Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Save the Date: Ties that Bind, Companion Dialogue


Join Morristown National Historical Park and the Bethel Church of Morristown for a poignant discussion inspired by the traveling exhibit currently on view at the museum: The Ties That Bind: How Race Relations Shaped Morris County.

As a companion dialogue to the exhibit, this discussion will represent what is hoped would be the start of future dialogues around the inspiration generated by the exhibit. Curated by the Reverend Dr. Sidney S. Williams of the Bethel Church of Morristown, this dialogue will bring together some of the scholars that worked with Pastor Williams to develop this long neglected overview of Morristown and Morris County history.

Like any community, Morristown has multiple layers of unique, yet intersected, conduits of history. Not always pleasant, this history is nonetheless who we are today; but it does not have to define who we are tomorrow. While Morristown has almost exclusively been lodged in the community memory as a Revolutionary War camp, it goes without saying it was, and is, far more than just one story.

Real people, real lives, real stories. Please join us as we begin what we hope will be a journey of resilience and reconciliation to remember, eulogize, and even resurrect these people of the past who so eloquently helped shape, as a community, the Morristown we call home.

🔔When: Saturday, October, 26, 2019 10:00 AM

🔔Where: Morristown National Historical Park
                Museum Auditorium
                30 Washington Place, Morristown, NJ. 

#Savethedate #tiesthatbind 

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Jefferson Davis & the Birth of the "Lost Cause"

In the years following the end of the American Civil War (1861-1865), seminal figures of the former Confederate states developed a series of arguments which were designed and promoted as the reasons why the South felt justified to break away from the Union. Many of these narratives still linger to this day in the popular perception of the Civil War, especially as it related to the issue of slavery. They have become known to the popular imagination as the "Lost Cause". One of the critical figures who promoted and created this movement was former Confederate president and former US Senator from Mississippi Jefferson Davis. In the later years of his life, when his family had lost everything due to the war, Davis wrote a 1,500 page two volume work titled The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government (Davis’ choice of a title was evocative of Edward Gibbon’s The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire; as though the South was somehow reminiscent of the lost grandeur of ancient Rome). Davis, through his book, ignited the "Lost Cause" fire which was growing stronger as the end of the war receded further into the past.

MORR 9746
            Davis’ work has three distinctive goals: 1. To prove the legality of the South's secession through a constitutional argument. 2. To prove President Lincoln and Congress overstepped their boundaries, which were set by the Constitution. 3. To prove the South had been mistreated in the aftermath of the conflict through the repression of their rights. In addition to these goals, the book tells the story of how the North and South became so different from one another. Through his time in the nation's capital, Davis experienced firsthand the growing divide between the increasingly industrial North and the agricultural South. Davis himself owned a large farming plantation with many slaves in his home state of Mississippi in the years leading up to the war. When the South was defeated, like most landed families, Davis lost not only his wealth, but his slaves and property.

            When someone supports a theory like the "Lost Cause," they often already have certain views which are perpetuated by the theory. For example, Davis believed the South had every right to secede from the Union because the South had voluntarily joined the Union. There was no clause, he argued, in the Constitution that prohibited seceding. In a separate article that was published a year after his death, Davis put forth the idea that the Founding Fathers should or would have put a clause which legalized secession had they thought the concept through.[1] His preconceptions allowed him to justify the "Lost Cause" theory.

            The legality of the South's secession, based on a literal interpretation of the Constitution, has become one of the main pillars of the "Lost Cause" theory. A literal interpretation is one of many interpretations someone could have of the Constitution. It means that a person takes the Constitution verbatim. Davis, like many southerners at the time, saw the Constitution as an agreement between the federal government and the states. As an example, Davis cited an 1805 event where South Carolina voluntarily gave up control over forts in Charleston Harbor and on the Beaufort River. Davis also notes, in 1821, Virginia voluntarily gave up control over Fort Monroe and the Rip Raps.[2] Davis then fast forwards to when these states seceded from the Union. He claims the states had every right to take back these strategic locations because they were voluntarily given to the federal government in the first place. For him, this justifies his preconception that the Constitution was a voluntary agreement between the states and the federal government.

