Drawing extensively on pamphlets, newspapers, and personal correspondence, Norton reconstructs colonial political discourse as it happened, showing the vigorous campaign mounted by conservatives criticizing congressional actions. But by then it was too late. In early 1775, governors throughout the colonies informed colonial officials in London that they were unable to thwart the increasing power of the committees and their allied provincial congresses. Although the Declaration of Independence would not be formally adopted until July 1776, Americans, even before the outbreak of war in April 1775, had in effect "declared independence" by obeying the decrees of their new provincial governments rather than colonial officials.
Mary Beth Norton is the author of five books and co-editor of several others. Her textbook, A People and a Nation, a survey of U.S. history, written with five other authors, has been published in ten editions and has sold more than 500,000 copies. Norton is the Mary Donlon Alger Professor Emerita of American History at Cornell University. She lives in Ithaca, New York.
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