Pennsylvania's Revolution. Edited by William Pencak


Bill Pencak has again brought together a veritable diaspora of early Pennsylvanianists with something to say about the state and the American Revolution. The volume starts with a big bang as Nathan Kozuskanich draws out the neglected links between the ideology of the Paxton Boys and the populist localism at the center of support for the Revolution in 1776. The notion of "safety against all belligerents" secured through participation in militias characterized both movements, much as we prefer to distance ourselves from Paxton while wrapping ourselves in the 1776 version of "Don't Tread on Me." Patrick Spero and Phillip Munch argue for the importance of English- and German-language almanacs; their research is thorough but their arguments hardly surprising. John Frantz provides a brief survey of how religion informed the attitudes and actions of Germans during the Revolutionary War. (A translation of some of Henry Miller's newspaper writings, with commentary by Pencak, appears as an appendix to the volume.) Pencak's own essay on the loyalist clergy breaks some stereotypes in its fascinating explanation of the pressures on Anglican clergyman to oppose the Revolution and the differences in the ways ten of eleven of them did so.