Cover

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Title

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Copyright

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Contents

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Preface

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pp. ix-xii

On March 7, 1799, nearly four hundred men marched into Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, behind John Fries, to demand the release of seventeen prisoners jailed for resisting a federal tax. Fries (pronounced "Freeze") captained a company of militia from Bucks County, the same unit with which he had served as a Patriot in the Revolution. Two decades later he led a combined...

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Prologue: "The Constitution Sacred, No Gagg Laws, Liberty or Death"

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pp. 1-12

Just days before Christmas 1798, Henry and Peggy Lynn Hembolt hosted a gathering of their neighbors near their Montgomery County paper mill. It was a private party among friends, nine of them in all. As they ate their meal, drank their toasts, and gave thanks for the closing year, their holiday mood turned, however, to political concerns. While they counted republican...

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Chapter 1: Liberty

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pp. 13-47

Scenes similar to the raising of the Hembolts' liberty pole unfolded throughout the upper Schuylkill, upper Perkiomen, and Lehigh valleys during the fall and winter of 1798-99. In Northampton, northwestern Bucks, northern Montgomery, Berks, and Dauphin Counties, Kirchenleute communities hoisted liberty poles and signed Ā«associations" vowing to resist assessment of their...

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Chapter 2: Order

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pp. 48-78

As is clear in the language used by the Lehigh Kirchenleute, liberty was the most significant component of the American conception of republican politics. But it is one of the great historical ironies of the period that, despite the unifying power of the desire for liberty, American Revolutionaries never...

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Chapter 3: Resistance

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pp. 79-111

Competing definitions of republican liberty-the broadening idea of liberty and extensive participation versus the narrowing conception of the need for a deferential ordered liberty-produced the national partisan conflict between Federalists and Republicans and colored local events in the Lehigh Valley in 1798. This competition informed the Lehigh Kirchenleute resistance...

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Chapter 4: Rebellion

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pp. 112-141

After the October county commissioners' meeting in Reading, Seth Chapman scheduled a meeting of his assessors for the upper twelve townships of Bucks County for late December. He had none of the troubles Eyerle had experienced trying to convince his appointees to accept the positions. He appointed his brother James as his principal assessor for the district, and James...

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Chapter 5: Repression

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pp. 142-164

Federalist leaders-Hamiltonians especially-and even Republicans saw insurrection rather than riot or constitutional resistance in 1799. Both viewed the happenings in the Lehigh Valley that year through a set of republican lenses that overcorrected their vision concerning matters of domestic tranquility. But Federalists, especially those obsessed with social order, used Fries's...

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Chapter 6: Injustice

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pp. 165-188

As John Adams found in 1800, it was (and still is) difficult to describe the Kirchenleute tax resistance and the rescue of federal prisoners as an insurrection. While they certainly broke the law, the question is, which laws did they break? It is a far stretch to contend that they committed treason and Ā«levied war" against the government of the United States, as those terms and...

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Epilogue: Die Zeiten von '99

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pp. 189-202

Three and a half decades after President Adams issued the pardons, a decade after his death, and nearly two decades after the death of John Fries, Fries's Rebellion had still not been forgotten. In the autumn of 1836, the nation was caught in the grips of a bitterly contested presidential election between two rival political parties. In the Lehigh Valley, Andrew Jackson's Democrats...

Notes

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pp. 203-246

Index

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pp. 247-257

Acknowledgments

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pp. 257-259