JOURNAL OF THE EARLY REPUBLIC (Spring 2012) The Freedoms We Lost: Consent and Resistance in Revolutionary America. By Barbara Clark Smith. (New York: The New Press, 2010. Pp. xvi 272. Cloth, $25.95.) Reviewed by Benjamin L. Carp ´ Public buildings in France celebrate the Revolutionary values ``liberte, ´ ´ ´ egalite, fraternite,'' yet these values do not always translate well in the United States. Americans can yelp for liberty until they're red, white, and blue in the face; equality has proven to be more contentious. And in the civic sphere, ideas of moral obligation and fellowship resonate least of all. Early American historians spend little time discussing this third value, except in the contexts of Christianity, deference, and republican virtue. Barbara Clark Smith offers this book as a corrective, in a bold argument that should force historians to reconsider the conventional wisdom about the Revolutionary era. Although Smith is fond of her book's title, it is probably a bit of a misnomer. Smith is not analyzing lost ``freedoms'' so much as norms, rights, values, and obligations. During the American Revolution, she argues, Patriot elites established a centralized legal regime that protected individual rights (particularly those of the wealthy)
Journal of the Early Republic – University of Pennsylvania Press
Published: Feb 8, 2012
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