            Davis also uses the Constitution to justify his preconception that the federal government had to defend slavery rather than trying to abolish it. He points to the Three-Fifths Clause (Article I, section II), the Importation Clause (Article I, section IX) and the Fugitive Slave Clause (Article IV, section II) as clear reasons for his preconception.[3] After the southern states seceded from the Union, Davis again used the Constitution to justify their actions. He emphasizes the act of secession was used as a last resort because the Constitution had failed to protect the South from "Northern aggression". He uses Article IV, section IV to protest the Union's reaction to southern secession. He also falsifies the Union's claim of "preserving the union" because the reality was to subjugate the South to the Union's anti-slavery views. These various pieces of the Constitution, through Davis' literal interpretation, help complete the legal justifications for the South's secession.

            The mistreatment of southern civilians as the Union pushed its way further south is another pillar of the "Lost Cause" theory. Throughout the book, Davis makes it clear that the innocent civilians of the South had their freedoms purposely trampled on just because they had supported their state rather than the federal government. He also makes clear the governments set up by the Union in occupied territory were illegal because they were not "by and for the people". This meant these governments could not pass laws, hold election nor approve amendments to the Constitution. These governments held elections in which only those who had pro Union opinions could run. No Confederates were involved which upset those in power in the South immediately after the Civil War. To men like Davis, this was a clear example of the federal government forcing people to choose loyalty to the federal government rather than loyalty to their state.

Davis' signature, top.
            One of the most interesting pillars of the "Lost Cause" is the supposed violation of the Constitution by President Lincoln and Congress. Davis uses the capture of Nashville, Tennessee as a clear example of this over stepping. When the city was captured in February 1862, the Union forced all local officials and clergymen to take an oath of allegiance and those who did not were imprisoned until they did.[4] This was repeated across Union captured territory. Davis likened this oath of allegiance as "[invoking] the Constitution was like Satan quoting Scripture".[5]

            In addition to mistreatment of civilians, Davis also points out the Union illegally established governments in captured territory. This included creating a Union friendly court system and installing Union generals as military governors. Davis refers back to his literal interpretation of the Constitution to defend his reaction. He uses Article IV, section IV to explain the Union did not guarantee the South a republican form of government by forcing a turnover of captured states' governments.[6] He again points to Article IV, section IV when justifying Virginia's right to protect herself from the Union's invasion. Another violation of Article IV, under section III, was the forming of West Virginia from Virginia. The people of Virginia did not consent to the creation of West Virginia because the federal government did not have the power to interfere with Virginia's laws because Virginia was a separate power from the federal government.[7] This also plays off Davis' opinion that the states are a sovereign body independent of the federal government.

