United States historian William Pencak presents thirteen of his essays, written beginning in 1976. Some deal with colonial and revolutionary crowds and communities in Massachusetts-the impressment riot of 1747, the popular uprisings of the 1760s and 1770s, and Shays' Rebellion. Others examine popular ideology in songs and almanacs, and the thought and behavior of George Washington, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and the loyalist Peter Oliver. Interpretive essays argue that colonial outage that their participation in the French and Indian War went unrecognized by the British led to the American Revolution; that revolutionary economic thought turned smuggling from a vice into the 'natural law' of free trade; and that focusing on the Civil War and the years 1861 to 1865, leads to a glorified conception of the national past that is better understood as shaped by "An Era of Racial Violence" that extended from 1854 to at least 1877.
William Pencak is professor of history and Jewish studies at Penn State University.
Part 1 Acknowledgements Part 2 Introduction Part 3 Part One: Communities Chapter 4 Chapter 1: 1.The Knowles Riot and the Crisis of the 1740s in Massachusetts Chapter 5 Chapter 2: Metropolitan Boston Before the American Revolution: An Urban Interpretation of the Imperial Crisis Chapter 6 Chapter 3:The Social Structure of Revolutionary Boston: Evidence from the Great Fire of 1760 Chapter 7 Chapter 4: Play as Prelude to Revolution: Boston, 1765-1776 Chapter 8 Chapter 5:"The Fine Theoretic Government of Massachusetts is Prostrated to the Earth": The Response to Shays's Rebellion Reconsidered Part 9 Part Two: People Chapter 10 Chapter 6:Politics and Ideology in Eighteenth-Century Almanacs: Benjamin Franklin's Poor Richard and Nathanael Ames, Sr.'s An Astronomical Diary Chapter 11 Chapter 7: The Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship: Benjamin Franklin, George Whitefield, the Dancing School, and a Defense of the "Meaner Sort" Chapter 12 Chapter 8: John Adams and His Contemporaries Chapter 13 Chapter 9:The Extended Presidency of George Washington (1775-1797) Chapter 14 Chapter 10: Peter Oliver (1713-1791), Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Superior Court Part 15 Part Three: Ideas Chapter 16 Chapter 11: From Racket to Natural Law: The Permutation of Smuggling Into Free Trade Chapter 17 Chapter 12: "The Great War for the Empire" Reconsidered as a Cause of the American Revolution Chapter 18 Chapter 13: The Civil War Did Not Take Place Part 19 Index