This is a study of the formulation of British policy towards the American colonies during the crucial period between the Boston Tea Party of December 1773 and the American Declaration of Independence in July 1776. It is set against the background both of British public opinion and of the developing resistance movement in America. Peter Thomas examines the constraints on British policy-making, and analyses the failure of the colonists either to respond to British
overtures or to produce positive proposals of their own. He shows how the crisis escalated as the Americans moved from constitutional demands to a military response, and finally took the decision to separate from Britain. Tea Party to Independence is a scholarly and
comprehensive exploration of one of the most important phases of American history. It completes Professor Thomas's acclaimed study of British relations with the American colonies, begun in British Politics and the Stamp Act Crisis 1763-1767 (Clarendon Press, 1975) and The Townshend Duties Crisis 1767-1773 (Clarendon Press, 1987).
`the most comprehensive and balanced available analysis of ministerial and parliamentary reactions to American affairs, provided by a scholar whose mastery of the sources is unsurpassed.
Peter Marshall, The Higher
`brings to a triumphant climax a remarkable solo achievement. ... superbly paced and developed historical narrative interspersed by rigorous analysis, not to say trenchant argument ... a magisterial summing up of the problems of colonial policy ... it is difficult indeed to believe that Thomas's account of the central political process will be bettered.'
Paul Langford, Times Literary Supplement
`This well-written and superbly researched book - the author has consulted every major manuscript collection - represents a wholly successful third stage in Peter Thomas's life's work. It is hoped that he will now take the story on, beyond the original parameters of his study, all the way to Yorktown.'
Andrew Roberts, Literary Review
'Professor Thomas provides a deeply researched and persuasive account of the attitude of Lord North's government ... fine study ... All who are interested in the American Revolution must be grateful that the task could only be accomplished in three volumes, since these now constitute the most distinguished single contribution by a British scholar to the story of how America was lost.'
H.M. Scott, History, Oct '92
`This well-researched book chronicling the British side of American independence belongs in every academic library collection.'
J.R. Breihan, Choice
'This book completes a trilogy on the breakdown of relations between Britain and its American colonies from the end of the Seven Years' War to the Declaration of Independence. In their entirety, the volumes represent the most detailed and authoritative account of the unavailing attempts by successive British governments to maintain parliamentary authority over the thirteen colonies.'
John Sainsbury, Brock University, William and Mary Quarterly, July 1992
'Peter Thomas is one of the leading scholars in the field. Readers of the earlier volumes in this series will not be disappointed by Tea Party to Independence. The author displays the same mastery of the manuscript and printed sources and presents the same kind of detailed narrative interspersed with insightful analysis ... his thoroughness is undeniable ... This is a work that no serious scholar of the American Revolution can ignore ... it would
be difficult to imagine a future historian wishing to tackle this subject afresh, or having anything substantial to add should the attempt be made.'
Stephen Conway, University College, London, The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, Vol. 21, No. 1, Jan '93
`With the publication of Tea Party to Independence ... Professor Thomas has finished an impressive trilogy which collectively explores British politics and the relationship between Britain and the American colonies from 1763 to 1776 ... Thomas offers a detailed and lucid discussion of the formulation of British policy towards the colonies which is based upon an intimate knowledge of primary and parliamentary sources ... a cogent and
convincing account of this phase in British politics.'
'If there was any doubt, this book confirms Professor Thomas as the leading interpreter among present writers on the British side of the American Revolution. This is a splendid book.'
Colin Bonwick, University of Keele, British Journal of Eighteenth Century Studies, Spring 1993
John L. Bullion, University of Missouri-Columbia, Albion, Spring '93, Vol. 25, No.1
'Following the high standard Peter D.G. Thomas set in his earlier volumes, in this study he adds much detail to the broad outlines of British policy set down by previous scholars ... superb command of the British political scene.'
J.M. Sosin, University of Nebraska, American Historical Review, April 1993
'Thomas gives his readers a closely argued analysis of decision making at the highest levels of British government ... Thomas's well-crafted narrative both supplements and modifies in significant ways the existing literature on the subject ... Thomas's study successfully enlarges our understanding of the Revolution by showing just how far apart, and why, the two sides really were.'
J.C.A. Stagg, University of Virginia, The Journal of American History, March 1993
'Thomas has ... written a book that, along with the previous two volumes of the trilogy, gives historians valuable insights into the workings of the British government that produced the policies toward its wayward colonies ... it is an important addition to the historiography of the American Revolution.'
Thom A. Armstrong, El Camino College, The Historian Vol. 55, No. 4, Summer 1993
`As in the previous volumes the documentation and the analysis of the motive are thorough and meticulous. In a crowded area of scholarship, where conflicting interpreations have often been reached by historians, Thoams's reappraisals have confirmed some conclusions but cast doubts on a number of others. Professor Thomas has [placed all scholars concerned with the American Revolution yet more extensively in his debt.'
EHR vol 109, issue 434
Britain and America in 1773; Tea Party in Boston; A policy for America: January-March 1774; The coercion of Boston: March 1774; The control of Massachusetts: March-May 1774; The problem of Quebec: May-June 1774; Confrontation: May-September 1774; The challenge of Congress: September-December 1774; The stick and the carrot: British policy in 1775; The outbreak of war: March-July 1775; Rebellion: July-November 1775; The sword and the olive branch: British policy,
November 1775-May 1776; Independence: April-July 1776; Select bibliography; Index