Two Revolutions and the Constitution

My new book has been described as “utterly fascinating” and “an important book”, “… thoroughly accessible to readers of all backgrounds.”

“Two Revolutions and the Constitution: How the English and American Revolutions Produced the American Constitution”

It has been recommended by three giants in the field: John Ferling, Carol Berkin, and Geoffrey Robertson (see below). Two of them describe it as an important book, and the third says that it “…offers a clear and persuasive account of the English roots of America’s constitution and the government that it created. Bravo!”

I am thrilled that the first two reviews of my book have also been very favorable (see below), including saying that the book is “…an utterly fascinating chronicle of advances in liberty and representative government in both England and its New World colonies, from the Magna Carta onward. Two Revolutions and the Constitution is highly recommended…”

james@jamesphilips.net

“Two Revolutions and the Constitution demonstrates that the American constitutional system – federalism, checks and balances, etc. – drew on the colonists’ understanding of British laws and government, although the final product grew from what the Founders felt they had learned about effective governance in the course of the American Revolution and the desperate War of Independence. This important book teaches about the building blocks of history. It demonstrates how ideas spring from experience and events, and from what historical actors concluded were earlier mistakes, in this instance the presumed flaws in the first state and national constitutions.”

— John Ferling, author of “Winning Independence: The Decisive Years of the Revolutionary War, 1778-1781 (2021)

Two Revolutions and the Constitution strikes a much-deserved blow at ‘American Exceptionalism,’ a misguided and self-congratulatory myth that persists in our profession. Philips offers a clear and persuasive account of the English roots of America’s constitution and the government that it created. Bravo!” Carol Berkin, professor of history and author of “A Brilliant Solution: Inventing the American Constitution

james@jamesphilips.net

“An important book which explains hitherto unrecognized connections between early English Republicans and their common law concepts and the foundations of the United States Constitution. It analyzes the struggles against royalism in both countries, and why America seceded and succeeded with help from British legal history.”
— Geoffrey Robertson, international human rights lawyer, and author of “The Tyrannicide Brief: The Story of the Man Who Sent Charles I to the Scaffold

“A fascinating book for an age which has seen the Capitol stormed and the U.K. at the brink of destruction: there has never been a better time to remind ourselves of how exactly these first, deeply-related, Anglo-American revolutions unfolded.”
— James Hawes, author of “The Shortest History of England

The Midwest Book Review (http://www.midwestbookreview.com/lbw/aug_21.htm) has said that the book “…is an analysis of a crucial turning point in history. How did the principle of a republic arise in two nations amid an era of monarchies, and how were those principles codified into a founding document? Written with meticulous attention to detail, yet thoroughly accessible to readers of all backgrounds, Two Revolutions and the Constitution is an utterly fascinating chronicle of advances in liberty and representative government in both England and its New World colonies, from the Magna Carta onward. Two Revolutions and the Constitution is highly recommended for both public and college library history collections.”

The book was also favorably reviewed in the July-August 2021 edition of Quadrant Magazine. That review is behind a paywall. Its conclusion includes: “Philips writes in a simple, clear prose… The book’s importance is… that it offers a well-deserved blow to the exceptionalism that I referred to earlier… It is always valuable to reveal the history of political ideas over time, in this case giving a deep context to the Revolution of 1776 and the achievement of an independent nation with its own written Constitution, instead of its starting point being the Constitution itself as a fait accompli of American genius…”

The book is being distributed globally online. Please check your preferred online bookseller. Some sellers are:

in the USA:

Two Revolutions and the Constitution: How the English and American Revolutions Produced the American Constitution – 9780761872689 (rowman.com)

Two Revolutions and the Constitution: How the English and American Revolutions Produced the American Constitution: Philips, James D. R.: 9780761872689: Amazon.com: Books

in Australia:

Two Revolutions and the Constitution: How the English and American Revol: How the English and American Revolutions Produced the American Constitut: James D. R. Philips: Amazon.com.au: Books

Two Revolutions and the Constitution, How the English and American Revolutions Produced the American Constitution by James D. R. Philips | 9780761872689 | Booktopia

in the UK:

Two Revolutions and the Constitution: How the English and American Revolutions Produced the American Constitution by James D. R. Philips | WHSmith

The American system of law and government is not perfect – but it has done so much to unleash human potential and prevent tyranny and oppression.  It has had a global impact both because of the American wealth and power that it has enabled, and as an ideal and example for all people trying to tread the path from oppression and tyranny to rights and freedom.

The American Constitution is America’s fundamental law. Its adoption established a revolutionary new system of government, secured the gains of the American Revolution, and enabled the American nation.

Why does the Constitution provide for a partly national and partly federal system? Why does it establish three branches of government (Congress, the President and the Courts) and allocate separate powers to each of them? Why does it check and balance the different branches, including giving Congress the power to impeach? Why does it provide for elections, and for the electoral college?

The answers are found in the history that produced the American Revolution, and in the brilliant adaptations and innovations in the system of government developed by the Framers. The history includes that the War of Independence was the third great rebellion against an English king in 130 years.

Before the American Revolutionary period, Americans thought that the British constitution was the best in the world. Under the British system and their colonial charters, Americans already enjoyed greater liberties and opportunities than any other people, including the British.

Learning about the U.S. Constitution’s origins, including its roots in the British system, deepens our understanding of this revolutionary and foundational document, and therefore about why American government is structured and works as it does.

For these reasons I have written a book which describes the deep origins of the American Constitution. I am a lawyer of many years’ experience, but the book is not dense in legal detail.  I tell the story of how and why the Constitution emerged as it did, focusing on the Revolutionary period but also going back to the origins of the British system of government.

I hope you enjoy it.


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