Reluctant Revolutionaries

'Our Lives, Our Fortunes and Our Sacred Honor'

The Forging of American Independence, 1774–1776
Richard R. Beeman
Basic Books, $29.99, 492 pp.

In October 1774, John Dickinson of Pennsylvania composed the final draft of the First Continental Congress’s petition to the king, pleading with him to restore the rights Americans had long possessed. Dickinson, a wealthy lawyer, had gained renown with Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, a widely-read series of essays written in 1767–68 in response to the Townshend Duties. The essays argue that Parliament had no constitutional right to raise revenue by taxing the colonies. In the...

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About the Author

Robert K. Landers is the author of An Honest Writer: The Life and Times of James T. Farrell (Encounter Books).