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Our First Revolution
Cover of Our First Revolution
Our First Revolution
The Remarkable British Upheaval That Inspired America's Founding Fathers
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The ideals of freedom and individual rights that inspired America's Founding Fathers did not spring from a vacuum. Along with many other defining principles of our national character, they can be traced directly back to one of the most pivotal events in British history-the late-seventeenth-century uprising known as the Glorious Revolution. In a work of popular history that stands with recent favorites such as David McCullough's 1776 and Joseph J. Ellis's Founding Brothers, Michael Barone brings the story of this unlikely and largely bloodless revolt to American readers and reveals that, without the Glorious Revolution, the American Revolution may never have happened. Unfolding in 1688-1689, Britain's Glorious Revolution resulted in the hallmarks of representative government, guaranteed liberties, the foundations of global capitalism, and a foreign policy of opposing aggressive foreign powers. But as Barone shows, there was nothing inevitable about the Glorious Revolution. It sprang from the character of the English people and depended on the talents, audacity, and good luck of two men: William of Orange (later William III of England), who launched history' s last successful cross-channel invasion, and John Churchill, an ancestor of Winston, who commanded the forces of the deposed James II but crossed over to support William one fateful November night. The story of the Glorious Revolution is a rich and riveting saga of palace intrigue, loyalty and shocking betrayal, and bold political and military strategizing. With narrative drive, a sure command of historical events, and unforgettable portraits of kings, queens, soldiers, parliamentarians, and a large cast of full-blooded characters, Barone takes an episode that has fallen into unjustified obscurity and restores it to the prominence it deserves. Especially now, as we face enemies who wish to rid the world of the lasting legacies of the Glorious Revolution-democracy, individual rights, and capitalism among them-it is vitally important that we understand the origins of these blessings.
The ideals of freedom and individual rights that inspired America's Founding Fathers did not spring from a vacuum. Along with many other defining principles of our national character, they can be traced directly back to one of the most pivotal events in British history-the late-seventeenth-century uprising known as the Glorious Revolution. In a work of popular history that stands with recent favorites such as David McCullough's 1776 and Joseph J. Ellis's Founding Brothers, Michael Barone brings the story of this unlikely and largely bloodless revolt to American readers and reveals that, without the Glorious Revolution, the American Revolution may never have happened. Unfolding in 1688-1689, Britain's Glorious Revolution resulted in the hallmarks of representative government, guaranteed liberties, the foundations of global capitalism, and a foreign policy of opposing aggressive foreign powers. But as Barone shows, there was nothing inevitable about the Glorious Revolution. It sprang from the character of the English people and depended on the talents, audacity, and good luck of two men: William of Orange (later William III of England), who launched history' s last successful cross-channel invasion, and John Churchill, an ancestor of Winston, who commanded the forces of the deposed James II but crossed over to support William one fateful November night. The story of the Glorious Revolution is a rich and riveting saga of palace intrigue, loyalty and shocking betrayal, and bold political and military strategizing. With narrative drive, a sure command of historical events, and unforgettable portraits of kings, queens, soldiers, parliamentarians, and a large cast of full-blooded characters, Barone takes an episode that has fallen into unjustified obscurity and restores it to the prominence it deserves. Especially now, as we face enemies who wish to rid the world of the lasting legacies of the Glorious Revolution-democracy, individual rights, and capitalism among them-it is vitally important that we understand the origins of these blessings.
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About the Author-
  • Michael Barone, senior writer at U.S. News and World Report, is a regular panelist on The McLaughlin Group and a Fox News Channel contributor.
Reviews-
  • AudioFile Magazine Stephen Hoye begins this history of the 1688 ouster of King James II and the elevation of William and Mary to the throne in his usual drawling, lilting manner. While suitable for dramatic fiction, this style only makes it harder to follow the complexities of seventeenth-century English and European political history. Fortunately, Hoye reads more crisply as he goes on. He keeps the pacing good, and his timbre is pleasing. Eventually even a listener unfamiliar with the period will catch on to the various players. There is a lot to be learned here, and some interesting ideas; listeners may have a hard time initially, but it's worthwhile to persevere. W.M. (c) AudioFile 2008, Portland, Maine
  • Publisher's Weekly

    March 26, 2007
    Political journalist and historian Barone (Hard America, Soft America
    ) elucidates the template for America's independence movement in this well-written history of its forerunner: England's Glorious Revolution of 1688. The author describes the origins of the revolution, a mostly bloodless change of government, as a mixture of religious, political and diplomatic factors. King James II's Roman Catholicism, hostility to Parliament, and French sympathies alienated an increasing number of his powerful subjects including John Churchill, later Duke of Marlborough, who invited Dutch Stadtholder William of Orange and his wife, Mary, James's sister, to intervene. Among the revolution's consequences was a Bill of Rights that limited the monarch's powers and strengthened representative government. A Toleration Act encouraged variant forms of Protestant worship. The creation of a funded national debt and the foundation of the Bank of England laid the groundwork for financial development. Involvement in the long series of wars with France moved England from a country standing apart from Europe to one that took responsibility for maintaining a continental balance of power. It was a Glorious Revolution indeed that laid the political groundwork for the world in which we now live, and Barone's lucid work honors its heritage.

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Our First Revolution
Our First Revolution
The Remarkable British Upheaval That Inspired America's Founding Fathers
Michael Barone
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