Abstract

We offer an analysis of the American Revolution in which actors are modeled as choosing the sovereign organization that maximizes their net expected benefits. Benefits of secession derive from satisfaction of greed and settlement of grievance. Costs derive from the cost of civil war and lost benefit of Empire membership. When expected net benefits are positive for both secessionists and the Empire civil war ensues, otherwise it is settled or never begins in the first place. The novelty of our discussion is to show how diverse economic and non-economic factors (such as pamphleteering by Thomas Paine and the morale of the Revolutionary forces) can be integrated into a single economic model.

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