2 The Idea of Revolution

But what do we mean by the American Revolution? Do we mean the American war? The Revolution was effected before the war commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people…This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people, was the real American Revolution.

— John Adams to Hezekiah Niles February 13, 1813

The revolution of 1800…was as real a revolution in the principles of our government as that of 1776 was in its form.

— Thomas Jefferson to Spencer Roane September 6, 1819

WHILE IT IS THE PURPOSE OF THIS CHAPTER TO DEMONSTRATE the continuity of revolutionary ideas from the 1760s through the 1790s, I intend to analyze the idea of revolution during the period after ...

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