Rebels Rising Cities and the American Revolution
While port cities connected the American colonies economically, politically, and culturally to the British empire, urban colonists, Benjamin Carp argues, were among the first to slough off their British identity and unite as Americans. Looking at the physical environments of cities as political catalysts, Carp contends that what began as interaction, negotiation, conflict, and compromise in churches, taverns, wharves, and city streets developed into a wider political awareness and collaborative political action. City dwellers ability to transmit their ideas to their neighbors in rural areas was an important step on the path to Revolution. Carp focuses on a specific type of space in each of the five largest cities of the Anglo-American coloniesmaritime and commercial spaces of the Boston waterfront; the taverns of New York; the houses of worship in Newport; the households of Charleston; and the streets outside the halls of power in Philadelphia. While each of the chapter takes a single city as a case study, each also illuminates the conditions and changes taking place elsewhere from the 1740s to the 1780s. In the epilogue, Carp discusses how these cities became untenable and ineffective as sites of political mobilization during wartime, and how patriots moved administrative, military, and economic management to the hinterlands. In discussing the diverse backgrounds, interests, and classes of the people mobilized for the Revolutionary cause, Carp includes artisans, free blacks, slaves, and women. This groundbreaking work will contribute to scholarship on the American Revolution, as well as those who study material culture, geography, urban studies, and the local history.