Thirteen Clocks: How Race United the Colonies and Made the Declaration of Independence

Univ. of North Carolina. May 2021. 264p. ISBN 9781469662572. pap. $20. HIST
In this latest work, Parkinson (history; Binghamton Univ.; The Common Cause) considers how race was often at the forefront of events surrounding the American Revolution. His main thesis is that white fear and othering of Black Americans and Indigenous peoples unified the cause of the 13 Atlantic seaboard colonies between 1775 and 1776. Southerner slaveowners feared that enslaved people would rebel and develop autonomy or freedom. White Northerners and Westerners who sought to colonize Indigenous lands, feared the ensuing conflicts. Parkinson writes that both of these fears were backed by the British Crown and were relayed and amplified through newspaper accounts. The author posits that these accounts were also transmitted through regional information networks. Parkinson argues that fear, especially fear of the other, drove U.S. independence. This incisive work adds another layer to the historiography of the American Revolution and draws parallels to current events.
VERDICT An accessible account that is highly recommended for those who want a historical perspective on current issues and those interested in the nation’s founding.
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