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The itinerancy George Whitefield introduced also became the focus ofprotracted controversies which taught colonists new ways of advancing theirown religiously-informed views, defending their liberties, and refutingrival claims in a public arena. The "GrandItinerant" inspired a host of colonial imitators who fanned out across thecolonial landscape in the decades after 1740 and who mounted anunprecedentedchallenge to established religious authority. They preached fiery revivalsermons in "the old Whitefield style," calling on people to forsake their"unconverted" ministers, to receive assurance that they were God's childrenthrough the experience of New Birth, and to join new fellowships of like-minded"New Light" converts. "Old Light" opponents of the revivals tried to repressthe itinerants by official means as well as attacking them in a barrageof printed sermons, newspaper essays, and pamphlets. New Lights returnedthe fire with their own sermons and print literature. The controversy embroiledNew England, New York, Pennsylvania, and Charleston, South Carolina inthe early 1740's. In the early 1750's a new wave of New Light Presbyterianitinerancy sparked similar disputes in Virginia pulpits and press. On theeve of the Revolution a new influx of Baptist and Methodist itinerantsinto the Virginia and Carolina Backcountry sparked controversy once again.

Booker, Ellis.

, 1766-1767. This second compilation offers documents illustrating Americans' opposition to (1) the Quartering Act of 1765, which required colonial assemblies to provide funds for the food, provisions, and housing (in unoccupied buildings) of British troops, and (2) their response to the threatened suspension of the New York assembly for refusing to fully comply with the act. The selections include New York's petition to the royal governor and his reply, two newspaper essays urging opposition to the threatened suspension of the New York assembly, and a letter by Benjamin Franklin on the prospect of renewed conflict between Britain and America. "Every Act of Oppression will sour their Tempers," warned Franklin, " . . . and hasten their final Revolt: For the Seeds of Liberty are universally sown there, and nothing can eradicate them." (5 pp.)


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Adams articulated his thoughts on the French Revolution and its implications for the United States in a series of newspaper essays, the Discourses on Davila. He predicted that the revolution, having abolished the aristocratic institutions necessary to preserve stability and order, was doomed to failure. He warned that the United States would share a similar fate if it failed to honor and encourage with titles and appropriate ceremony its own "natural aristocracy" of talented and propertied public men. Adams even went so far as to predict that a hereditary American aristocracy would be necessary in the event that the "natural" variety failed to emerge. The Davila essays were consistent with Adams' longstanding belief that a strong stabilizing force—a strong executive, a hereditary senate, or a natural aristocracy—was an essential bulwark of popular liberties. They also reflected his recent humiliation at the hands of Alexander Hamilton. Still smarting from his low electoral count in the 1788 presidential election, Adams observed in the thirty-second essay that "hereditary succession was attended with fewer evils than frequent elections." As Peter Shaw has noted in his study of Adams' character, "it would be difficult to imagine . . . a more impolitic act." The Discourses on Davila, together with Adams' earlier support for titles and ceremony, convinced his Republican opponents that he was an enemy of republican government. Rumors that Washington would resign his office once the government was established on a secure footing, and his near death from influenza in the spring of 1790, added to the Republicans' anxiety. In response, they mounted an intense but unsuccessful campaign to unseat Adams in the 1792 presidential election.