West of the Revolution

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The book by Claudio Saunt “West of the Revolution: An Uncommon History of 1776” offers a precise, short, elegant, and corrective early American history of people living along the North American eastern seaboard. In the year 1776, the thought that comes to mind is the rebellion that was formed by the Americans against the English rule. The book’s main resolve is to show the characters of west America in the 1770s, with the primary goal being how Native American communities did not influence the Native American revolution. Historian Claudio Saunt illustrates the terrible history of America than the wondrous perspective created by many people on the country’s enlightened evolution. According to Saunt (2014), there is a connection between the American west and the American Revolution that shows the continental view of all the people that lived in America.

The American Revolution took place between 1763 and 1783, which was after the seventh year of the British North American war. At the year 1763, some British North American settlers were sent back to the British Empire. Many benefits were collected from the British colonial structure by the British American colonizers (Saunt, 2014). There was the creation of conflict when the American troops tried to reform colonial administrations and enforce tax laws through British policies.

As a result, the relationships between the British colonists and Americans had turned out to be tainted, tense and hostile by the mid-1770s (Saunt, 2014). In the Revolutionary War, which took place during the first two years, the fights occurred in the north of America between the American patriots and British troops. During the Revolutionary War, thirteen troop colonies lacked the professional combat readiness of the army or navy. The colonies were sponsored by local militia who were lightly armed with no uniform and poorly trained.

On June 14, 1775, the presence of this problem led to the appointment of George Washington as the chief commander of the army formed through the continental congress. Typically, during The Revolutionary War, the continental congress feared the continental army as their army was a work in progress. However, George Washington used the regular and state militia to fight the revolutionary wars. The main focus of the book was on nine places namely: the Aleutian island also known as the Alaskas, North Carolina, San Diego, San Francisco, Canada, the black hills of South Dakotas, Osage region in Mississippi River, New Mexico, creek lands in Georgia and Florida.

Additionally, from Alaska, California, and central areas of the North American perspective, the revolutionary era is described as the moment when American natives made daring movements to Siberia, which is in the east. In 1776, this journey initiated the fur trade between Russia, London, and New York as a lucrative business known as the “soft gold” trade (Saunt, 2014). During the revolutionary war, there was distrust and violence from the fur trade. The Russians used a brutal mode of doing business where they took hostages and slaughtered communities in Alaska. Consequently, Spain joined the war when they heard rumors of Russia’s brutal business, which extended to the north of Baja into California. The colonization of California was initiated when Spain initiated a plan to secure its survival in the pacific shore.

One of my most interesting reactions to the book was the history of the “west” of the American Revolution in the 1776 period. On the eve of the revolution, Saunt investigates the history of the speculators in Appalachia. Richard Henderson is historically underscored over the shooting in Cumberland Gap that disrupted the American individualism. Ideally, three hundred years after Columbus, the western environs were well known for the encounters between the Europeans and the Native Americans.  According to Saunt (2014), during the revolutionary war, the Native American communities saw their political positions as necessary. However, even though famous events were happening towards the east, the traditional narrative of 1776 was undermined by Saunt, who uses the winter counts, colonial correspondents, and archives of the Spanish diplomats. These happenings neglect the early American west history in place of the iconic histories of Washington, Paine, and Jefferson.

I think that the most important thing I learned about the shifting power and experience of the first nation’s people in this book is that at the end of every war, there is an agreement and peace treaty in the end. In this case, during the American Revolution war, the British emperor ruled over the region, for they had great power at the seashores. The British preserved power even after the victories witnessed by Washington at Princeton, New Jersey, and Trenton. However, patriotic forces gained victory in New York, and within a short period, France signed business and alliance treaties with America. At this period, the revolutionary war established a turning point where the French and Americans pounced on the British forces who surrendered in Virginia. Finally, on September 10, 1783, the Americans and British agreed and signed a peace treaty known as the Peace of Paris (Saunt, 2014). The treaty between the Americans, French, and British introduced favorable conditions to the United States.  

I have also found that the imperial rulers of the Spanish, Russian and British where the Spanish were in pursuit of new technologies, catholic faith, modern artillery and demographic end of the Native Americans as well as controlling the pacific coast and natural harbors of Northern San Diego (Saunt, 2014). Also, the Russians were responsible for the pursuit of fur along the Alaskan region, which was known as the Aleutian Islands. Simultaneously, the British reigned in the east of America, where they used to trade as a way of shifting power in the revolutionary war. Therefore, the shifting power and experiences witnessed by the first nation’s people in the book is after the formation of peace treaties and alliances that created a comprehensive narrative of a non-colonial America.

Another response to the book is the history of the fur trade, which is essential for more Americans to know is how the Russians used the fur trade to grow their dominance in America and the hunting areas rapidly. For many decades the Russian business was intact and undisturbed by other European nations. The fur trade monopoly was present in America before the Spanish and British governments were concerned with the presence of the Russian troops in north pacific. Finally, a Russian American company was formed after the plummeting of the animal population in the northern areas. The sailing vessels also reduced in Alaska, and this increased the long voyage costs. The joint forces of the Russian-American Company made it possible for other trades such as the use of the coastal areas of North America to colonize uninhabited lands, and mine minerals (Saunt, 2014). Therefore, the company was responsible for the Russian settlement in America through the control of trade and discovery.

On the other hand, the book’s most surprising aspects were the use of Russians as the essential rulers in the American war from Saunt’s perspective. For instance, the joint American-Russian Company controlled trade, fur production, and settlement in northern America intensively. Saunt analyses the Russian captain on his atrocious expansion of the fur trade networks by using otters, beavers, and foxes in the Chinese marketplace (Saunt, 2014). Most northern American species were lost during this period through continued hunting by the English and French countries. This aspect of the book is surprising because the continued rivalry between the European countries was fused through peace treaties signed by the Americans, French and British countries.

The overall reflection of the book is that the idea I had about the early American history was changed after reading the book. The western revolution in America through the peace treaty was the cure for many issues in America. The racial differences were also solved through peace treaties between the American, French, and English governments. As a result, trade was the only way that alliances and power would shift back to the Americans. In conclusion, of all the parties involved in the revolutionary war, the events that occur in 1776 show the colonists’ revolution in the east of America as one of the main developments that had tremendous consequences on America and its development.   


Saunt, C. (2014). West of the Revolution: An Uncommon History of 1776. WW Norton & Company.

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