The catalog announcing the Harvard University Press books slated for publication in Spring 1965 included notice of the forthcoming release of Volume I of Pamphlets of the American Revolution, 1750-1776. In addition to the texts of 14 pamphlets selected for their importance in the growth of American political and social ideas, their role in the debate with England over constitutional rights, and their literary merit, that first volume would include a book-length General Introduction from editor Bernard Bailyn entitled “The Transforming Radicalism of the American Revolution.” As described in the catalog copy:
Mr. Bailyn explains that close analysis of this literature allows one to penetrate deeply into the colonists’ understanding of the events of their time; to grasp more clearly than is otherwise possible the sources of their ideas and their motives in rebelling; and, above all, to see the subtle, fundamental transformation of eighteenth-century constitutional thought that took place during these years of controversy and that became basic doctrines in America thereafter.
Grasp more clearly, indeed. When we published Bailyn’s revised and greatly expanded iteration of that original essay as The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution two years later, the book was awarded both the Pulitzer Prize for History and the Bancroft Prize. Ideological Origins has become a classic of American historical literature, and we celebrate its lasting significance this month with the publication of a new fiftieth anniversary edition. The volume includes all of the material from 1992’s expanded edition, along with a new preface in which Bailyn describes revisiting the original text these many decades later, remarking on themes and features that strike him more clearly now than before.
We’ve also invited a series of reflections on Ideological Origins and its legacies from historians who’ve spent their careers considering the same questions that have so animated Bailyn’s work, some of whom will be joining Bailyn himself this week at a Yale conference commemorating the anniversary; their comments follow below. We’re grateful for their time and their thoughts as we celebrate the long life of this remarkable book.
Mary Sarah Bilder, Founders Professor of Law and Michael and Helen Lee Distinguished Scholar, Boston Law School:
The Ideological Origins won the Bancroft and the Pulitzer prizes but when I see Bernard Bailyn we don’t talk about that book. It was, of course, brilliant, but I think of it as an artistic study for the book published five years later, The Ordeal of Thomas Hutchinson. Ideological Origins accomplished all sorts of things—investigating under-appreciated sources, laying out the revolutionaries’ ideas, recovering the way that arguments shifted and grew—but it did not worry overly about recapturing the uncertainty of the moment. Years later Bailyn would revisit politics and the creative imagination to emphasize that these “aspirations had no certain outcomes” but in Ideological Origins there was a certain inevitability. Indeed, Bailyn noted that there were articulate opponents, but “the future lay not” with such men.
Only in The Ordeal would Bailyn focus on these losers and, in doing so, come to articulate the historian’s quest: to see “the latent limitations within which everyone involved was obliged to act; the inescapable boundaries of action; the blindness of the actors—in a word, the tragedy of the event.” Without first writing Ideological Origins, Bailyn never would have written The Ordeal. And so, on this commemorative anniversary—in a year that has reminded us about the absence of inevitability in history—I write about Bailyn’s masterpiece, the one we return to talk about when we have lunch, The Ordeal of Thomas Hutchinson.
I will begin by confessing that, when I first read the book in graduate school in my twenties, it was rather lost on me. I found the young Hutchinson self-righteous and deluded; the old Hutchinson, self-absorbed and rather pathetic. My contemporaries gossiped (supposedly on the best information) that the book actually was about Harvard during the Vietnam and Nixon era, not the struggle over the colonies. And the book’s lesson on historical craft was dismissed with the audacity and foolishness of the young, for we would never write a book about deserved losers.
Now, when I read The Ordeal, my own age close to that of Bailyn when he wrote it, I am in awe. My favorite chapters come at the end when Hutchinson is in England. Bailyn elegantly and eloquently describes Hutchinson’s sense of disorientation and confusion about the world at the end of his life. The historian’s sieve captures the moments: Hutchinson’s anxiety about his family across the ocean; his grief at his daughter’s slow death; his queasy, obsequious fumbling on the margins of British politics; his repeated attempts to correct his version of the historical record; his retreat from reality into a revised history of family and former home.
In these final pages, Bailyn’s voice blurs. The reader is no longer sure whether she is inside or outside Hutchinson’s head. Hutchinson the traitor vanishes; Hutchinson the loyalist disappears; instead, Hutchinson is simply an old man struggling to understand. As I have aged, Hutchinson’s struggle to work out what it meant to be an American becomes more poignant, and Bailyn’s quest to recapture this struggle as a historian becomes more profound.
