It’s easy to see why this is a classic. Bailyn thoroughly defends his thesis that the American revolutionary leaders shared a common set of assumptions drawn from the Whig tradition adapted to the American context and reshaped by the tensions with the British government. It was through this tradition that they interpreted the other ideas that they used, such as classical republicanism. In the postscript, Bailyn also shows how both the Federalists and anti-Federalists drew on the same ideas while reaching different conclusions about the best form of government for the United States. Perhaps Bailyn’s most impressive achievement is that he explains it all so clearly in a way that I think would be quite accessible to an interested reader without academic training in history.