CRF Blog

The Idea of America

by Bill Hayes

Pulitzer Prize–winning historian Gordon S. Wood’s book The Idea of America: Reflections on the Birth of the United States argues that the American Revolution was fought over ideas and principles, not over practical disagreement with Britain.

From the New York Times Book Review:

His work has made a difference in one more way. It reinforced the center when it was under heavy attack from both extremes. In a gentle reproof to scholars on the left, Wood has offered evidence that “what is extraordinary about the American Revolution is not . . . the continual deprivation and repression of the mass of ordinary people, but rather their release and liberation.” To conservatives on the right he makes very clear that the Constitution and Bill of Rights were conceived by their framers in dynamic terms, and were intended to grow. [more]