Independence: The Tangled Roots of the American Revolution

Written by Thomas P. Slaughter
Review by Jo Ann Butler

John Adams wrote to Thomas Jefferson that America’s Revolution “was in the minds of the people, and this was effected between 1760 to 1775, in the course of fifteen years before a drop of blood was drawn at Lexington.” In Independence, Thomas Slaughter demonstrates that the seed of revolution was sown at America’s inception. New England Puritan and Virginia cavalier alike dreamed of self-rule, and resistance to British taxes and oversight began at once.

This meaty history ranges the globe for insights. While England and France skirmish for control of the Caribbean islands and India, America’s colonists chafe under taxes raising revenue for foreign wars which bring them no benefit. New Englanders are drafted for bloody attacks on French Canada. Southerners resist revenuers collecting fees, and high-handed royal governors exacerbate the tensions. Slaughter does a terrific job of bringing the hearts and minds of America’s revolutionaries to life, and placing their causes before readers in the clearest light possible.