Quotes by: Edmund Morgan

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The Puritans left behind so full a record of what they thought and did that scholars cannot resist the temptation to make the most of it.
Edmund Morgan
In France, where Franklin had lived from 1776 to 1785, he had won an extraordinary place in the public mind. The French had lionized him to the point of absurdity - or so at least his colleagues in the American mission thought.
Edmund Morgan
History, at its best, always tells us as much indirectly about ourselves as it does directly about our predecessors, and it is often most revealing when it deals with episodes and phenomena that we find repulsive.
Edmund Morgan
Cotton Mather is one of those classic figures of American history who can't be left out. One has to explain him or explain him away, redeem him or denounce him.
Edmund Morgan
Few words in any language carry such a load of meaning as 'honor.' It is an old word, unchanged even in its spelling from classical Latin to modern English. Spoken or written, it does not seem to require much explanation; most people think they know what it means.
Edmund Morgan
The starting point for the new history, both in Europe and America, has been the record of births, marriages, and deaths, which most literate societies preserve in one form or another. In colonial America, surviving records of this kind - as of every other kind - are most abundant for New England.
Edmund Morgan
In 1787, many Americans were convinced that the 'perpetual union' they had created in winning independence was collapsing. Six years earlier, in the Articles of Confederation, the thirteen state governments had surrendered extensive powers to a congress of delegates from each state legislature.
Edmund Morgan
The first English settlers of North America knew they were making history. New Englanders in particular were so sure of it that they started writing their own accounts of themselves as soon as they got here.
Edmund Morgan
Why consider debates in the English House of Commons in 1628 along with documents on American developments in the late eighteenth century? The juxtaposition is not capricious, because the Commons during this period generated many of the ideas that were later embodied in the government of the United States.
Edmund Morgan
So many able historians have worked over seventeenth-century New England that one would think there was little left to be learned from the people who lived there - fewer than 100,000 at the end of the century. Seldom, apart perhaps from the Greeks and Romans, have so few been studied by so many.
Edmund Morgan
What was the American Revolution? The people who joined to carry it out had different views of what they had done.
Edmund Morgan
Both European and American historians have done away with any conceptual limits on what in the past needs and deserves investigating. The result, among other things, has been a flood of works on gender history, black history, and ethnic history of all kinds.
Edmund Morgan
When Landon Carter, a Virginia plantation owner, read the Declaration of Independence two days after it was issued, he wondered whether its ringing affirmation of equality meant that slaves must be freed. If so, he confided to his diary, 'You must send them out of the country, or they must steal for their support.'
Edmund Morgan
The men and women who occupied the east coast of North America between 1607 and 1800 have been more closely scrutinized than any other collection of people in American history.
Edmund Morgan
Apart from the intrinsic interest of the complex system of beliefs the Puritans carried with them, their lives give a clue to what it meant at the beginning to be American. And the level of scholarship dealing with them has reached a point where it can address the human condition itself.
Edmund Morgan
Washington presided at the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and is often credited with its success. But he had no known part in drafting its provisions.
Edmund Morgan
Between 1776 and 1789, Americans replaced a government over them with a government under them. They have worried ever since about keeping it under. Distrust of its powers has been more common and more visible than distrust of the imperial authority of England ever was before the Revolution.
Edmund Morgan
The American Revolution was carried out in the name of the people, and it was supposedly 'We, the people,' who created the government that Americans still live under.
Edmund Morgan
Vox populi vox dei: the voice of the people is the voice of God. The slogan was useful for those who first attempted to substitute the people for God as the source of political authority. Their attempt was ultimately so successful that God no longer seems to be needed in government.
Edmund Morgan
The southern colonists were not preoccupied with their own historical significance and mostly did not bother even to make the records of births, marriages, and deaths that they required of themselves by law. Nor did they write accounts of what they were up to for the benefit of posterity.
Edmund Morgan
The difference between eccentricity and originality in historical studies is often difficult to detect at first encounter. When a radically new interpretation of a large segment of history makes its appearance, time is needed to sift the evidence.
Edmund Morgan
Everybody knows that Alexander Hamilton was a founding father of the United States, a young father to be sure: only thirty at the time of the Constitutional Convention and just turned thirty-eight when he left behind his brilliant career as Secretary of the Treasury.
Edmund Morgan
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