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The Presbyterian Rebellion: An analysis of the perception [Happy Presbyterian Rebellion Day!]
Raynor Memorial Libraries at Marquette University ^ | January 1, 2005 | Richard Gardiner

Posted on 07/04/2012 7:20:58 AM PDT by Alex Murphy

Abstract
During the era of the American Revolution, King George III and his supporters perceived that the war was a "Presbyterian Rebellion." Why? The label "Presbyterian" was a much more ambiguous designation than it is at present. Employed broadly as a synonym for a Calvinist, a dissenter, or a republican, the term was used with considerable imprecision in the eighteenth century. Furthermore, it was used as a demagogic tool to inflame popular passions. The term Presbyterian carried with it the connotation of a fanatical, anti-monarchical rebel. Those who designated the war a Presbyterian Rebellion could be considered biased, partisan, and somewhat extreme. Nevertheless, the designation was based in reality. Calvinists and Calvinism permeated the American colonial milieu, and the king's friends did not wish for this fact to go unnoticed. This inconspicuous reality is one of the missing chapters in the conventional history of the genesis of the United States. Part of the reason that it is missing is that it represents the view of the loyalist opposition, and it is "the winners who write the history books." Another rationale for its absence is the fact that historians of the Revolutionary era prefer to emphasize socio-economic factors in their explanations of what happened and why. Hence, the hypothesis that there was a significant religious factor in the midst of the conflict has not been given adequate consideration. This study provides compelling evidence that there indeed was a profound religious factor at the heart of the conflict, both perceived and real, and that this dynamic deserves further attention in order to provide a more comprehensive account of the Revolution.

Recommended Citation
Richard Gardiner, "The Presbyterian Rebellion: An analysis of the perception that the American Revolution was a Presbyterian war" (January 1, 2005). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. Paper AAI3172505.
http://epublications.marquette.edu/dissertations/AAI3172505


TOPICS: History; Mainline Protestant; Religion & Culture; Religion & Politics
KEYWORDS: america; presbyterian; rebellion; revolutionarywar
Full title:
The Presbyterian Rebellion: An analysis of the perception that the American Revolution was a Presbyterian war

During the era of the American Revolution, King George III and his supporters perceived that the war was a "Presbyterian Rebellion." Why? The label "Presbyterian" was a much more ambiguous designation than it is at present. Employed broadly as a synonym for a Calvinist, a dissenter, or a republican, the term was used with considerable imprecision in the eighteenth century. Furthermore, it was used as a demagogic tool to inflame popular passions. The term Presbyterian carried with it the connotation of a fanatical, anti-monarchical rebel. Those who designated the war a Presbyterian Rebellion could be considered biased, partisan, and somewhat extreme....

....Calvinists and Calvinism permeated the American colonial milieu, and the king's friends did not wish for this fact to go unnoticed. This inconspicuous reality is one of the missing chapters in the conventional history of the genesis of the United States....

....historians of the Revolutionary era prefer to emphasize socio-economic factors in their explanations of what happened and why. Hence, the hypothesis that there was a significant religious factor in the midst of the conflict has not been given adequate consideration. This study provides compelling evidence that there indeed was a profound religious factor at the heart of the conflict, both perceived and real, and that this dynamic deserves further attention in order to provide a more comprehensive account of the Revolution.

1 posted on 07/04/2012 7:21:02 AM PDT by Alex Murphy
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To: Gamecock; Dr. Eckleburg; HarleyD
Radical Presbyterians

Happy Presbyterian Rebellion Day!

2 posted on 07/04/2012 7:25:09 AM PDT by Alex Murphy (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/religion/2703506/posts?page=518#518)
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To: Alex Murphy

Witherspoon, the only clergyman to sign the Declaration, President of the College of NJ (Princeton) at the time, was a Scotch Presbyterian. There was brief celebration in the British camp during the time of the campaigns around Trenton and Princeton when there was word a tall clergyman had been shot and it was thought to be Witherspoon.


3 posted on 07/04/2012 7:27:34 AM PDT by gusopol3
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To: Alex Murphy

If it was a label employed by King George to discredit the Americans, why use it now?


