Beyond Philadelphia? The American Revolution in the Pennsylvania Hinterland

Beyond Philadelphia? The American Revolution in the Pennsylvania Hinterland

Beyond Philadelphia? The American Revolution in the Pennsylvania Hinterland

Beyond Philadelphia? The American Revolution in the Pennsylvania Hinterland


The story of the American Revolution in rural Pennsylvania.

This book moves the story of Pennsylvania's pivotal role in the American Revolution beyond familiar Philadelphia into the rural areas to the north and west. It covers not only the city's surrounding counties of Bucks and Chester but also the interior areas of the Lehigh, Schuylkill, Susquehanna, and Juniata River valleys.

What was the ethnic, religious, and political makeup of Pennsylvania on the eve of revolt? Who supported the Revolution and who opposed it? What role did Native Americans play? Did the Revolution produce social, political, and economic change? The nine essays in Beyond Philadelphia represent the current state of our knowledge on how most Pennsylvanians experienced the Revolution. The introduction and afterword set the essays in the context of early Pennsylvania history and the course of the American Revolution in other states.

From these essays, we can see three patterns of Revolution in Pennsylvania. The oldest counties near Philadelphia gave little support, had large numbers of neutral Quakers and active Loyalists, and endured sporadic partisan warfare. The central region of the state supported the Revolution almost unanimously. It contributed mightily to the Continental Army in men and production of the sinews of war. On the frontiers, brutal guerrilla warfare involving Indians and rival white claimants for land began before the Revolution and continued after it ended, resul


In 1990, at the annual convocation of the Penn State History Department, the editors of this volume were lamenting the paucity of accessible knowledge about the American Revolution in Pennsylvania apart from state or national politics and what happened in Philadelphia. At the same meeting, we realized that the unpublished work of our colleagues at several campuses in the Penn State system addressed the Revolution in different parts of the state. Using this material as a core, we commissioned others also to write chapters in order to cover as much of the state as possible. With the exception of Gregory Knouff's chapter on Revolutionary soldiers' perceptions of Indians, which serendipitously came our way, we asked all our authors to address specifically (1) the nature of the population and settlement in a particular county or region as of the 1760s; (2) what happened in the Revolution in that area -- that is, the nature of the participation in the Revolution and who opposed and supported it; and (3) how the Revolution transformed social, economic, and political life. We hope that these chapters answer these questions for much of Pennsylvania far more thoroughly than before, although, as the Introduction points out, no single pattern describes the entire state's experiences.

We thank John M. Murrin and Robert M. Calhoon for careful, critical readings of the entire manuscript; Paul Douglas Newman and George Franz for astute comments on six chapters given as papers at the 1996 annual meeting of the Pennsylvania Historical Association; and Peter J. Potter and the staff at Penn State Press . . .

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