The Ninth State: New Hampshire's Formative Years

By Lynn Warren Turner | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 5

A FRAGMENT OF
SOCIAL HISTORY

Taxes laid by the British Parliament upon America are not more contrary to civil freedom, than [ecclesiastical] taxes are to the very nature of liberty of conscience—Isaac Backus

The social changes that occurred in New Hampshire during the American Revolution could hardly be called revolutionary. 1 New England's lifestyle probably changed less during these fateful years than that of any colonial region, and New Hampshire's less than any other part of New England. Such institutions as the state-supported church, the paternalistic government, the village school, the militia company, the country merchant, and itinerant courts seemed to emerge from the war years unscathed and unimproved. Yet colonial society itself had not been static, and the rate of normal change was undoubtedly accelerated by the disturbances of the war. The spirit of inquiry, furthermore, which the quarrel with Great Britain had fomented in the realm of political theory, inevitably, even if imperceptibly, penetrated all other aspects of life, and eventually, though often many years later, led to profound alterations in the social fabric.


THE CHURCH

Next to the economic processes of "getting and spending," religion was the most important influence in the lives of New Hampshire people; indeed, Calvinists made little distinction between God and mammon. Prior to the American Revolution the Congregational church was established by law in New Hampshire, as it was in all parts of New England except Rhode Island. Its political position rested upon a statute of 1714 that authorized towns to erect meetinghouses and engage ministers at public expense, levying taxes for that purpose and collecting them in the same manner as any other regular town rate. The statute contained a saving clause, declaring that it was not intended to "interfere with her Majesty's grace and favour in allowing her subjects liberty of conscience," but it further stipulated that only those who "constantly" attended "the publick worship of God on the Lord's-day according to their own per

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The Ninth State: New Hampshire's Formative Years
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Ninth State - New Hampshire's Formative Years *
  • Contents *
  • Foreword *
  • Preface *
  • Chapter 1 - Revolutionary New Hampshire *
  • Chapter 2 - Constitution Making *
  • Chapter 3 - Peace and Depression *
  • Chapter 4 - Personal Politics *
  • Chapter 5 - A Fragment of Social History *
  • Chapter 6 - In the Federal Union *
  • Chapter 7 - Constitutional Revision *
  • Chapter 8 - The Rise of Parties *
  • Chapter 9 - Federalists and Republicans *
  • Chapter 10 - Federalist Decline *
  • Chapter 11 - The Old Order Yieldeth *
  • Chapter 12 - Democracy Triumphant *
  • Chapter 13 - Federalist Collapse *
  • Chapter 14 - Blockade and Embargo *
  • Chapter 15 - Drifting Toward War *
  • Chapter 16 - In the War with England *
  • Chapter 17 - The Indian Summer of Federalism *
  • Chapter 18 - Peace Abroad: War at Home *
  • Chapter 19 - Tribulations *
  • Chapter 20 - The Demise of Federalism *
  • Chapter 21 - Reform and Freedom *
  • Appendix - Maps and Explanations *
  • Notes *
  • Index *
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