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Bernard Bailyn


American historian, author, and professor specializing in U S Colonial and Revolutionary-era History.
Bernard Bailyn
Never had Parliament or the crown, or both together, operated in actuality as theory indicated sovereign powers should.
Bailyn quotes
Defiance to constituted authority leaped like a spark from one flammable area to another, growing in heat as it went.
Bailyn
It was an elevating, transforming vision: a new, fresh, vigorous, and above all morally regenerate people rising from the obscurity to defend the battlements of liberty and then in triumph standing forth, heartening and sustaining the cause of freedom everywhere.




Bailyn Bernard quotes
At first the relevance of chattel slavery to libertarian ideals was noted only in individual passages of isolated pamphlets.
Bailyn Bernard
Up and down the the still sparsely settled coast of British North America, groups of men-intellectuals and farmers, scholars and merchants, the learned and the ignorant-gathered for the purpose of constructing enlightened governments.
Bernard Bailyn quotes
In effect the people were present through their representatives, and were themselves, step by step and point by point, acting in the conduct of public affairs. No longer merely an ultimate check on government, they were in some sense the government.
Bernard Bailyn
What were once felt to be defects-isolation, institutional simplicity, primitiveness of manners, multiplicity of religions, weaknesses in the authority of the state-could now be seen as virtues, not only by Americans themselves but by enlightened spokesmen of reform, renewal and hope wherever they may be-in London coffeehouses, in Parisian salons, in the courts of German princes.
Bailyn Bernard quotes
The most powerful presentations were based on legal precedents, especially Calvin's Case (1608), which, it was claimed, proved on the authority of Coke and Bacon that subjects of the King are by no means necessarily subjects of Parliament.
Bailyn
On the evening of October 14, 1774, the Massachusetts delegates were invited to Carpenters' Hall by a group of Philadelphians to do " a little business ."
Bailyn Bernard
The ideas that the colonists put forward, rather than creating a new condition of fact, expressed one that has long existed; they articulated and in so doing generalized, systematized, gave moral sanction to what had emerged haphazardly, incompletely and insensibly, from the chaotic factionalism of colonial politics.
Bernard Bailyn
Everyone knew that democracy-direct rule by all the people-required such spartan, sel denying virtue on the part of all the people that it was likely to survive only where poverty made upright behavior necessary for the perpetuation of the race.




Bernard Bailyn quotes
The idea of sovereignty current in the English speaking world of the 1760's was scarcely more than a century old. It had first emerged during the English Civil War, in the early 1640's, and had been established as a canon of Whig political thought in the Revolution of 1688.
Bernard Bailyn
Incorporating in their colorful, slashing, superbly readable pages, the major themes of the "left" opposition under Walpole, these libertarian tracts, emerging first in the form of denunciations of standing armies in the reign of William III, left an indelible imprint on the "country" mind everywhere in the English-speaking world.
Bailyn quotes
The categories within which the colonists thought about the social foundations of politics were inheritances from classical antiquity, reshaped by seventeenth century English thought.
Bailyn Bernard
The fact that the ministerial conspiracy against liberty had risen from corruption was of the utmost importance to the colonists.
Bailyn Bernard quotes
In England the practice of "virtual" representation provided reasonably well for the actual representation of the major interests of the society, and it raised no widespread objection.
Bernard Bailyn
What Americans were really objecting to had nothing to do with constitutional principles. their objection was not to Parliament's constitutional right to levy certain kinds of taxes as opposed to others, but to its effort to collect any.
Bernard Bailyn quotes
The primary function of a constitution was to mark out the boundaries of governmental powers-hence in England, where there was no constitution , there were no limits (save for the effect of trail by jury) to what the legislature might do.
Bernard Bailyn
What gave transcendent importance to the aggressiveness of power was the fact that its natural prey, its necessary victim, was liberty, or law, or right.
Bailyn Bernard
In no obvious sense was the American Revolution undertaken as a social revolution.


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