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American History / Law / Politics

Constitutional History of the American Revolution, Volume II
The Authority to Tax
John Phillip Reid

"Essential reading for any serious student of the American Revolution."
—Peter S. Onuf, Journal of American History

John Phillip Reid addresses the central constitutional issues that divided the American colonists from their English legislators: the authority to tax, the authority to legislate, the security of rights, the nature of law, the foundation of constitutional government in custom and contractarian theory, and the search for a constitutional settlement.

"Reid does not examine the onrushing [Revolutionary] events from the customary American perspective. Rather, he situates these developments in the context of Parliamentary authority to legislate and assesses English legal theories and practices from the Parliamentary viewpoint. . . . [Reid] provides a fresh, nuanced, and elegant review of the familiar internal versus external tax argument, compact theory, and Parliamentary authority over the colonies."—Choice

John Phillip Reid is professor of law at New York University. His work on American and British legal history has been widely acclaimed for decades. In addition to the Constitutional History of the American Revolution, his many books include The Concept of Liberty in the Age of the American Revolution and The Concept of Representation in the Age of the American Revolution.

Click here for information and to order other volumes of the
Constitutional History of the American Revolution
Volume I: The Authority of Rights

Volume II: The Authority to Tax
Volume III: The Authority to Legislate
Volume IV: The Authority of Law

Media & bookseller inquiries regarding review copies, events, and interviews can be directed to the publicity department at or (608) 263-0734. (If you want to examine a book for possible course use, please see our Course Books page. If you want to examine a book for possible rights licensing, please see Rights & Permissions.)

Red, white and blue cover depicts an eagle grapsing arrows and an olive branch

March 2003

LC: 86-040058 KF
432 pp.  6 x 9

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"Brilliantly executed. . . . a compelling intellectual force that deserves the closest scrutiny."
—George M. Curtis III, American Historical Review

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Updated June 26, 2013

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