What ultimately convinced Americans that they must revolt in 1776 was not that they were naturally and inevitably republican, for if that were truly the case evolution, not revolution, would have been the eventual solution. Rather it was the pervasive fear that they were not predestined to be a virtuous and egalitarian people that in the last analysis drove them into revolution in 1776. It was this fear and not their confidence in the peculiarity of their character that made them so readily and so remarkably responsive to Thomas Paine’s warning that the time for independence was at hand and that delay would be disastrous. By 1776 it had become increasingly evident that if they were to remain the kind of people they wanted to be they must become free of Britain.
British officer, hung as a spy for his involvement in Benedict Arnold’s treason.
British playwright, politician; general who lost the Battles of Saratoga; 1722—92.
Anglo-Irish statesman, orator, author, and political philosopher; 1729—97.
Governor of Quebec; British commander-in-chief, 1782 - 83; 1724—1808.
British general; commander-in-chief, 1778—82; 1730—95.
British general, surrendered with troops at Yorktown; 1738—1805.
King of Great Britain in 1760, at age 22, until 1820; b. 1738.
British lord, American Secretary, 1775—82; 1716—85.
American Secretary, 1768—72; 1718—93.
British admiral, brother of William Howe; 1726—99.
The Creation of the American Republic, 1776—1787 (1969)