Let me note, I still don’t find Hutchinson as appealing as Bailyn did. I see this period through the perspective of colonists such as the Rhode Islanders. They never believed that the transatlantic constitutional system was created as an intellectually logical system with one supreme authority. They did not think about their world in terms of imperium in imperio.
Bailyn accepts, or at least does not challenge, Hutchinson’s intellectual starting point that Parliament, or at least the King in Parliament, had to be supreme. Running under the surface of The Ordeal is Bailyn’s preference for the logical argument. Hutchinson is the one who worked out the logic correctly. The colonists—no matter the popular appeal—were simply wrong in their belief that they had liberties or sovereignty or charters or any rights inviolable. The eventual triumph of the illogical argument over the logical one becomes the tragedy and the ordeal. Ordeal, of course, refers to Hutchinson’s unpleasant experience and, in the more ancient meaning, of his innocence in holding this belief in the arc of history.
But what if Hutchinson was wrong about this logic? What if the colonial relationship was not a matter of logic but of historical practices? What if a lived system of dual sovereignties collided with the pressure of eighteenth-century political theory? What if Hutchinson’s beliefs were not logic but rigid formalism? What if Hutchinson was wrong?
The greatness of the book lies in this complexity. A reader can disagree with Bailyn’s interpretation of Hutchinson and yet nevertheless embrace Hutchinson’s importance as a loser and Bailyn’s recognition of the loser’s importance. For me, Hutchinson represents one path out of the moment of recognition of dual claims to authority. And Hutchinson’s inability to perceive that his logical path will make him the loser allows us to glimpse, for one brief moment, the past in which neither side knew who would win.
It is this quest to which Bailyn has repeatedly returned. As he wrote in Sometimes an Art, “The past is a different world, and we seek to understand it as it actually was.” The problem, however, is that “[k]nowing the outcome, we feel it to be our obligation to show the process by which the known eventuality came about.” It is impossible to recapture the past precisely: the extant historical record favors the paths that won because those records are saved; the historical profession favors histories that are relevant in explaining how our world came to be; the general public prefers popular histories in which people in corsets and breeches struggle with recognizable versions of modern problems. But as the historian ages, the central quest becomes ever more interesting. The historian realizes that the world changes in ways that are unpredictable. And yet, moments after unexpected events, people are already revising their memories to persuade themselves that they knew the outcome.
The Ordeal stands as a critical reminder of the historian’s need to strive to see the different past. Hutchinson was a loser—and a rather unsympathetic one at that—but in the grand arc of history, we all are likely losers on one matter or other. And in those moments of loss, of confusion, of bewilderment, of sensing ourselves standing on the losers’ side, we glimpse the historian’s grail.
Richard D. Brown, Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of History, Emeritus, University of Connecticut:
The impact of Bailyn’s Ideological Origins was immediate, profound, and enduring. Richard Hofstadter believed it was “brilliantly done” and, he was sure, Bailyn’s work would swiftly become “indispensable reading matter for students of the American Revolution and of the American mind.” And so, indeed, it has. It supplanted Carl Becker’s History of the Political Parties in the Province of New York, 1760-1776 (1909), wherein he famously characterized the Revolution as not only a movement for home rule, but also a struggle over who should rule at home. It displaced Arthur M. Schlesinger’s Colonial Merchants and the American Revolution (1918) and J. Franklin Jameson’s The American Revolution Considered as a Social Movement (1926); moreover, with Bailyn’s added chapter on the Constitution in the 1992 edition, Ideological Origins set aside Charles Beard’s An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution (1913). Bailyn rebutted the Progressive historians indirectly by re-casting the imperial conflict as one based on imagined and anticipated tyranny, rather than concrete economic and political interests. Accepting the wisdom of historians of the “imperial school,” that the American colonies were not actually suffering from grievous British tyranny, Bailyn asked why colonists complained so vociferously about oppression.
Some Progressive historians, Schlesinger, John C. Miller, and Philip Davidson especially, had explained Patriot complaints as propaganda, rationalizations created to arouse colonists to defend elite interests. But when Bailyn analyzed the literature of the Patriot opposition, tracing its roots among Britain’s radical Whigs, he was skeptical. If, after all, the arguments were merely rationalizations for opposition to, say, the Stamp Act, how could those views have been expressed long before the Stamp Act, as far back as the 1720s and 1730s? As Bailyn immersed himself in the Patriot literature, he became convinced that the propaganda idea was faulty; it could not explain the fully-developed, comprehensive political ideology that so many colonists embraced long before as well as long after the imperial conflict over taxation.
