Unless otherwise indicated, all OI books are distributed by The University of North Carolina Press.

The King’s Three Faces

The Rise and Fall of Royal America, 1688 to 1776

Brendan McConville

Paper: ($25.00)

Copyright 2006
University of North Carolina Press


Here is a work so controversial that some will barely be able to sit still as they turn the pages. We are challenged to think of late colonial America as not proto-republican but devoutly committed to British monarchy. Very well written, McConville’s ambitious new paradigm may see this become the most important book on colonial and revolutionary political culture since Bailyn’s Ideological Origins.

--Rhys Isaac

McConville beams new light on the royalist side of colonial political culture over three eras. In the wake of 1688, he argues, Americans formed direct political and emotional ties to their Protestant kings and queens, leading to ‘a cult of benevolent monarchy.’ But as perceptions of the king deteriorated, and finally shattered, rebellious Americans reacted like jilted lovers—tearing down statues and royal symbols in a spasm of anti-monarchical passion. McConville’s imaginative restructuring of provincial politics around a royalist core will foster both interest and debate.

--Patricia U. Bonomi

This study, highly original in both conception and content, may well restore political change to a central place in the historiography of colonial America. McConville argues that the British colonists were, by the middle decades of the eighteenth century, more thoroughly royalist than the king’s subjects in England, Scotland, or Ireland. How and why this royalism eroded becomes a major part of the story and is certain to intensify the controversy that the first part of McConville’s argument is bound to arouse.

--John M. Murrin

Expands commonplace observations about the political tactics of resistance and revolution into a revisionist view of eighteenth-century American development. . . . An interesting book.

--International History Review

Inspires a string of adjectives: provocative, original, clever, iconoclastic, and querulous.

--American Historical Review

A worthwhile book for anyone with a solid interest in the early US. . . . Highly recommended.


Salient and compelling. . . . An important contribution to the field of colonial American history.

--New England Quarterly

This innovative and thought-provoking book should be required reading for all those with an interest in the British Atlantic world. It will surely be central to any future discussions of early American politics, religion, popular culture, and the coming of the Revolution.

--Pennsylvania Magazine of History

This well-researched and scrupulously detailed work. . . . is an insightful and provocative read, challenging our attitudes and assumptions about the mind-set of American Colonists.

--Library Journal

Creative and erudite. . . . Its new perspectives makes it all the more stimulating for historians of early America and beyond.

--William and Mary Quarterly