The essays collected in this reader represent the extraordinary vitality of recent historical literature on early America, and suggest ways of synthesizing the vast proliferation of knowledge. Phillip Morgan explores the history of previously neglected groups, and uses methods of historical demography or historical anthropology to yield rich results. As the horizons of scholarship have expanded to encompass the intimate details of everyday life, and the beliefs and ideas of ordinary people, the knowledge gained by these advances are fitted into the broader patterns of interpretation.
These wide-ranging and well-crafted essays not only synthesize new currents in early American history, but push at the boundaries of recent research. While the authors emphasize the theme of colonial diversity, they also manage to chart broad new interpretive frameworks. The volume, as a whole, suggests how recent work in social history is reshaping interpretations of colonial and revolutionary politics. It will be enlightening and stimulating for students and teachers of early America.