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Unfinished Revolution

The Early American Republic in a British World
Sam W. Haynes

BUY Cloth · 392 pp. · 6.125 × 9.25 · ISBN 9780813930688 · $29.95 · Nov 2010
BUY Ebook · 392 pp. · ISBN 9780813930800 · $19.95 · Nov 2010
BUY Paper · 392 pp. · 6.125 × 9.25 · ISBN 9780813931807 · $19.95 · Nov 2011

After the War of 1812 the United States remained a cultural and economic satellite of the world’s most powerful empire. Though political independence had been won, John Bull intruded upon virtually every aspect of public life, from politics to economic development to literature to the performing arts. Many Americans resented their subordinate role in the transatlantic equation and, as earnest republicans, felt compelled to sever the ties that still connected the two nations. At the same time, the pull of Britain’s centripetal orbit remained strong, so that Americans also harbored an unseemly, almost desperate need for validation from the nation that had given rise to their republic.

The tensions inherent in this paradoxical relationship are the focus of Unfinished Revolution. Conflicted and complex, American attitudes toward Great Britain provided a framework through which citizens of the republic developed a clearer sense of their national identity. Moreover, an examination of the transatlantic relationship from an American perspective suggests that the United States may have had more in common with traditional developing nations than we have generally recognized. Writing from the vantage point of America’s unrivaled global dominance, historians have tended to see in the young nation the superpower it would become. Haynes here argues that, for all its vaunted claims of distinctiveness and the soaring rhetoric of "manifest destiny," the young republic exhibited a set of anxieties not uncommon among nation-states that have emerged from long periods of colonial rule.


"Unfinished Revolution is an impressive reinterpretation of United States history between 1815 and 1850, built around the theme of American Anglophobia. In a time when the British Empire was the world's superpower, most Americans resented British condescension and feared British aims, even while many of them also hoped to replicate British industrialization, humanitarian reform, and literary accomplishments. Versatile and learned, Sam Haynes is helping U.S. history overcome its parochialism and become more global."

Daniel Walker Howe, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815–1848

"This is one of those rare works that encourages readers to see the past in a wholly new way, to see totally unsuspected connections between developments in art and politics, to appreciate in a new light the role of cultural values and emotions as shaping forces in history.... This era of American history will never look the same again."

Steven Mintz, Columbia University, author of Moralists and Modernizers: America’s Pre–Civil War Reformers

Sam W. Haynes' Unfinished Revolution takes the reader through familiar territory from an entirely different perspective. Haynes shows, very convincingly, that Great Britain remained a significant part of American history well after Andrew Jackson's great victory at New Orleans.

Lucas A. Powe, Jr., University of Texas Law School · History Book Club

About the Author(s): 

Sam W. Haynes is Professor in the Department of History and the Director of the Center for Greater Southwestern Studies at the University of Texas Arlington.

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