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Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness : Britain and the American dream

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness : Britain and the American dream / Peter Moore.
First American edition.
New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2023.
Copyright Notice Date
Physical Description
x, 572 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm.
"With Benjamin Franklin, William Strahan, Samuel Johnson, John Wilkes, Catharine Macaulay, Thomas Paine."
"A history of the British thinkers who developed the Enlightenment-era ideas and ideals that drove the American Revolution"-- Provided by publisher.
"The most famous phrase in American history once looked quite different. "The preservation of life, & liberty, & the pursuit of happiness" was how Thomas Jefferson put it in the first draft of the Declaration, before the first ampersand was scratched out, along with "the preservation of." In a statement as pithy--and contested--as this, a small deletion matters. And indeed, that final, iconizing revision was the last in a long chain of revisions stretching across the Atlantic and back. The precise contours of these three rights have never been pinned down--and yet in making these words into rights, Jefferson reified the hopes (and debates) not only of a group of rebel-statesmen but also of an earlier generation of British thinkers who could barely imagine a country like the United States of America. Peter Moore's Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness tells the true story of what may be the most successful import in US history: the "American dream." Centered on the friendship between Benjamin Franklin and the British publisher William Strahan, and featuring figures including the cultural giant Samuel Johnson, the ground-breaking historian Catharine Macaulay, the firebrand politician John Wilkes, and revolutionary activist Thomas Paine, this book looks at the generation that preceded the Declaration in 1776. Everyone, it seemed, had "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" on their minds; Moore shows why, and reveals how these still-nascent ideals made their way across an ocean and started a revolution" -- Provided by publisher.
Added to Catalog
October 31, 2023
Includes bibliographical references (pages 513-552) and index.
Prologue: The Fourth of July
Life (1740-1759). A new man ; The race ; North star ; Sparks ; The Rambler ; Escape
Liberty (1762-1768). Scribblers and etchers ; No. 45 ; Infamous ; News-writers ; A seven-year lottery ; Vox populi
Happiness (1771-1776). A strange distemper ; Those who rush across the sea ; Letters ; Atlanticus ; Common Sense ; Plots
Epilogue: Crossings.

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