Bailyn’s beautifully articulated exposition and argument, which made his book appealing to an exceptionally wide audience, was met by a handful of presentist critiques. Some claimed Bailyn made the Revolution into an ideological movement only, comparable to the ideological conflict of the Cold War era. Some argued Bailyn’s Revolution became a matter of elites only—an intellectuals’ revolution—because of his attention to writings by elite colonists. Where were the common people, the slaves, and the women? And what about economic interests and the redistribution of political power? Bailyn’s critics argued that if the American Revolution was, as they believed, truly a revolution it could not possibly have been only a matter of intellectual arguments or radical Whig ideology.
For the most part these arguments are beside the point because they misunderstand, one might almost say deliberately misunderstand, Bailyn’s arguments. Ideological Origins never claimed to be a comprehensive history of the American Revolution. Instead it sought to identify how the colonists’ mindset came to identify British policies as tyranny initially, and then to explain how they first thought about opposing Britain before going on to construct a new American republic. For Bailyn the question was how colonists came to identify British affairs as a mortal threat. Using the now-obsolete metaphor of a telephone switchboard—today, we might say software program—Bailyn argued that British actions fit precisely the Radical Whig paradigm of impending tyranny. Ultimately, when separation required colonists to form independent governments, they applied radical Whig principles to their long-established, quasi-republican political structures. And in his 25th anniversary addendum, Bailyn argued that in the Constitution of 1787 they experienced a “fulfillment” of their republican ideology.
Neo-Progressive critics have claimed that Bailyn’s “transforming radicalism of the American Revolution,” the title of the essay that supplied the foundation of the book, described a bloodless, cerebral “revolution,” not the actual bloody conflict of the 1770s and 1780s. What they overlook, and what has been broadly influential for the scholarship of the past 50 years, is Bailyn’s longest chapter, “The Contagion of Liberty.” Here Bailyn laid out exactly what was so profoundly revolutionary about the impact of the ideology. America’s revolution in ideology undermined the foundations of slavery, religious establishments, aristocratic politics, and indeed all hierarchical patterns of deference. Bailyn recognized that there was no immediate social revolution; slavery, religious establishments, as well as hierarchy in politics and society all survived independence and the Constitution. But in the new republican political order their legitimacy—once taken for granted—now faced profound challenges. As Bailyn put it, “the details of the new world were not as yet clearly depicted.” Yet as dozens of scholars have demonstrated in the past two generations, Bailyn’s insight was accurate: Revolutionary ideology redirected the arc of American history toward liberty and equality.
Eric Hinderaker, Professor of History at the University of Utah:
Fifty years after its initial publication, Bernard Bailyn’s Ideological Origins has been so fully assimilated into our common understanding of the era of the American Revolution that it can be hard to recover what made it so significant at the time it appeared. It is one of the most influential works of history to appear in the twentieth century, yet it has become surprisingly difficult to say why.
Ideological Origins is founded on a close reading of several hundred pamphlets published in Britain’s North American colonies in the years leading up to independence. The enduring power of the book derives from Bailyn’s sustained and insightful analysis of this material. It is a pleasure to follow him as he winds through the labyrinthine world of these pamphlets, carefully examining one strand of thought after another. The patterns he uncovers are rich and surprising. Inspired by the contemporaneous work of scholars of eighteenth-century Britain, Bailyn devoted particular attention to the ideas of the British commonwealth tradition, with its obsessive concerns about the exercise of power, the dangers of corruption, and the ubiquity of conspiracy. For many readers, the excavation of these ideas is the book’s most striking and original contribution.
But Ideological Origins did much more than simply recover the influence of English commonwealth thought in North America. Bailyn’s pamphleteers were not just parroting received ideas, and the ideas were not static. They had a power of their own. Their shapes shifted in response to the evolving logic of events, and they led in unexpected directions. The English obsession with power, corruption, and slavery was grounded in opposition politics. But in North America, these ideas inspired reconsiderations of such foundational principles as representation, rights, and sovereignty. The essential evil of chattel slavery and the legitimacy of equality in public life came into sharp focus for the first time. Even more remarkable than its effectiveness in tracing the English commonwealth tradition into American settings was the brilliant way in which Ideological Origins spun out their implications.
