To Begin the World Over Again How the American Revolution Devastated the Globe Matthew Lockwood

Publication date:
10 Sep 2019
Yale University Press
512 pages: 235 x 156mm
16 color illus. + 1 map
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The first exploration of the profound and often catastrophic impact the American Revolution had on the rest of the world

While the American Revolution led to domestic peace and liberty, it ultimately had a catastrophic global impact—it strengthened the British Empire and led to widespread persecution and duress. From the opium wars in China to anti-imperial rebellions in Peru to the colonization of Australia—the inspirational impact the American success had on fringe uprisings was outweighed by the influence it had on the tightening fists of oppressive world powers.

Here Matthew Lockwood presents, in vivid detail, the neglected story of this unintended revolution. It sowed the seeds of collapse for the preeminent empires of the early modern era, setting the stage for the global domination of Britain, Russia, and the United States. Lockwood illuminates the forgotten stories and experiences of the communities and individuals who adapted to this new world in which the global balance of power had been drastically altered.

Matthew Lockwood is assistant professor of history at the University of Alabama and the author of The Conquest of Death: Violence and the Birth of the Modern English State.

“Lockwood . . . has a keen eye for a good yarn, and there are enthralling glimpses here of individual lives buffeted by the American Revolution.”—Alex von Tunzelmann, New York Times Book Review

“To Begin the World Over Again is a captivating journey through the decade in which America wrestled with the British Crown. Readers will enjoy Matthew Lockwood's vivid descriptions” —Elizabeth Cobbs, Times Higher Education Supplement

"Lockwood constructs an immensely readable narrative that tracks the global impact of the Revolution"—All About History

To Begin the World Over Again is a thought-provoking and fascinating account of the American Revolution’s unintended consequences. It is also a delightfully readable book whose enchanting prose almost made this professor late to his own lecture.”—Mark G. Spencer, Times Literary Supplement

“A stunning narrative about the violent aftershocks of the American Revolution.  Lockwood shows how the American revolution set off a global war in its own image that carried revolutionary violence and imperial repression not only to Europe but also to South America, India, Australia and Africa. His book movingly portrays the consequences for indigenous and subject peoples all over the globe, including those in the new United States.”—Stella Tillyard, author of Aristocrats

“Matthew Lockwood is a master story-teller, deftly showcasing the lives of ordinary people alongside the impact of historical ideas and events. To Begin the World Over Again is enthralling, provocative, and wonderfully enlightening.”—Amanda Foreman, author of Georgiana

"It has seemed to each generation that the no more can be said about the American Revolution; and then along comes a book like this, to tell us we have been looking in the wrong places."—Robert J. Allison, author of The American Revolution

“A major contribution to our understanding of the American Revolution. Lockwood demonstrates that American independence had global ramifications. He does so with an eye for telling detail and graceful prose and deserves a wide audience of specialists and general readers.”—Francis D. Cogliano, author of Thomas Jefferson

“In an apt metaphor, Matthew Lockwood likens the American Revolution to a stone cast into a pond, creating a splash whose ripples radiated outward to shake up the whole world.  In addition to inspiring an "age of democratic revolutions" in France and Latin America, the wartime alliance with France caused a domino effect of warfare between Britain and several European powers that reverberated as far away as India.  And in response to the loss of its American colonies, Britain reorganized and expanded imperial expansion elsewhere until the sun truly did not set on the empire.  Lockwood untangles this complex story in a tour de force of historical scholarship.”—James M. McPherson, author of Battle Cry of Freedom