On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was signed by the Continental Congress. This act was only the first step towards the creation of the United States. The United States then fought a seven year war to cement its independence from England. The successful fight for independence has had a remarkable impact on world history over the past 200 years. The United States gradually transformed itself from a former colony into a superpower. The impact of this revolution cannot be ignored.
Fortunately, many of the best United States historians have written extensively about this conflict. Bernard Bailyn’s Ideological Origins of the American Revolution and Gordon Wood’s The American Revolution are arguably two of the most important United States history books in general. Since these are two of the best known United States history books and almost every booklist on the American Revolution includes them, we have the left them off the list to make space for some other great books. These books are outstanding for a number of different reasons, but most of these books found new ways to look at the same story. By changing our perspective on the Revolution they also to see and think about aspects of American history that we never considered. Here’s our list.
1. Pauline Maier, American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence (Vintage Books, 2012) – Maier’s book does a masterful job both explaining the origins of the Declaration of Independence and how the Second Continental Congress transformed itself into a national government. Maier’s book may be the best book about the Declaration of Independence. It is absolutely essential if you want to understand why the Declaration of Independence was created and what it was designed to accomplish.