4 posted on 07/04/2012 7:41:56 AM PDT by Copenhagen Smile (Ask me no questions, I"ll tell you no lies)
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To: Alex Murphy

Richard Gardiner co-authored a high school textbook entitled, “Never Before in History” regarding the War of Independence. It traces the political philosophy of our independence back to the Reformation and Luther. It’s an excellent book which we used in our homeschooling.


5 posted on 07/04/2012 7:48:08 AM PDT by Madam Theophilus
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To: Madam Theophilus
Richard Gardiner co-authored a high school textbook entitled, “Never Before in History” regarding the War of Independence. It traces the political philosophy of our independence back to the Reformation and Luther.

Thanks for the info! I'll have to check that one out!

6 posted on 07/04/2012 7:51:31 AM PDT by Alex Murphy (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/religion/2703506/posts?page=518#518)
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To: Alex Murphy; drstevej; OrthodoxPresbyterian; CCWoody; Wrigley; Gamecock; Jean Chauvin; jboot; ...
Happy Presbyterian Rebellion Day to one and all!


7 posted on 07/04/2012 7:53:16 AM PDT by Gamecock (I worked out with a dumbbell yesterday and I feel vigorous!)
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To: Copenhagen Smile

It is quite common for a group to take the smears of the other side and rally around them....


8 posted on 07/04/2012 7:55:19 AM PDT by Gamecock (I worked out with a dumbbell yesterday and I feel vigorous!)
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To: Alex Murphy
The term Presbyterian carried with it the connotation of a fanatical, anti-monarchical rebel. Those who designated the war a Presbyterian Rebellion could be considered biased, partisan, and somewhat extreme.

In a couple hours we're going to pick up and go to Dad's, where we'll char mammal flesh, set off fireworks and shoot guns. Hallelujah!


9 posted on 07/04/2012 8:07:18 AM PDT by Lee N. Field ("And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise" Gal 3:29)
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To: Lee N. Field

And I thought my love for high powered rifles and dark ale was just a developed taste. Now I find out its part of my nature as an orthodox Presbyterian. Happy birthday from and to the Black Brigade.


10 posted on 07/04/2012 8:13:23 AM PDT by strongbow
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To: gusopol3

Also a signatory was Charles Carroll, of Carrollton, MD, one of the very few Catholics in the United States. He became the first Senator of the state of Maryland.

Rev. John Carroll, SJ, was the priest summoned by President George Washington to administer last rites. Washington had greatly admired the fervent support of Catholics on the battlefield, and strongly countered inclinations among certain Revolutionaries to discriminate against Catholics. In 1789, Rev. Carroll had been summoned to England to be ordained the first Catholic bishop, Archbishop of Baltimore. The selection of someone so intimately tied to the Revolution itself was widely seen as an enthusiastic endorsement of the American Revolution by the papacy. The Catholic priests had been careful to receive assurances from the Continental Congress of the Confederation that the elevation of a bishop, loyal to Rome, would not be seen as disloyal to the Republic. Rather, the appointment was most welcome, and seen as a natural demonstration of separation of Church and State.


11 posted on 07/04/2012 8:36:02 AM PDT by dangus
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To: dangus

The Carrolls actually accompanied Ben Franklin in Spring 1776 to Canada to try to get the Canadians to join the rebellion, as they were concerned about the nearly belligerent Protestantism of the colonies. Charles, in particular, as one of the wealthiest men in America took up “taxation without representation as a rallying cry.”


12 posted on 07/04/2012 8:43:00 AM PDT by gusopol3
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To: gusopol3

Maryland, of course, had been established by the Catholic Lord Baltimore George Calvert, as a haven of religious freedom. Unfortunately, the Calvinists had no such notions of religious freedom, and plundered Maryland (1642-1649), driving most of the Catholics out of the colonies.

In 1649, despite the loss of King Charles I, defender of religious liberty, Maryland reached a peace in 1649 between religious parties, the Maryland Toleration Act, which would serve as the model for religious freedom in the colonies.

