Presbyterianism and the Declaration of Independence/Revolution War

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Goodcheer68

Puritan Board Sophomore
Over the last few days I have spent some time reading older post's on the Revolution and whether it was a just war or not. But what I am particularly looking for is some reputable works, either books or journal articles (accessible online for free), that can shed light on the role (any role; political, practical, e.g, used Church for hospital) that Presbyterianism played in the call for Independence and the Revolution War. So far from what I've read Rom. 13 was not an issue as they didn't see themselves overthrowing the King, but rather they viewed the war as defending the rights they previously had as colonists. I still would like to track down any source that shows them at least interacting with the text if at all possible. I am doing a small research paper (10 pgs) for a 5 week course so I don't have much time to research and want to use it wisely. What better place to ask for leads than the puritanboard :)

Below are some works I have already. Any help would be appreciative. Thanks!

Breed, W. P. (1875) Presbyterianism, and its services in the revolution of 1776. Philadelphia, PA. Presbyterian Board of Publication.

Coleman, B., Sewall, J., Williams, E., Whitefield, G., Chauncy, C. Davies, S., … Winchester, E.
(1998) Political sermons of the american founding era: 1730-1805 (Vol. 1) Foreword by
Ellis Sandoz (Ed.) (2nd ed.) Indianapolis Liberty Fund.

Davis, D. H. (1994) Religion and the american revolution. Journal of Church &
State, 36(4).

Galloway, J. (1780) Historical and political reflections on the rise and progress of the american rebellion. (pp. 54 and 55) London: G. Wilkie Publishing. Rare Book and Special Collections Division. Library of Congress.

Gardiner, R. (2005) The presbyterian rebellion: An analysis of the perception that the american revolution was a presbyterian war. Marquette University.

Johnson, T. C. (1907) Virginia presbyterianism and religious liberty in colonial and revolutionary times. Presbyterian Committee of Publication.

Tiedemann, J. (2005) Presbyterianism and the american revolution in the middle colonies.
Church History, 74(2).

Welling, J. C., Welling, B (1874) The Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, May 20, 1775
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
You can a strong sense of the role Presbyterianism, and reformed theology played in the Revolutionary War by reading the Declaration of Independence.
 

mvdm

Puritan Board Junior
Just completed reading David W. Hall's, " The Geneva Reformation and the American Founding". An historical tour de force demonstrating the explicit Calvinistic imprint on the American founding. British political figures at the time clearly saw it such, leading one to say: "Our American cousin has run off with a Presbyterian parson" . In one section Hall identifiees at least 5 Calvinistic features of the Declaration of Independence. Highly recommended.
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
There is something that might be missing in a lot of studies. From my past reading, and I am not sure where I read it, the Kings Church was the only Church sanctioned in the Colonies. One had to apply for a permit or license of sorts to even have a congregation that wasn't Erastian or the King's Church. There was a persecution of Presbyterians and Baptists in some areas. I believe it was Patrick Henry who was a Lawyer who pressed for the Independence of the Church separate of the Government's establishment. That is why there is such a strong statement in the Constitution concerning the Government not establishing a particular denomination. That doesn't mean that they permitted non Christian religions because from some documents in State Government blashpemy was punished under treason.
 

earl40

Puritan Board Professor
There is something that might be missing in a lot of studies. From my past reading, and I am not sure where I read it, the Kings Church was the only Church sanctioned in the Colonies. One had to apply for a permit or license of sorts to even have a congregation that wasn't Erastian or the King's Church. There was a persecution of Presbyterians and Baptists in some areas. I believe it was Patrick Henry who was a Lawyer who pressed for the Independence of the Church separate of the Government's establishment. That is why there is such a strong statement in the Constitution concerning the Government not establishing a particular denomination. That doesn't mean that they permitted non Christian religions because from some documents in State Government blashpemy was punished under treason.

Correct me if I am wrong here. It seems many of us here on this board would only allow a lesser magistrate to overthrow a greater one if were related to religious matters.
 

Tirian

Puritan Board Sophomore
I not bound by this declaration but the following part has always grieved me: "He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions."

I know it's historical significance but not clear why this is so joyfully celebrated.
 

Wayne

Tempus faciendi, Domine.
I don't understand your question, Matthew. What exactly is being joyfully celebrated in that paragraph?

The word "excited" (if that's what you are picking up on) means "instigated" in that context.
 

PastorJim

Puritan Board Freshman
Highly recommend Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America by James Webb. Good, fast read and very much on point.
 

Mushroom

Puritan Board Doctor
I not bound by this declaration but the following part has always grieved me: "He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions."

I know it's historical significance but not clear why this is so joyfully celebrated.
I don't know that it is celebrated, Matthew, but I do know that it was true. Native Indians had no concept of European 'honorable war' (if there is such a thing), theirs being tribal in nature and had a component to it of destroying all the enemy to prevent later reprisals. The Brits busily set to making alliances with the tribes to enlist them in warfare against colonists who would dare defy their King or deny him his desired share of the fruit of their labors.
 
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