Having said this much, however, we still have not arrived at the book’s most indispensable contribution. More fundamental still was Bailyn’s notion of ideology itself as a powerful unifying force in public life. The term “ideology” was not new in 1967, but it was understood differently then than it is now. It was most often used to denigrate someone else’s ideas and characterize them as partial, debased, or ill-founded. Ideology was an epithet; it was understood to be polemical and delusional in character. Clifford Geertz’s 1964 essay, “Ideology as a Cultural System,” attempted to rescue the notion of ideology from this narrowly dismissive approach. He argued that scholars should take particular ideologies seriously as systems of meaning. By connecting symbols and metaphors to a system’s grammar and logic, it would be possible to gain a deeper appreciation of their power and appeal. This is precisely what Ideological Origins succeeds in doing. It adopts an anthropological understanding of ideology by taking metaphors seriously and excavating their logic. “I began to see a new meaning in phrases that I, like most historians, had readily dismissed as mere rhetoric or propaganda,” Bailyn writes:
“slavery,” “corruption,” “conspiracy.” These inflammatory words were used so forcefully by writers of so great a variety of social statuses, political positions, and religious persuasions; they fitted so logically into the pattern of radical and opposition thought; and they reflected so clearly the realities of life…, that I began to suspect that they meant something very real to both the writers and their readers: that there were real fears, real anxieties, a sense of real danger behind these phrases, and not merely the desire to influence by rhetoric and propaganda the inert minds of an otherwise passive populace.
Thus Bailyn explained how ideas could unite and motivate people of disparate backgrounds, interests, and needs in a single, urgent cause. This was no small achievement. Before Ideological Origins, historians of ideas focused on the writings of prominent men, while historians of ordinary people interpreted their participation in the American Revolution as a response to material conditions. Ideological Origins was revolutionary, above all, because it created a people’s history of the American Revolution that was grounded in ideas, not material grievances, and it traced the outlines of a common cause that transcended the lines of class difference. As Bailyn himself emphasized, not everyone held these ideas. But for those who did, they overrode differences of interest, region, and social status and laid a durable foundation for shared thought and action.
Six years after Ideological Origins, Bailyn published “The Index and Commentaries of Harbottle Dorr.” Dorr was a humble Boston shopkeeper with an unusual hobby: he obsessively collected, annotated, and indexed newspapers from the 1760s and 1770s. In doing so, he articulated his own attitudes and presumptions in a way that mapped onto the system of ideology Bailyn had delineated with extraordinary clarity and specificity. Dorr was obsessive, but he was not deluded. He was attuned to a system of ideas that, for all their idiosyncrasies, were widely shared and powerful enough to change the world.
Mary Beth Norton, Mary Donlon Alger Professor of American History & Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow, Cornell University:
I was a student of Bernard Bailyn’s in the late 1960s, when Ideological Origins was published. I went to graduate school very interested in political theory and intellectual history but not at all interested in Early American history. I found the book inspiring and persuasive in its attention to the ideology of the American revolutionaries and wanted to write something similar about the other side—the loyalists. In the end, my first book, The British-Americans: The Loyalist Exiles in England, 1774-1789, had one chapter dealing with loyalist ideology and their reactions to the revolution.
Despite the impact of Ideological Origins on my own thought, when I started teaching I at first did not assign it to my classes. Instead, my lectures were based on a combination of material from the book, other sources, and my own work on the loyalists. But I changed my practice after realizing that most of the books published in the decades after Ideological Origins responded to it in some way—often by challenging its arguments—and that my students could not fully understand those later works unless they first read Bailyn’s crucial book. I like to present my students with conflicting interpretations of the revolution, to show them how different historians have looked at the same events and publications. Ideological Origins remains foundational to this day as an interpretation to which historians continue to react, whether or not they agree with it. That is a remarkable achievement for a book published half a century ago.
Mark Peterson, Professor of History, University of California, Berkeley:
Bernard Bailyn’s Ideological Origins of the American Revolution is often celebrated (and criticized) for having pushed “ideas” to the forefront of our understanding of the Revolution’s causes, for founding an “ideological school” of interpretation, juxtaposed (in many a graduate seminar) against a competing “neo-progressive school” insisting on the Revolution’s social causes. This has never seemed right to me. Why? Because all historical phenomena, including the writing of works of history, have complex and multiple origins, and the roots of Bailyn’s Ideological Origins can be located in the social history that Bailyn produced in the years before its publication in 1967.
