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The Language of Liberty, 1660-1832: Political Discourse and Social Dynamics in the Anglo-American World

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This book creates a new framework for the political and intellectual relations between Britain and America in a momentous period that witnessed the formation of modern states on both sides of the Atlantic and the extinction of an Anglican, aristocratic and monarchical order. It stands as part of a project aimed at revising the map of early modern English-speaking societies This book creates a new framework for the political and intellectual relations between Britain and America in a momentous period that witnessed the formation of modern states on both sides of the Atlantic and the extinction of an Anglican, aristocratic and monarchical order. It stands as part of a project aimed at revising the map of early modern English-speaking societies, which includes Dr. Clark's previous books English Society, 1688SH1832 (1985) and Revolution and Rebellion (1986). This important revisionary study will be essential reading for historians, social scientists and students of literature of the period.


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This book creates a new framework for the political and intellectual relations between Britain and America in a momentous period that witnessed the formation of modern states on both sides of the Atlantic and the extinction of an Anglican, aristocratic and monarchical order. It stands as part of a project aimed at revising the map of early modern English-speaking societies This book creates a new framework for the political and intellectual relations between Britain and America in a momentous period that witnessed the formation of modern states on both sides of the Atlantic and the extinction of an Anglican, aristocratic and monarchical order. It stands as part of a project aimed at revising the map of early modern English-speaking societies, which includes Dr. Clark's previous books English Society, 1688SH1832 (1985) and Revolution and Rebellion (1986). This important revisionary study will be essential reading for historians, social scientists and students of literature of the period.

31 review for The Language of Liberty, 1660-1832: Political Discourse and Social Dynamics in the Anglo-American World

  1. 5 out of 5

    Bernard M.

    Readers should have some interest in the numerous Christian denominations as they do play a big role the book.

  2. 5 out of 5

    David Bates

    J.C.D. Clark’s The Language of Liberty 1660-1832, seeks to expand upon the social dimension of the American Revolution by exploring the relationship between religion and politics within the British Atlantic. He contends that our understanding of that world as basically peaceful is anachronistic. What had formed in the British Isles at the end of the 17th century was a powerful constitutional settlement centered on the English heartland, “King, Lords and Commons, indivisible and irresistible, cre J.C.D. Clark’s The Language of Liberty 1660-1832, seeks to expand upon the social dimension of the American Revolution by exploring the relationship between religion and politics within the British Atlantic. He contends that our understanding of that world as basically peaceful is anachronistic. What had formed in the British Isles at the end of the 17th century was a powerful constitutional settlement centered on the English heartland, “King, Lords and Commons, indivisible and irresistible, credited with absolute power by the common law, dignified with divine authority by the Church.” At the Gaelic periphery however the religious and political controversies continued to smolder, as dissenting Protestant sects nursed paranoid fears of a bloody second Stuart restoration launched by Catholics, aristocratic Anglicans and foreign empires; fears justified by the periodic Jacobite conspiracies and uprisings of the first half of the 18th century. For Clark, this distillation of the tension between center and periphery in its religious dimension is at the center of the American Revolution. To a greater extent than Wood, Clark is preoccupied with social identity and allegiance. He contends that “the denominational, monarchical formula of the Anglican ascendancy occupied the relevant ideological territory so completely that it successfully inhibited the development of a nationalism built around culture and ethnicity.” Membership in dissenting denominations opposed to the established Church of England therefore carried heavier consequences for social identity and political affiliation. While such dissenters made up only ten percent of the population of England, in the New World their membership had always been higher, rising to more than three fourths of people in the thirteen colonies on the eve of the Revolution. Clark argues that the relationship between religious identity and the launching of the Revolution is related to how this religious discourse framed the language of liberty, or the rhetorical mode which justified violent rebellion against traditional authority. Theologically, the dissenting denominations rejection of the church established by political authority, tied with an openness to ideas about the natural rights – the truth of which no authority could establish, only observe or not. Less ethereally, Clark contends that the decision by the imperial authorities to tolerate Catholicism in Quebec, rumors circulating regarding the establishment of an Anglican Bishopric in the New World and the introduction of a standing army accompanied by European mercenaries all triggered traditional paranoia of impending Catholic subversion and massacre embedded in the culture of dissenting sects. The resulting rage and fear supplied the emotional dynamite which fueled the Revolution.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Darrick Taylor

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    Robert D. Cornwall

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    RevolutionaryPA

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    Christopher Minty

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    Tyler Henry

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