Skip to comments.Book Review: 'West of the Revolution' by Claudio Saunt
Posted on 07/22/2014 6:29:49 AM PDT by Pharmboy
As tea was being dumped in Boston Harbor, momentous changes were taking place across the continent, defining America's future.
The year 1776 stands as the most celebrated date on the American calendar, and for good reason. Embraced by those scant 12 months is not only the signing of the Declaration of Independence but also the Redcoats' retreat from Boston, the Continentals' narrow escape from New York, and George Washington's crossing of the Delaware River to snatch a desperately needed victory at Trenton.
Those storied episodes unfolded within 50 miles of the Atlantic Coast. In his perceptive and original "West of the Revolution," historian Claudio Saunt asks what was going on in the rest of North America during that pivotal year. Quite a lot, as it turns out. And though the events may not be as familiar as the ones back east, they played a crucial role in molding the nation's future.
A case in point is the founding of San Francisco in autumn 1776. Like the Revolution itself, the settlement grew out of Europeans' centuries-long struggle for North America. After Vitus Bering, in 1728, discovered the strait that now bears his name, Russian traders began venturing down America's Pacific Coast in search of sea-otter pelts, the preferred trimming for aristocrats' robes at the Chinese court. To stem a rival empire's encroachment, Spain constructed a chain of missions and presidios in California, including San Diego, Monterrey and San Francisco.
(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...
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