part of the expansion of print culture that was taking place throughout the English-speaking world), political polemical literature published in America increased exponentially throughout colonial British America, from Britain’s southernmost colony in Barbados to its northernmost colony in Nova Scotia.
Indeed, the number of imprints dealing with political questions increased in every decade after 1710 to become, by the 1750s, a veritable flood. Some of it appeared as essays in newspapers, some in sizable volumes, some in sermons, some in poetry, plays, and other belletristic writings, but most of it in pamphlets or short treatises of fewer than a hundred pages.
Already by the 1670s, colonial spokespersons were producing formal writings about political questions, a few of them published in New England, which had the only printing presses then in English America, but most of them published in London.
Throughout the colonial era, colonials and metropolitans concerned with colonial questions continued to publish their political writings in London or elsewhere in Britain.These included the vagaries of colonial justice, abuses of judicial and executive power, the ambiguity of colonial constitutions, the sanctity of colonial charters, the persecution of religious dissenters, the limits and responsibilities of proprietary government, freedom of the press, the enslavement of blacks, the desirability of balanced government, the privileges and powers of colonial legislatures, the efforts of power-seeking politicians to monopolize power, the entitlement of colonial settlers to English laws, and appropriate strategies for economic development.Mostly arising out of local crises, the conflicts over these issues generated a large literature, including formal political tracts, published speeches from legislative debates, political satires, grand jury charges, election tracts and sermons, accounts of political trials, and many other genres.This literature circulated freely around the British world; a pamphlet emanating in Williamsburg might be answered by one written in London, and authors frequently made references to writings produced in disputes in other areas of the colonial British American—or Irish—world.Authors of this literature thus drew upon not just metropolitan political writers but each other.At the same time, a significant number of authors in the colonies (many, but not all of them government officials) took the side of the metropolis, defending it against the defiance of colonial protagonists and their alleged encroachments upon metropolitan authority.During the eight decades following the Glorious Revolution, the same question arose repeatedly, connected to a wide variety of issues. William Penn, The Excellent Priviledge of Liberty and Property (Philadelphia, 1687) to 28.Spine: Library of Congress, dated 1758: “A general map of the middle British colonies in America: Viz. exhibiting the antient and present seats of the Indian nations.” Used by permission. paper) Subjects: LCSH: United States—Politics and government—To 1775—Sources. E97 2018 | DDC 973.3—dc23 LC record available at https://gov/2017026534 or about the writings involving various issues associated with the founding era of the American republic, particularly the debates over metropolitan efforts to tax the colonies after 1764, independence, and the formation of the federal state.In this discussion, apologists for settler resistance widely condemned the Crown’s use of prerogative power to stifle or curtail traditional English liberties in the colonies, while their opponents depicted colonial uprisings as violations of the existing political order and invitations, not to liberty, but to licentiousness.At the very heart of these discussions was the question of how English people organized into and living in polities so remote from the parent state could enjoy the traditional liberties of Englishmen, and settler protagonists manifested a powerful determination both to inscribe those liberties into their new polities and to resist any efforts to deprive them of their most valuable inheritance, as they often said, in paraphrase of Sir Edward Coke.