            In addition to violating the Constitution, the federal government, as Davis interpreted matters, passed several confiscations acts which allowed the Union to confiscate anything that could aid the Southern cause. This included slaves, property, weapons and raw materials. Davis and other high ranking Confederate government officials saw this as an excuse by the Union to plunder the South and kill innocent civilians and to crush their rights as citizens of the Union.[8]
            In the immediate aftermath of the war, the Union set about readmitting the Southern states. There were many rules the former Confederacy had to follow. One of the biggest was every public servant had to take an oath of allegiance. According to Davis, the oath had two major problems with it. The first was that the person taking it was treated as though they were not a citizen of the United States. Davis believed that everyone involved in the war was always and had been citizens of the United States. The second was the clause which demanded southerners recognize slaves were now free. This sends Davis into a tirade about how the slaves could not be freed because they were Southerners' "unalienable right of property" and the federal government was supposed to protect, not abolish, slavery.[9] Another obligation the South had to take on was to accept the laws of the Union, which included the Thirteenth Amendment. Davis cited this as a violation of the South's rights as independent people. Davis had another issue with the process the Reconstruction governments the Union had set up. They were run by a general of the Union army. Military law replaced civilian law. Several years into the Reconstruction, the decision was made to allow the South to once again have a republican form of government. There was a catch: freed slaves had to be allowed to vote in the elections and only those with Union sympathies could run for office. Davis decried this as a government that was not created by "the free and unconstrained action of the whole people of a State."[10] Again, from the separate article, he believes "the only people known to the system were the people of a State or commonwealth."[11] Davis saw this as yet another example of the Union forcing their laws down the throats of innocent Southerners and purposely crushing their freedoms. Davis suggested an alternative method to readmission: the former Confederate states could "reconsider their ordinances of secession" and once again recognized the "Constitution as the supreme law of the land". This could have allowed the creation of what had existed prior to the war: a "Union of consent."[12]
            The birth of the "Lost Cause" theory came as the country was trying to move past its bloodiest moment, the Civil War. Some of those who had led the former Confederate states, on the battlefield and in politics, created a powerful mythology that is still being felt today. Jefferson Davis gave the theory the biggest shot in the arm with his book, but because it was incredibly detailed and repetitive, very few chose to actually read it. The ideas it suggests, however, gave the "Lost Cause" a true shape. A shape which has little changed for over one hundred and fifty years. Many turn to these ideas though when they defend their pro-southern opinion. These opinions are supported up by preconceptions which have faded over time, but some still linger to this day. The strongest of these is the undying support of states' rights. This has become a part of the modern day federalism argument which calls for a smaller federal government and giving states more power. Although the racial part of the "Lost Cause" theory has died out, most of the rest of the opinions have continued to live on in various iterations.  

[1] Davis, Jefferson. "The Doctrine of State Rights." The North American Review Vol. 150, No. 399 (Feb. 1890): 205-219 - via Wikisource.
[2] Vol. 1, Part III, Chap. II in Jefferson Davis Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government (Urbana, Illinois, Project Gutenberg, 2013), 197-198.
[3] Vol. 1, Part I, Chap. X in Davis, 82.
[4] Vol. 2, Part IV, Chap. XXXII in Davis, 228.
[5] Vol. 2, Part IV, Chap. XXXII in Davis, 229.
[6] Vol. 2, Part IV, Chap. XXXIII in Davis, 239-240.
[7] Vol. 2, Part IV, Chap. XXXIII in Davis, 242.
[8] Vol. 2, Part IV, Chap. LV in Davis, 530.
[9] Vol. 2, Part IV, Chap. LVI in Davis, 540.
[10] Vol. 2, Part IV, Chap. LVI in Davis, 541.
[11] Davis, "The Doctrine of State Rights", 205-219 - via Wikisource.
[12] Vol. 2, Part IV, Chap. LVI in Davis, 539.

This blogpost by Rose Spady, Mullenberg College.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Learn How to Become a Document Doctor!

Who would have thought that removing 17th century manuscripts, glued down to acidic paper, would actually feel like an operation?! 

My experience as an intern at Washington’s Memorial Headquarters was nothing short of inspiring and intriguing. My job as an intern was to process and rehouse scrapbooks from Lloyd W. Smith. There are about 30 scrapbooks in his collection and all of them are glued down onto ridiculously acidic paper that is burning the manuscripts from the inside-out. Handling 17th century manuscripts that have not been touched in 50+ years was one for the books. I knew I had a daunting task ahead of me.

