Different Views About the American Revolution: Almost a Miracle by John Ferling and American Creation by Joseph Ellis

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After going through the reviews of the books Almost a Miracle by John Ferling and American Creation by Joseph Ellis, I have realized that there are a number of questions concerning the American Revolution that are most important to modern historians. A notable question is: what should historians make of the men who fought during the Revolution? Other questions include: were American founding fathers perfect and principled individuals or were they flawed and imperfect? Was the Revolution victory well deserved or was it something of a fluke or a result of luck? Were all of the men who participated in the Revolution real patriots or were some of them what would be considered traitors?

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Considering the contents of their books, Joseph Ellis and John Ferling do not agree on how unique the patriot victory was. The two historians have completely different views about the nature of the American Revolution, how it was planned and executed, the character traits of the people who took part in it, and what happened after victory was achieved. According to Ellis, the Revolutionaries may have done something that was considered honorable by fighting for the rights and freedom of the people of America. However, they were neither perfect nor saints. This can be in the fact that many of them participated in slavery, having kept thousands of black people as slaves. They were also cruel to Indians who happened to be the real Native Americans. It is surprising that people who seemed to be working towards securing freedom for their people were also denying this freedom to so many people under their command. On the other hand, Ferling has misgivings on the nature of the Revolutions victory, arguing that it was achieved more through lucky breaks than through brilliant planning and execution. According to him, a victory by the Americans at times seemed hopeless. This was due to strategic errors made by Generals, soldiers fleeing in the course of combat and numerous battles being lost in the conflict. Americans may have been led by brave and daring generals who guided and motivated thousands of stubborn, headstrong soldiers. However, victory was largely as a result of countless miscalculations and errors made by the British who often underestimated the continental army. Another difference between the two historians is their respective accounts of the Revolution. Ferlings book gives a detailed account of the military part of the uprising. It is all about battle plans, how troops came together, how they executed guerrilla warfares, and so on. Ellis book on the other hand seems to concentrate more on the home front. It is mostly about how the American Revolutionaries handles minorities by highlighting the issues of slavery and interaction with the native Indians.

After going through Ellis and Ferlings accounts of the war, more questions arise about the American Revolution. For instance, would the Revolution have been easier, stronger and more coordinated if blacks and native Indians had been included? Also, would victory have been possible had the British not underestimated American troops and dismissed them as disorganized?


Ellis, J. J. (2007). American creation: triumphs and tragedies at the founding of the republic. Random House Large Print Publishing.

Ferling, J. (2007). Almost a miracle: the American victory in the War of Independence. Oxford University Press.

Goldstein, E. (2015). To Drive Through Cap and Skull of a British Dragoon: Signed American Cavalry Swords of the Revolutionary War. The Chronicle of the Early American Industries Association, Inc., 68(3), 83.

Thomas, D. W. (2014). Money And Intrigue: The Nature Of The Secret Aid Prior To The Formal Alliance In 1778 During The American Revolutionary War.

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