Who Caused the America Revolution? A 1789 Appraisal

The following analysis of the causes of the American, and indeed French, Revolution, appeared in the Glasgow Advertiser in November 1789. It is surprisingly similar to how the revolution was taught by my own secondary school history teacher.

“What mighty contests rise from trivial things;”
That the present Revolution in France is a consequence of the Revolution in America, cannot admit of a doubt. The American Revolution originated in Adams, a very insignificant Bostonian. Not that this Adams had the least expectation of American independence, when he fomented the opposition to the stamp-act; indeed no human wisdom could possibly have foreseen the subsequent folly and imprudence of the British administration and its obsequious Parliament. An Administration so totally destitute of commonsense, so totally ignorant of every principle of sound policy, no nation ever beheld. Adams had the sagacity to avail himself of such despicable policies.—Fortunately for the American cause,the Generals that were sent from England were of congenial abilities with the Minister, and the Americans themselves were surprised at the facility with which they acquired their independence.—Yet all the blunders of the British administration, and the miserable conduct of the British Generals, would hardly have been sufficient to emancipate America, notwithstanding her extreme weakness, without the assistance of France; and this assistance depended entirely on Dr.Franklin being driven to Paris by the fatal-philippic of a certain great lawyer. Such, therefore, is the chain of concurrent circumstances that hath overturned the French monarch. If the British minister had possessed common sagacity—if he could have distinguished a general from a corporal; if Franklin had been treated with common civility, America would have remained a British colony, and France an absolute monarch, for ages yet to come.

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