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Fight for Freedom

The American Revolution for beginners.

Mar 28, 2011, Vol. 16, No. 27 • By EDWARD ACHORN
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It’s hard to explain the meaning of the Revolution without discussing its aftermath, and Allison offers a brief recounting of the Constitution’s crafting and ratification, and Washington’s first acts as the first president. Of course, a book such as this bears a certain resemblance to the “Classics Illustrated” comics I devoured as a kid: You get the general idea of great literature, but not the flavor. At the same time, if it encourages further reading, this volume is doing its job. In these pages, Allison rockets us forward all the way to July 4, 1826, and the deaths of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson—50 years to the day after the country’s birth through the publication of the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson had hoped that the Fourth of July would serve as a signal to the world, “arousing men to burst the chains under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings and security of self-government.”

Of course, many are still determined to bind themselves, through ignorance and superstition, to forms of government by which elites make decisions that belong to every human being. Transplanted to the Middle East, at the moment, the American Revolution is an ongoing fight, as a new generation seeks to assume the blessings and security of self-government.

Edward Achorn, deputy editorial page editor of the Providence Journal, is the author of Fifty-nine in ’84: Old Hoss Radbourn, Barehanded Baseball and the Greatest Season a Pitcher Ever Had.

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