HARVEST: THE WAR YEARS
Independence appeared to transform Pennsylvania from a placid province into an emotional state. But the forces responsible for the turbulence were not novel, nor was open dispute untypical of politics in Philadelphia. The new development in the revolutionary period was the inability of the Assembly to confine controversy to certified channels. Legislators clung to the anachronism of antiproprietary, which was to say proroyal, politics, thereby blunting their response to imperial issues. Furthermore, these established leaders were unable to respond to economic and social realities in Pennsylvania. In this situation, extralegal activity was virtually inevitable. The committee movement whose actions ultimately superseded the Assembly's function was increasingly radical in behavior yet constantly aware of the importance of consensus. Indeed, it was recognition of the whole society, Presbyterians as well as Quakers, mechanics as well as merchants, which yielded the ever growing resistance to England's provocative measures. By the time moderates began to absent themselves from the committees, the movement was too well established to be compromised. This, the dual heritage of a proprietary form of government which exacerbated ordinary provincial quarrels and a policy of toleration which made Pennsylvania the most heterogeneous of all the colonies, contributed directly to the coming of the Revolution. Furthermore, the economic growth fostered in Philadelphia had not led to harmony through mutual affluence but had accentuated class differences through maldistribution of wealth.