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date: 17 September 2021

Abstract and Keywords

In a book first printed in 1775, a young Englishman named Andrew Burnaby argued that the British colonies were too divided to act independently of Britain. His views were confirmed by historians of colonial America; the economies, politics, and societies of the colonies were shaped by differing origins, separate histories, diverse climates and topographies. This internal division was exemplified by the stark separation between social elites and their various dependents—women, children, tenants, servants, slaves, wage laborers, and others. The search for Revolutionary consensus has often obscured persistent, perhaps even heightened, division on the eve of the American Revolution. This chapter examines colonial politics on the eve of American independence. It discusses the end of the British colonial government during the period 1774–1775, the onset of conflict in 1775–1776, and the emergence of a new American nation divided against itself.

Keywords: Britain, independence, colonies, Andrew Burnaby, America, American Revolution, colonial politics, conflict, elites

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