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The City-State of Boston: The Rise and Fall of an Atlantic Power, 1630-1865

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A groundbreaking history of early America that shows how Boston built and sustained an independent city-state in New England before being folded into the United States In the vaunted annals of America's founding, Boston has long been held up as an exemplary "city upon a hill" and the "cradle of liberty" for an independent United States. Wresting this iconic urban center fro A groundbreaking history of early America that shows how Boston built and sustained an independent city-state in New England before being folded into the United States In the vaunted annals of America's founding, Boston has long been held up as an exemplary "city upon a hill" and the "cradle of liberty" for an independent United States. Wresting this iconic urban center from these misleading, tired clich�s, The City-State of Boston highlights Boston's overlooked past as an autonomous city-state, and in doing so, offers a pathbreaking and brilliant new history of early America. Following Boston's development over three centuries, Mark Peterson discusses how this self-governing Atlantic trading center began as a refuge from Britain's Stuart monarchs and how--through its bargain with slavery and ratification of the Constitution--it would tragically lose integrity and autonomy as it became incorporated into the greater United States. Drawing from vast archives, and featuring unfamiliar figures alongside well-known ones, such as John Winthrop, Cotton Mather, and John Adams, Peterson explores Boston's origins in sixteenth-century utopian ideals, its founding and expansion into the hinterland of New England, and the growth of its distinctive political economy, with ties to the West Indies and southern Europe. By the 1700s, Boston was at full strength, with wide Atlantic trading circuits and cultural ties, both within and beyond Britain's empire. After the cataclysmic Revolutionary War, "Bostoners" aimed to negotiate a relationship with the American confederation, but through the next century, the new United States unraveled Boston's regional reign. The fateful decision to ratify the Constitution undercut its power, as Southern planters and slave owners dominated national politics and corroded the city-state's vision of a common good for all. Peeling away the layers of myth surrounding a revered city, The City-State of Boston offers a startlingly fresh understanding of America's history.


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A groundbreaking history of early America that shows how Boston built and sustained an independent city-state in New England before being folded into the United States In the vaunted annals of America's founding, Boston has long been held up as an exemplary "city upon a hill" and the "cradle of liberty" for an independent United States. Wresting this iconic urban center fro A groundbreaking history of early America that shows how Boston built and sustained an independent city-state in New England before being folded into the United States In the vaunted annals of America's founding, Boston has long been held up as an exemplary "city upon a hill" and the "cradle of liberty" for an independent United States. Wresting this iconic urban center from these misleading, tired clich�s, The City-State of Boston highlights Boston's overlooked past as an autonomous city-state, and in doing so, offers a pathbreaking and brilliant new history of early America. Following Boston's development over three centuries, Mark Peterson discusses how this self-governing Atlantic trading center began as a refuge from Britain's Stuart monarchs and how--through its bargain with slavery and ratification of the Constitution--it would tragically lose integrity and autonomy as it became incorporated into the greater United States. Drawing from vast archives, and featuring unfamiliar figures alongside well-known ones, such as John Winthrop, Cotton Mather, and John Adams, Peterson explores Boston's origins in sixteenth-century utopian ideals, its founding and expansion into the hinterland of New England, and the growth of its distinctive political economy, with ties to the West Indies and southern Europe. By the 1700s, Boston was at full strength, with wide Atlantic trading circuits and cultural ties, both within and beyond Britain's empire. After the cataclysmic Revolutionary War, "Bostoners" aimed to negotiate a relationship with the American confederation, but through the next century, the new United States unraveled Boston's regional reign. The fateful decision to ratify the Constitution undercut its power, as Southern planters and slave owners dominated national politics and corroded the city-state's vision of a common good for all. Peeling away the layers of myth surrounding a revered city, The City-State of Boston offers a startlingly fresh understanding of America's history.

39 review for The City-State of Boston: The Rise and Fall of an Atlantic Power, 1630-1865

  1. 4 out of 5

    Laura Jordan

    I don't really understand some of the low (one star!) ratings for this book. It's true that it's not exactly a page-turner and Peterson does at times get caught up in some of the minutiae of the period, but overall, it's an incredibly well-researched book with an interesting thesis about the origins of Boston as a political entity and the ways in which its distinct (and at times separate) identity made it struggle within the bonds of the newly-formed United States, particularly over the question I don't really understand some of the low (one star!) ratings for this book. It's true that it's not exactly a page-turner and Peterson does at times get caught up in some of the minutiae of the period, but overall, it's an incredibly well-researched book with an interesting thesis about the origins of Boston as a political entity and the ways in which its distinct (and at times separate) identity made it struggle within the bonds of the newly-formed United States, particularly over the question of slavery.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Meril

  3. 5 out of 5

    Derek A.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Joe Bax

  5. 5 out of 5

    Marv

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rich

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ron Bailey

  8. 4 out of 5

    Alex Bauer

  9. 5 out of 5

    Greg

  10. 5 out of 5

    Katie

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sam Seitz

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jerome

  13. 5 out of 5

    cheryl

  14. 4 out of 5

    Graham

  15. 4 out of 5

    Catherine Hutinett

  16. 4 out of 5

    J.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Marcus Steffanci

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ceil2000

  19. 5 out of 5

    alex guns

  20. 4 out of 5

    megan

  21. 5 out of 5

    Emre Sevinç

  22. 5 out of 5

    Brett

  23. 5 out of 5

    Will

  24. 4 out of 5

    Justin Crane

  25. 5 out of 5

    Samuel

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jason Furman

  27. 4 out of 5

    Laura Naselli

  28. 4 out of 5

    Michael Kovan

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sam

  30. 5 out of 5

    Meredith

  31. 4 out of 5

    John Purcell

  32. 5 out of 5

    Lucia Bailey

  33. 4 out of 5

    Roger

  34. 5 out of 5

    Mehrdad Kermani

  35. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

  36. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Miller

  37. 4 out of 5

    Ruth

  38. 5 out of 5

    Jed

  39. 5 out of 5

    Evan

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