Max Savelle and Unity

One historian tells of America's united power before the war

Who is Max Savelle?

Max Savelle was born in Mobile, Alabama in 1896. He received his bachelor's degree in 1925 from Columbia University, his master's in 1926 and his Ph.D. in 1932. In 1932 he also moved from teaching at Columbia to teaching at Stanford University and became a historian on Colonial America. He was promoted to professor in 1941 and in 1947 joined the faculty at the University of Washington where he wrote many theses on Colonial America. These include "Seeds of Liberty”, “A Short History of American Civilization”, and “The Diplomatic History of the Canadian Boundary 1749-1763” to name a few.

F.A.Q. And Other Info

What was his historical focus? Colonial America, and how America’s national identity and unity that started even before 1750 helped them win the Revolutionary War.

Did he think the revolution was really revolutionary / What is his thesis? It was revolutionary. According to Savelle, an internal revolution had already been set in motion long before the British began to come down on the colonists: the national identity of America through intercolonial relations. The external aspect of the revolution was Britain’s tyrannical influence being imposed on the colonies and how the Americans didn’t want their already satisfactory life to be altered.

What evidence did he use to support this? In “The Genesis of an ‘American’ Nationalism”, Savelle talks about how the Colonial Americans all had begun to develop “common loyalty to a common American purpose” “even before 1750.” A big influence was the commercial, social and intellectual correspondence between colonies. Travel and mail became more common and ideas of common nationality inevitably spread.

What school of thought does he belong to? The neoconservative school of thought. Historians that did work post WWII, like Savelle, believed that America’s ideals and life were already secure and the Americans were satisfied with their life before the British began to intervene and so the revolutionary war was just to preserve this life.