The City-State of Boston: The Rise and Fall of an Atlantic Power, 1630–1865

A groundbreaking history of early America that shows how Boston built and sustained an independent city-state in New England before being folded into the United States


Published (US):
Oct 6, 2020
Published (UK):
Oct 27, 2020
6.13 x 9.25 in.
69 b/w illus.
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In the vaunted annals of America’s founding, Boston has long been held up as an exemplary “city upon a hill” and the “cradle of liberty” for an independent United States. Wresting this revered metropolis from these misleading, tired clichés, The City-State of Boston highlights Boston’s overlooked past as an autonomous city-state, and in doing so, offers a pathbreaking and brilliant new history of early America. Following Boston’s development over three centuries, Mark Peterson discusses how this self-governing Atlantic trading center began as a refuge from Britain’s Stuart monarchs and how—through its bargain with the slave trade and ratification of the Constitution—it would tragically lose integrity and autonomy as it became incorporated into the greater United States. The City-State of Boston peels away layers of myth to offer a startlingly fresh understanding of this iconic urban center.

Awards and Recognition

  • Winner of the James P. Hanlan Book Prize, New England Historical Association