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CHAPTER THIRTEEN T HE IMPERIAL CRISIS The uneasy balance of provincial mercantilism received a severe shock in the next decade. Events of the early 1760s, particularly Parliament's attempts to tighten the navigation system, forced New Englanders to re­ examine their political economy and to reconsider their economic rela­ tionship with Great Britain. After a boom decade, the regional economy plunged into a severe contraction beginning around 1761. The war and its lucrative contracts were over; New England governments, which along with Virginia had borne

C H A P T E R S I X Urban Politics and the Imperial Crisis A*s required by New York's Septennial Act, Gov. Henry Moore dissolved the Assembly on February 6, 1768. By now, the currents of local politics were creating a treacherous undertow in the storm-tossed waters of imperial affairs. With an election in the offing, De Lanceyites were especially eager to regain the power they had wielded in the 17505. At a meeting of the Liberty Boys held soon after the Stamp Act's repeal, Isaac Sears had overcome strong opposition and had persuaded the radicals to support James

Popular Loyalism in the Revolutionary British Atlantic
The Accommodation of the British Army and the Coming of the American Revolution
The American Revolution and Crisis in the Legal Profession

Seventeenth-Century England and America / 111 Chapter 7. Paper Money and Public Policy, 16'»-1714 / 127 Chapter 8. "A Poor Dependent State": The Argument for Retrenchment / 143 Chapter 9. The Virtues of the Internal Economy / 156 Chapter 10. The Political Culture of Paper Money / 181 Chapter 11. From the Land Bank to the Currency Act / 214 vi Contents Part III. The Political Economy of Revolution / 237 Chapter 12. Development at Mid-Century I 241 Chapter 13. The Imperial Crisis I 266 Chapter 14. The Consequences of Independence I 299 Epilogue: The Meaning of


Contents Maps ix Acknowledgments xi Introduction: The Birth of a Debate 1 I T H E S T A M P A C T C R I S I S , 1 7 6 3 - 1 7 6 6 1 New York City on the Eve of the First Crisis 13 2 The Onset of Conflict 42 3 The Stamp Act 62 4 The Aftermath 83 I I T H E T O W N S H E N D A C T S C R I S I S , 1 7 6 6 - 1 7 7 3 5 Conflict Anew 105 6 Urban Politics and the Imperial Crisis 125 7 "Liberty and Trade" 150 I I I R E V O L U T I O N A N D I N D E P E N D E N C E , 1773-1776 8 The Tea Act and the Coercive Acts 175 9 Whigs and Tories 198 10 Empire and Liberty 220 11

, 175 Britain: American prisoners of, 73, 74, 77, 78, 84, 85, 91, 92, 168, 181, 182, 235n52; and Americans’ belligerent status, 69, 73; British captives’ loyalty to, 172 – 73, 176; colonial empire of, 144; Hessians hired by, 98 – 100, 105 – 7, 124; and imperial crisis, 41 – 47; prisoner policy, 5; and Seven Years’ War, 25 – 31, 39, 78 British Army: desertions of, 140, 158, 162; and loyalists, 132; and occupation of Philadelphia, 6 – 7, 120, 121, 123, 125 – 26, 130 – 31, 132, 133, 136, 138, 223n2 240 INDEX British captives: access to physicians, 113

history. Our challenge is to distinguish the protean idea of “empire” from the British Empire as patriots came to understand it through the imperial crisis and Revolution- ary War. Colonists mobilized on behalf of their understanding of what they thought the empire was or should be, rallying in defense of colonial 22 Peter S. Onuf “constitutions” and the constitution of the empire that protected them. If, as exponents of parliamentary sovereignty argued and the Declaratory Act of 1766 made explicit, there was no such thing as an imperial constitution, then it

understood ownership established in that fashion as protected by natural law. By 1760, this disagreement over property had also destabilized other British colonies as yeomen claimed ownership of hundreds of thou- sands of acres in the American interior by virtue of their labor, often drawing on John Locke's Second Treatise to justify their position. 3 Agrarian rioting preserved the integrity of these noninstitutional perceptions of property. As the imperial crisis progressed to revolution, those who rebelled reached an unspoken, often tension-filled, agreement on the