In This Review
The Fall of the First British Empire: Origins of the War of American Independence

The Fall of the First British Empire: Origins of the War of American Independence

By Robert W. Tucker and David C. Hendrickson

Johns Hopkins, 1982, 450 pp.

Conventional historical wisdom holds that Great Britain lost the American colonies because of a blundering insistence on imposing new controls in place of the easy-going status quo which had prevailed before the imperial victory over France in 1763. Robert Tucker, a distinguished scholar of current foreign policy, and his younger colleague challenge this wisdom in this skillful excursion into the 18th century. They argue that the requirements of imperial defense, as rationally perceived in London, were incompatible with the rising colonial insistence on forms of autonomy which differed little from independence.