"God grant that not only the love of liberty, but a thorough knowledge of the rights of man, may prevail in all the nations of the earth, so that a philosopher may set his foot anywhere on its surface and say, 'This is my country.'"
With this quotation from Benjamin Franklin, historian Richard Morris, Columbia University, opened the fourth Library of Congress Symposium on the American Revolution, held May 8 and 9, 1975, in the Library's Coolidge Auditorium. For Americans, the Revolution brought independence, nationhood, a constitution clearly defining the relations of the state to the people, and reforms in social and economic equality. But what did it mean to the rest of the late 18th century world?
Some answers to this question are found in the papers published in this volume. Following a comprehensive survey of the impact of the American Revolution abroad, by R. R. Palmer of Yale University, leading historians consider its effect on specific countries. France is discussed by Charles Fohlen of the University of Paris-Sorbonne; the Dutch Republic by J. W. Schulte Nordholt of the State University of Leiden; Great Britain by J. H. Plumb of Christ's College, Cambridge; the Russian Empire by N. N. Bolkhoitinov of the Instittue of General History, Academy of Sciences of the USSR; the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking world by Mario Rodriguez of the University of Southern California; and Ireland by Owen Dudley Edwards of the University of Edinburgh.
Concluding the volume are commentaries on the American Revolution in relation to Germany, Japan, and Spain by Erich Angermann of the University of Cologne, Nagayo Homina of the University of Tokyo, and Ignacio Rubio Maħe, Archivist of Mexico.