Securing the Revolution: Ideology in American Politics, 1789-1815
This book addresses a special kind of politics created by the success of the American Revolution. The framing and adoption of a new federal Constitution in 1787-1788 resolved only some of the problems that plagued the nation’s politics throughout the Confederation period. It did help to fund the war debt and gain access to the European commercial empires, but the Constitution did not address the many concerns regarding political turmoil, government power and the general feeling of vulnerability that the Revolution instilled in the populace.
Richard Buel, Jr. takes an interesting approach in “Securing the American Revolution,” creating a highly coherent and educational text. Buel’s approach was shaped by the assumption that public opinion was the single most important ingredient in the politics of the first party system. He treats the leading actors in this drama as the representatives of political principles rather than human beings in their own right, because that is how the public saw them. Similarly, Buel portrays parties as more homogenous than they really were because they seemed so to the people at the time.
Because of Buels’ emphasis on ideology and public opinion, he bases most of this account on public sources. This enables readers to learn from actual documents that the Americans of the Revolution had access to, particularly newspapers with wide circulations, reports of congressional debates, diplomatic correspondence, and presidential addresses.
Beul, Richard, "Securing the Revolution: Ideology in American Politics, 1789-1815" (2000). Emeritus History Books. 9.