Harry Braverman on the class forces of the American Revolution

Mark Lause MLause at cinci.rr.com
Tue Sep 2 20:43:40 MDT 2003

I'd take issue with Braverman in most aspects of this.  Where I suspect
overgeneralizations, these overgeneralizations are fairly groundless.
Again, the idea of a common merchant or planter interest among thirteen
different colonies is debatable enough.

Still, there can't be any serious question but that the American
Revolution was detonated first and foremost by the Bostonians.  The most
the British saw of the planter class in those early disputes was their
retreating backsides.  The trouble was in the port cities.

...not so much the merchants but the artisans were the epicenter.  The
bourgeoisie (such as it was) was mercantile rather than manufacturing.
The restrictions on making commodities rubbed the artisans the wrong way
far more than the merchants.

As to the planters, my impression has always been that those in Maryland
and Virginia were pretty adamant in the final analysis.  As one moves
into the deeper South, though, they were increasingly Tory.  In South
Carolina, the burden of carrying the Revolutionary cause fell most
heavily to the social riff-raff (including blacks) who crippled the
British effort in the South and paved the way for American victory at

Mark L.

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