- The Mid-Atlantic and the American Revolution
- Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies
- Penn State University Press
- Volume 82, Number 3, Summer 2015
- pp. 282-299
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This essay explores the mutual effects of the American Revolution and the Mid-Atlantic region on each other, with its principal emphasis on how the Revolution impacted the region, and somewhat less on the obverse consequences. Reviewing previously published and forthcoming arguments about how New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware were a “fabricated” regional entity—a construct of political, economic, and social intention as much as or perhaps more than spatial imagination and geographical expression—it suggests that the cumulative impacts of the Seven Years’ War, the British “imperial crisis” from 1763 to 1775, and the war of the American Revolution itself, uprooted and otherwise destroyed much of the spatial framing systems of the earlier colonial era. Notwithstanding these consequences, the article argues that the region’s structural and functional integrity, as a shaper of both elite and more ordinary experience, largely survived the collapse and peeling away of this colonial “scaffolding.” It offers some tentative suggestions about how that improbable outcome may have obtained, and proposes some areas to which future research attention to the Mid-Atlantic should be paid.