Bailyn was a student of the pioneering social historian Oscar Handlin, and Bailyn’s earliest publications focused on social history themes, particularly the experiences and organizational strategies of seventeenth-century New England merchants: communication and trade patterns, kinship networks, and their “class” interests expressed in politics. His first three books, The New England Merchants in the Seventeenth-Century (1955); Massachusetts Shipping, 1697-1714: A Statistical Study (co-written with Lotte Bailyn, 1959); and Education in the Forming of American Society (1960) were instant classics of social history, and Massachusetts Shipping was among the first works in American history to use computers for statistical analysis.
Bailyn’s occasional essays in the 1950s shared this focus, including reviews of books on the Saugus Ironworks, the merchants of Bristol, England, and the social history of colonial cities. But in a review of the one unabashed work of intellectual history that he addressed in this period, Perry Miller’s The New England Mind: From Colony to Province (1953), Bailyn laid his cards on the table. While praising the brilliance of Miller’s reading of subtly changing “attitudes toward thought,” Bailyn gently faulted Miller for the fact that “the social changes that underlie [new viewpoints] are the real subjects of this volume.” Miller had to extemporize a historiography that did not yet exist—“a detailed, sophisticated history of colonial society”—and necessarily made mistakes in this effort. Drawing on a football metaphor, Bailyn suggested that Miller was “oblige[d] to run far ahead of his interference.” Of course, at this very moment Bailyn was throwing a devastating downfield block, completing his own foundational contribution to a sophisticated history of colonial society with The New England Merchants. But in this review he staked out a claim that social change lay at the cause of those moments “when thinkers, impelled by the changing world about them, blinked their eyes and suddenly saw the familiar thought in a new way.”
Ideological Origins is a book about one such extended moment, when “what were once felt to be defects…could now be seen as virtues.” It argues that the familiar thought of British Whig writers was seen by colonial Americans in a new way. This intellectual change was enabled by colonial social and political transformations that made a radical fringe element within British politics appear mainstream and sensible in an American context. As Bailyn put it, the “dark thoughts” of England’s Radical Whigs, their fears of corruption leading to tyranny:
attained popularity in certain opposition, radical, and nonconformist circles, [but] they had relatively little political influence in the country at large. In the mainland colonies of North America, however, they were immensely popular and influential. There an altered condition of life made what in England were considered to be extreme, dislocating ideas sound like simple statements of fact.
But unlike Miller, Bailyn had created his own social history interference; he had described the “altered condition of life” that explained this intellectual moment.
In the abovementioned works, and in others as well, Bailyn developed explanations of how social and economic circumstances in Britain’s provinces created conditions for the emergence of colonial political cultures that differed dramatically from those of eighteenth-century England. These included: “England’s Cultural Provinces: Scotland and America” (1954), written with John Clive; “Politics and Social Structure in Virginia” (1959), a compressed counterpart to New England Merchants, explaining the emergence of Virginia’s political elite from the tumultuous economic transformations of the seventeenth-century Chesapeake; and “Political Experience and Enlightenment Ideas in Eighteenth-Century America” (1962) where, literally, political experience comes first.
The text of Ideological Origins revels in the social and material origins of its ideological claims. Bailyn dwells on the qualities of the pamphlets themselves; their size, length, cost, and speedy production made them the delivery vehicle of choice for revolutionary ideology. Bailyn’s metaphors for how ideology operates likewise draw on images from the technological and material world: ideology was a “switchboard wired so that certain combinations of events would activate a distant set of signals,” and the “contagion of liberty” allowed ideas about slavery, estabished religion, democracy, and deference to travel like germs, heedless of boundaries or intentions, sweeping “past boundaries few had set out to cross, into regions few had wished to enter.” Works of intellectual history seldom offer such a humble view of the power of ideas as deliberate instruments of human agents seeking to understand and improve their world. Indeed, his “Note on Conspiracy” following the “Logic of Rebellion” chapter seems necessary in part to explain how such ludicrous ideas, so drastically wrong, could nonetheless have had so powerful an influence on sane, successful, and prominent leaders on both sides of the Atlantic.
