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March to IndependenceMarch to Independence

The American Revolution in the Southern Colonies, 1775–1776

Michael Cecere

Narrated by Todd Curless

Available from Audible


Book published by Westholme Publishing


A Journal of the American Revolution Book

The American Revolutionary War began when Massachusetts militiamen and British troops clashed at Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775. Two months later, a much larger engagement occurred at Bunker Hill in Boston. The conflict then expanded into a continent-wide war for independence from Great Britain. Or so we are taught. A closer look at events in the South in the eighteen months following Lexington and Concord tells a different story. The practice of teaching the Revolutionary War as one generalized conflict between the American colonies and Great Britain assumes the South’s support for the Revolutionary War was a foregone conclusion. However, once shots were fired, it was not certain that the southern colonies would support the independence movement. What is clear is that both the fledgling American republic and the British knew that the southern colonies were critical to any successful prosecution of the war by either side.

In March to Independence: The American Revolution in the Southern Colonies, 1775–1776, historian Michael Cecere, consulting primary source documents, examines how Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia ended up supporting the colonies to the north, while East Florida remained within the British sphere. South Carolina, Georgia, and East Florida all retained their royal governors through the summer of 1775, and no military engagements occurred in any of the southern colonies in the six months following the battles in Massachusetts. The situation changed significantly in the fall, however, with armed clashes in Virginia and South Carolina; by early 1776 the war had spread to all of the southern colonies except East Florida. Although their march to independence did not follow the exact route as the colonies to the north, events in the South pulled the southern colonists in the same direction, culminating with a united Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.

REVIEWS:

“From Virginia to Florida, this important volume is a huge step in restoring America’s lost memory of the early Revolution in the South.”

—Gabriel Neville, historian of the 8th Virginia Regiment

“Cecere, a skilled and prolific historian of the American Revolution, examines five colonies: Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia, and East Florida during the pivotal months between the engagements in New England and the passing of the Declaration of Independence fifteen months later. Cecere notes the lack of studies on the march to war in the Southern colonies during this period, and he attempts to address this hole in the scholarship. He succeeds handily.... Cecere writes clearly and with force. He offers an extensive bibliography and endnotes. This work will be appreciated by a popular audience as well as by scholars, and it is highly recommended.”

Journal of America’s Military Past

“In March to Independence, Cecere illustrates that the road to American liberty ran through the American South. Often overlooked by the events in New England, Cecere explores five Southern colonies both politically and militarily in the crucial years of 1775 and 1776. The significant actions in these Southern colonies altered the course of the Revolution and the ultimate result was often in doubt. This book will prove invaluable to those looking for an in-depth overview of the South’s contributions in the march to independence.”

—Mark Maloy, author of Victory or Death: The Battles of Trenton and Princeton





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