Rebel America: The Story of Social Revolt in the United States

Rebel America: The Story of Social Revolt in the United States

Rebel America: The Story of Social Revolt in the United States

Rebel America: The Story of Social Revolt in the United States

Excerpt

To write an informal history of social revolt in America which is not at the same time a history of the American people, is to indulge necessarily in a somewhat arbitrary limitation of subject-matter. Using the term in its broadest sense, such a story might begin with the rebellions of Roger Williams and of Anne Hutchinson in the 163Os against the theocratic tyrannies of the Pilgrim Fathers, or in another and possibly more accurate sense with the uprisings of the Virginia frontiersmen in 1676. Besides these, its roster of heroes would include, certainly, the names of Patrick Henry and Thomas Paine, of Daniel Shays, Henry Thoreau, Elijah Lovejoy, and John Brown. There is no decade in American history since the founding of the first Colonies which has not had its gestures of protest and rebellion against some specific social injustice or outworn code—religious, political, economic, or cultural. For the purposes of this book, however, the term "social revolt" is used to describe primarily the activities of those groups which have aimed at the complete transformation—by whatever means—of the whole social order. Rebel America is the story of our social revolutionaries and of those allied movements of protests with which their activities have, at various times, overlapped. In almost any other nation such a story would be practically synonymous with the history of its labor movement.

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