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Seeds of Discontent: The Deep Roots of the American Revolution, 1650-1750, by J. Revell Carr

Seeds of Discontent: The Deep Roots of the American Revolution, 1650-1750, by J.

The American Revolution didn’t start with the Tea Party.

For more than 100 years before that, the immigrants who came to America had very cogent reasons for leaving the civilized world. Many were hotheads—rebels against the king and his policies on religion. Others had come to the colonies hoping to make their fortunes and discovered much to their dismay that the king was very interested in taking a cut of their profits through high taxes, particularly on tobacco.

In Virginia, high taxes meant that the small farmers were left landless when they could not pay. Their farms were taken by wealthier landholders and the dispossessed went to the frontier to find new land to support them and their families. Not surprisingly, this meant clashes with the native population, some of which were quite bloody. Royal Governor Berkeley’s refusal to support the frontier farmers with soldiers—and his obvious friendships with the wealthier Tidewater land barons--led to Bacon’s Rebellion against the king’s most powerful representative and was but one example of the tension felt between the colonists and their royal masters’ representatives.

Seeds of Discontent: The Deep Roots of the American Revolution, by J. Revell Carr, examines the early histories of the thirteen colonies and how their very beginnings naturally culminated in the rebellious spirit that sustained the American Revolution during some very dark years. The many resentments between colonists and Crown are very well delineated by Carr.  Events are retold in a way that goes beyond dry recitation of facts—though there are facts aplenty.  The immediacy and importance of political upheavals in the Britain to its colonies are laid out most intriguingly.  The many details, rather than dragging down the narrative, make it lively, indeed, capturing the personalities and viewpoints of the time rather than forcing them into a modern schema.