Connecticut in Transition: 1775-1818

Connecticut in Transition: 1775-1818

Connecticut in Transition: 1775-1818

Connecticut in Transition: 1775-1818

Excerpt

The Revolutionary generation and its sons witnessed a remarkable revolution in the character of the old commonwealth of Connecticut; they lived through an era of transition from 1775 to 1818. Connecticut passed from a colonial dependency into a sovereign state. This all men realized. They did not recognize, however, that this was only the beginning and that at best it was a change in form rather than in spirit, in theory rather than in practice. Contemporaries were quite unaware of the gradual growth from an aristocratic, paternalistic into a modern democratic state. That they overlooked this is not surprising, for the famed "steady habits" were bettered or undermined, as you will, by a natural movement of forces imperceptibly gradual in action.

Other colonies had internal revolutionary struggles which have been aptly compared with the national revolt from the mother-land. Massachusetts, Vermont, the Carolinas, Virginia and Pennsylvania had seen alignments of the frontier democracy over against the governing aristocracy of the settled tide-water regions. There had been virtual Declarations of Independence on the part of the West and threatened or actual resort to force, before the East acceded to their demands for adequate representation and protection against the Indians. In Connecticut such was not the case; for there was no real frontier, no essentially frontier grievances, and no racial lines. If anything, recently settled, sparsely populated districts were over-represented in comparison to the larger and older towns. Hence, as there was no occasion for an outbreak to force the hand of the ruling element, the transition was . . .

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