New England in the Republic, 1776-1850

New England in the Republic, 1776-1850

New England in the Republic, 1776-1850

New England in the Republic, 1776-1850

Excerpt

The first volume of this series dealt with the earliest explorations and settlements and the life of the New England colonies from the beginning until 1691. It was, as its title indicated, the story of The Founding of New England. In the second volume, Revolutionary New England, 1691-1776, the narrative was continued to cover the period between the dates named. An attempt was made to trace the origin of grievances on the part of the people at large, the rise of a radical party, and the slow growth of revolutionary sentiment for many decades before what is generally considered the revolutionary period proper, that is, the decade of agitation from 1763 onward. Apart from the imperial relations and quarrels of the time, we tried to show how discontent steadily grew, how there came to be an increasing self-consciousness on the part of the lower classes, and how they gradually demanded more and more of a share in the political power of their small commonwealths.

In what may be considered as more distinctively the period of revolution in the sense of a crisis in the relations with England, the leaders of that movement found it both desirable and necessary to influence popular sentiment by a propaganda which stressed the rights of man and the sovereignty of the people. It was a heady draught to hold to the lips of classes who, owing to the frontier conditions under which to a great extent they lived, had already advanced generations ahead of their time in a fervent devotion to a philosophy of personal independence and individualism.

In the present volume we try to follow the working-out of the situation which resulted, during the remainder of the period in which New England may be considered as having been a distinct section. Our story closes with the year 1850, for from that mid-point of the century the current of nationalism swept the New England states into the swift movement . . .

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