We begin our study of the American Revolution with a look back into English history. The roots of the American Revolution are to be found in the great revolutionary upheaval of 1688 in England. In that year the English people rose up again against the king (James II) who was trying to impose upon them his own personal Roman Catholic religion. The English people had made it clear in their parliament again and again that they were an Anglican nation with the religion that was their own version of Protestantism, created during the reign of Henry VIII, and did not want to join the international Roman Catholic Church. King James II tried and tried and tried to drag the nation into his own Roman Catholic beliefs. This failed in 1688, when he was pushed out of office and sent into permanent exile in France. In the years immediately succeeding this event, the English people wrote a "Bill of Rights" which was imposed upon the new Protestant monarchs William and Mary. This event and the literature that accompanied the event (John Locke) provided the intellectual and legal basis for the American Revolution  a century later. The title of our lecture is taken from a wonderful book by the American political scientist Michael Barone.(Our First  Revolution)



Wilfred McClay,

Land of Hope,

Encounter Books,

ISBN ‎ 978-1641713771

From the Publisher:
"For too long we’ve lacked a compact, inexpensive, authoritative, and compulsively readable book that offers American readers a clear, informative, and inspiring narrative account of their country. Such a fresh retelling of the American story is especially needed today, to shape and deepen young Americans’ sense of the land they inhabit, help them to understand its roots and share in its memories, all the while equipping them for the privileges and responsibilities of citizenship in American society. The existing texts simply fail to tell that story with energy and conviction. Too often they reflect a fragmented outlook that fails to convey to American readers the grand trajectory of their own history. A great nation needs and deserves a great and coherent narrative, as an expression of its own self-understanding and its aspirations; and it needs to be able to convey that narrative effectively. Of course, it goes without saying that such a narrative cannot be a fairy tale of the past. It will not be convincing if it is not truthful. But as Land of Hope brilliantly shows, there is no contradiction between a truthful account of the American past and an inspiring one. Readers of Land of Hope will find both in its pages."


“At a time of severe partisanship that has infected many accounts of our nation’s past, this brilliant new history, Land of Hope, written in lucid and often lyrical prose, is much needed. It is accurate, honest, and free of the unhistorical condescension so often paid to the people of America’s past. This generous but not uncritical story of our nation’s history ought to be read by every American. It explains and justifies the right kind of patriotism.”― Gordon S. Wood, author of Friends Divided: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson

“We’ve long needed a readable text that truly tells the American story, neither hiding the serious injustices in our history nor soft-pedaling our nation’s extraordinary achievements. Such a text cannot be a mere compilation of facts, and it certainly could not be written by someone lacking a deep understanding and appreciation of America’s constitutional ideals and institutions. Bringing his impressive skills as a political theorist, historian, and writer to bear, Wilfred McClay has supplied the need.”― Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, Princeton University

“No one has told the story of America with greater balance or better prose than Wilfred McClay. Land of Hope is a history book that you will not be able to put down. From the moment that ‘natives’ first crossed here over the Bering Strait, to the founding of America’s great experiment in republican government, to the horror and triumph of the Civil War...McClay’s account will capture your attention while offering an unforgettable education.”― James W. Ceaser, Professor of Politics, University of Virginia