The American Revolution was all about big ideas of liberty, freedom, and equality. Right?
My book Misinformation Nation: Foreign News and the Politics of Truth in Revolutionary America makes the case that the American Revolution was based largely on false premises and misperception. It describes how the revolutionary generation tried to understand the world, and how they fought false news at every turn.
The book provides a prehistory, in a lot of ways, to our present social media-driven “post-truth” era defined by a mountain of so-called “fake news.” Disinformation may be news to some, but it’s not new. In fact, it’s an essential part of the story of how the American nation came into being.
Table of Contents
Introduction. “any thing but the age of Reason”
Ch. 1: Foreign Advices and False Friends: The Mediation Revolution in British America
Ch. 2: Taxation with Misrepresentation: Fears of Deception in the Anglo-American Imperial Crisis
Ch. 3: The Lying Gazettes: News from London in Revolutionary Politics
Ch. 4: An Ocean of News: Independence, War, and Atlantic Information Exchange
Ch. 5: The Genius of Information: Scripting an Age of Revolutions
Ch. 6: The American Constellation: Dreams of a Continental Revolution
Ch. 7: Bentalou’s Wager: The French Revolution and the Birth of American Partisanship
Ch. 8: Unmaking the Revolutionary Caribbean: Race, Commerce, and Communication in the Early Republic
Ch. 9: The Fruits of Revolution: False News and the Eclipse of the Federalists
Epilogue: Tanguy’s Faithful Mirror
Appendix: A Note on Data Sources