Quarters: The Accommodation of the British Army and the Coming of the American Revolution

Quarters: The Accommodation of the British Army and the Coming of the American Revolution

by John Gilbert McCurdy


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When Americans declared independence in 1776, they cited King George III "for quartering large bodies of armed troops among us." In Quarters, John Gilbert McCurdy explores the social and political history behind the charge, offering an authoritative account of the housing of British soldiers in America. Providing new interpretations and analysis of the Quartering Act of 1765, McCurdy sheds light on a misunderstood aspect of the American Revolution.

Quarters unearths the vivid debate in eighteenth-century America over the meaning of place. It asks why the previously uncontroversial act of accommodating soldiers in one's house became an unconstitutional act. In so doing, Quarters reveals new dimensions of the origins of Americans' right to privacy. It also traces the transformation of military geography in the lead up to independence, asking how barracks changed cities and how attempts to reorder the empire and the borderland led the colonists to imagine a new nation.

Quarters emphatically refutes the idea that the Quartering Act forced British soldiers in colonial houses, demonstrates the effectiveness of the Quartering Act at generating revenue, and examines aspects of the law long ignored, such as its application in the backcountry and its role in shaping Canadian provinces.

Above all, Quarters argues that the lessons of accommodating British troops outlasted the Revolutionary War, profoundly affecting American notions of place. McCurdy shows that the Quartering Act had significant ramifications, codified in the Third Amendment, for contemporary ideas of the home as a place of domestic privacy, the city as a place without troops, and a nation with a civilian-led military.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781501736605
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Publication date: 06/15/2019
Pages: 328
Sales rank: 1,081,270
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

John Gilbert McCurdy is Professor of History at Eastern Michigan University. He is the author of Citizen Bachelors.

What People are Saying About This

Colin Nicolson

"Quarters is a magnificent book of relevance to colonial American and British imperial history, there is much to praise."

Serena Zabin

"I have confidence that Quarters will become the authoritative text on military quartering in British colonial America due to its wide range throughout British America and its close attention to politics."

Peter Charles Hoffer

"Quarters is seriously argued and casts a whole new light on one of the more important Parliamentary enactments of the 1760s. John Gilbert McCurdy's analysis is a must-read revision of the history of the imperial crisis."

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