It did not last. In 1689, the Calvinists, a majority since the plundering of 1642-1649, marched on the capital of Providence (later renamed Annapolis after Queen Anne), and overthrew the government of Maryland once more. Catholic mass would be prohibited, forcing “house masses” to be conducted in secret, until the American Revolution.


13 posted on 07/04/2012 8:54:08 AM PDT by dangus
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To: dangus

Dr. Richard Gardiner is a professor of History Education at Columbus State University. In addition to a Doctor’s of History from Marquette University, he holds a Master’s of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary (Presbyterian Church of the USA).


14 posted on 07/04/2012 9:09:30 AM PDT by dangus
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To: dangus
of the 55 founding father, the religion was

it seems more accurate to call it the Episcopalian Rebellion

15 posted on 07/04/2012 9:26:06 AM PDT by Cronos (**Marriage is about commitment, cohabitation is about convenience.**)
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To: Cronos
Charles Carroll, founding father and "an exemplar of Catholic and republican virtue" [Ecumenical]

16 posted on 07/04/2012 9:50:58 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Cronos; dangus; Copenhagen Smile
Independence Day (USA)

Independence Day (USA)
[In the dioceses of the United States]
Optional Memorial
July 4th

On this day Americans commemorate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, which took place on July 4, 1776. The church in the U.S. incorporated this observance into the liturgy with a special mass asking for peace, justice, and truth. (Source: Daily Roman Missal, Edited by Rev. James Socías, Midwest Theological Forum, Chicago, Illinois ©2003)

Collect:
God of justice, Father of truth,
who guide creation in wisdom and goodness
to fulfillment in Christ your Son,
open our hearts to the truth of his Gospel,
that your justice guide our lives.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. +Amen

or

Father of all nations and ages,
we recall the day when our country
claimed its place among the family of nations;
for what has been achieved we give you thanks,
for the work that still remains we ask your help,
and as you have called us from many peoples to be one nation,
grant that, under your providence,
our country may share your blessings
with all the peoples of the earth.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you int he unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. +Amen.

Readings: from Masses for Various Occasions & Needs (For Public Needs)


The National Hymn
God of our Fathers



17 posted on 07/04/2012 10:54:12 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Alex Murphy
The label "Presbyterian" was a much more ambiguous designation than it is at present.

I don't think so. The term was first noted about 1540 indicating the form of a church led by elected elders. It was chosen as the form of organization of the Church of Scotland in 1690.

So, for 200 years, it was defined as a form of church organization. If King George used it otherwise to denote a band of dissenters and republicans, it was simply being twisted to a derogatory, like today's use of 'teabagger' to imply Tea Party members.

Or maybe King George was simply poorly informed, using a part to name the whole, like some folks use the term conservative when they mean Republican.

That the word Presbyterian was used as a pejorative by King George, doesn't mean that the 200 year old (by 1776) meaning of a particular church organization had changed.

It's the pejorative use that was temporary and has changed. Calling somebody a Presbyterian today as a pejorative would certainly not imply dissenter, nor even Republican or republican.

18 posted on 07/04/2012 11:17:48 AM PDT by slowhandluke (It's hard to be cynical enough in this age.)
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To: Alex Murphy

I remember learning this when I became a Presbyterian(conservative of the EPC/PCA variety, of course). It’s nice to read a story about Presbyterians that has nothing to do with the usual heresies the PCUSA comes up with.


19 posted on 07/04/2012 12:42:30 PM PDT by ReformationFan
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To: Alex Murphy; Gamecock; Dr. Eckleburg

Hey, great article and happy Presbyterian Rebellion Day. I noticed my son’s history books in high school rarely mentioned anything about religious beliefs in forming anything. Very sad. I gave him the Westminster Confessions for graduation. :O)


20 posted on 07/04/2012 1:23:13 PM PDT by HarleyD
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To: ReformationFan
conservative of the EPC/PCA variety, of course

That sounds more like a moderate. Conservatives in the PCA are a definite minority (probably 40-45%); they are quite rare in the EPC.

21 posted on 07/04/2012 4:13:02 PM PDT by PAR35
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