Skip to comments.Presbyterianism and the American Revolution in the Middle Colonies [Presbyterian Rebellion Day]
Posted on 07/04/2013 9:56:41 AM PDT by Alex Murphy
After the Revolution, Thomas Jones, an embittered loyalist exile, identified the culprits he deemed responsible for the rebellion in New York: the Whig "triumvirate" of Presbyterians--William Livingston, William Smith, and John Morin Scott. Jones averred that in the Independent Reflector (1752-53) and Watch Tower (1754-55), which they authored, "the established Church was abused, Monarchy derided, Episcopacy reprobated, and republicanism held up, as the best existing form of government." The three wrote "with a rancor, a malevolence, and an acrimony, not to be equaled but by the descendants of those presbyterian and republican fanatics, whose ancestors had in the preceding century brought their Sovereign to the block, subverted the best constitution in the world, and upon its ruins erected presbyterianism, republicanism, and hypocrisy."
These three staunch partisans could not write about the Revolution without reference to religion and Presbyterianism. Yet how does one reconcile their recollections with Jon Butler's argument that "the Revolution was a profoundly secular event" and that "religion and Christianity" played "only a secondary role." This essay will consequently reexamine the part Presbyterians from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware played in the coming of the Revolution. What role (if any) did Middle-Colony Presbyterianism's Calvinist theology, history, organizational structure, and clergy play in the Revolution? Were Middle-Colony Presbyterians predisposed to become Whigs? If so, why did some choose Loyalism? Certainly, other Americans, especially those from a Calvinist background, had similar beliefs and experiences. However, Presbyterians deserve particular attention. According to Howard Miller, "more than most denominations, the Presbyterians invested much of their group identity in the war for independence and in its success."
(Excerpt) Read more at highbeam.com ...
Happy Presbyterian Rebellion Day! Ping the GRPL!
Well I do agree with the statement that the Revolution was primarily a secular event and religion played a secondary role as it usually does in battles. But this country would not look the same if religion was taken out of the equation. It is not one or the other - secular or religion. Both were major ingredients.
Sure is better is better system than the Catholic Monarchists we see advocated here on FR.
Wasn’t James Caldwell also a Presbyterian minister? He was called “the Rebel Priest” by the British after his famous “Give them Watts, Boys!” battle near his church. Also, the British called the fighting preachers” The Black Regiment” because of their pastoral robes.