As we celebrate its 50th anniversary, we might well consider that the lasting power of Ideological Origins is deeply rooted in the colonial American social history that Bailyn’s early work advanced, and in Bailyn’s conviction that the way people think and the power of our ideas are necessarily grounded in the way that we live and the conditions that frame the boundaries of our imaginations.
Jack Rakove, Professor of History, Political Science and, by courtesy, Law, and William Robertson Coe Professor of History and American Studies at Stanford University:
I did not intend to study early American history when I entered graduate school at Harvard in 1969, nor did I know that, back in the spring of 1968, Professor Bailyn had won the Pulitzer Prize in History for The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution. College seniors had many other things to worry about that spring. Book news ranked low on my list of cultural priorities. Making sense of 2001: A Space Odyssey was much more important.
After two years of graduate study, however, I became a student of the American Revolution. Like so many others, I had the academic equivalent of a conversion experience in his famous seminar. Two stints as a teaching assistant in his lecture courses also had a big impact, because there, as in the seminar, one had to wrestle with the proper definition of good historical problems. But perhaps most important, coming to terms with Ideological Origins—making sense of its arguments and understanding how it was reopening the entire field of Revolutionary scholarship—was deeply stimulating. So was the publication of the first books of many of Bailyn’s students: Gordon Wood, Richard D. Brown, Jere Daniell, Mary Beth Norton, and Pauline Maier. Here was an enterprise worth joining!
Since then, I have taught Ideological Origins dozens of times. I say taught in the active sense, for when one knows a book so well, one learns that it defines problems and approaches that students just have to learn to see. One has to say something about the historiography—an otherwise boring topic—because students need to know the differences between Progressive and neo-Whig approaches, and the peculiar difficulties that Americans face in trying to think critically about Revolutionary ideas and principles. Students also need to formulate a working definition of ideology, and to determine what “work” this concept does in explaining why the Revolution occurred.
But these are preliminary matters. They cover the first four chapters of the book, and they do allow students to work out a basic model of revolutionary causation. The Revolution occurred: (a) because a working ideology of attitudes and perceptions was embedded in colonial politics before the1760s; (b) this ideology provided a coherent explanation of the sources of British policy; and (c) this explanation became ever more compelling as successive events confirmed its accuracy.
This was “The Logic of Rebellion.” But the greater challenges in understanding Ideological Origins occur in the final chapters, “Transformation” and “The Contagion of Liberty.” Chapter Four closes with independence and Thomas Paine celebrating America as “an asylum for mankind.” But in Chapter Five we are back in 1765, discussing the array of constitutional issues that defined the revolutionary controversy. Why does this curious transition occur? Why do we retread chronological ground already covered? There are two basic answers to these questions, one straightforward, the other more complex. The preceding ideological chapters offer a political explanation of the Revolution. They explain why the colonists did not view British initiatives as the mere errors of a misinformed government, but instead interpreted imperial policy as a systematic effort to deprive Americans of fundamental rights and liberties. The concept of ideology thus provides an explanation of motives. But it does not explain what the Revolutionary movement was actually about. That was a matter of constitutional norms, relating to ideas about representation, the sources of colonial rights, and the fundamental problem of claims of parliamentary sovereignty over America “in all cases whatsoever.” So ideas turn out to be distinct from ideology, and students need to see that difference.
The more complicated question involves Bailyn’s explanation for how these changes occurred. The progressive positions the colonists developed were not a simple matter of applying advanced Enlightenment ideas to the colonial wilderness. They came instead from the ways in which the escalating controversy enabled the revolutionaries to perceive what had already been accomplished, and to make that perception the basis for working out more advanced ideas, like the idea of written constitutions as fundamental law or the powers of sovereignty as something one could pragmatically divide between governments and not preserve in its indivisible, absolute form.
In the final chapter of the original non-enlarged Ideological Origins, Bailyn inverts this method by examining areas which became surprising elements of controversy: slavery, religious freedom, and, more subtly, issues of democratization and equality. What seems most striking about this chapter is that Bailyn gives the Loyalists the final say about what the Revolution could ultimately mean. That’s the last question I ask my students: why do the Revolution’s “losers” get the final say? The answer is that their inability to grasp the challenge to settled authority that the colonists were making—sometimes explicitly, sometimes latently—was what gave their movement its radical quality. That is why the original Introduction to the Pamphlets of the American Revolution, “The Transforming Radicalism of the American Revolution,” remains as good a title as Ideological Origins, because it equally captures the underlying animus of the book.