To me, research is an ambiguous word. Some people think about reading pages upon pages of books and letters to educate themselves on a specific topic they are studying. That is what I thought research was until it came time to dissemble these scrapbooks. My research consisted of dissecting each manuscript. I tried to figure out who the letter was from/to, the date, the language, the context behind it, and why Smith specifically placed it in the order that he did. Was each document connected to the one following it? Were they completely random and did he place them there because he thought they were unique? Some of these questions I was able to answer and some of them I was not. If there is a word to describe someone who is more than a perfectionist, I would be the definition of that word! I am curious and constantly searching for answers. It was challenging and frustrating to retrace the steps of someone as mysterious as Smith because I did not always discover the answers I was looking for. It was also challenging because the first scrapbooks I tackled were titled the “Thirty Years War”. After 3 months of reading Dutch, Swedish, Latin, and German, I can officially confirm that I am not fluent in any of these. How could I possibly do research, successfully, in different languages? Luckily this type of research did not consist of as much reading as I initially thought. I was able to identify context clues to help me. I think my generation was one of the last one to be taught cursive in elementary school but was not forced to continue with it after that. As sad as this is to say, I am thankful that I actually remember the entire alphabet. I thought knowing basic cursive would be beneficial for me when reading 17th century paleography. Well, I was gravely mistaken. Languages and handwriting have evolved so much in the past 400 years that the “1”, “7”, “S”, “R”, and “T” looked way different back then than they do now.

This manuscript gives you a glimpse of the paleography I was handling. As elegant as it appears, do not be deceived by its undecipherable letters.

I thought that archival processing was difficult until it came to archival preservation. One of the most frustrating parts about removing these ancient documents was that the collector casually glued these precious and priceless artifacts to acidic paper. For someone who appreciates and loves history as much as I do, this was tragic to look at, let alone dissemble. As shown in the photo, I used a scalpel and a scissor to remove most of the manuscripts and engravings. The majority of the documents were glued down in all four corners. Some of the manuscripts already had the first layer peeled off but others were still completely glued down.

To my dismay, some of the manuscripts were not removable which led to a couple of different options. If the manuscript was glued down to the acidic paper in certain spots, I would try cut around the glued section and remove as much as the acidic paper as possible.

If the manuscript was completely glued down, painfully, I would have to sacrifice it to the acidic paper furnace and just make a copy onto non-acidic paper and place it into the appropriate folder. The hardest removal I had was removing two primary documents completely glued down on the same corners. They were the same exact size as well. Although I did not feel completely comfortable removing them, I also did not feel comfortable leaving them to decompose. I designed a couple of contraptions out of paper and foam in order to create a barrier between all three surfaces. After about 15 minutes of careful cutting, I successfully removed both with minimal acidic paper left behind. I uncovered that sometimes the best practices are the most abnormal or unusual ones. Archival preservation will always have its complications, but it is important to be versatile and think outside of the box.

The final step to my internship was to create a finding aid. A finding aid is a tool used to facilitate research for others. It is that excel spreadsheet or document that you come across while trying to discover what is actually in a museum or library without physically being present there. In my experience of doing research, I was always too focused on my project and never realized how much effort goes into creating an accessible research platform for others. Being the woman behind the scenes for creating the finding aids was stressful but so fruitful. Whenever classmates are out of class for a day and ask for my notes, I always tell them to ask someone else. Simply because I have the messiest and most disorganized notes you probably have ever seen. My brain processes research and lectures in a very scattered and disorganized way. When I review my notes, it makes sense to me, but not to everyone else. Creating the finding aid challenged me to think like the person on the other side of the screen who thinks completely different than me. Where would they look for a date or a specific detail about the manuscript or the type of manuscript it is? I learned how important it is to be effective and organized in your work. 

It is mind-blowing to me that hundreds of people will be viewing this finding aid and my work might have an impact on their research or the way they perceive history.

This blog post by Madeline Narduzzi, University of Dallas.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Featured Artifact: An Account of the Late Revolution in New-England

MORR 9557
In April 1689, inhabitants of Boston and the surrounding countryside overthrew Sir Edmund Andros, the unpopular governor of the newly-established Dominion of England.¹ Writing to acquaintances in London, Nathanael Byfield, a merchant from New England, explained the events that culminated in Sir Edmund Andros’s arrest and included a declaration by the leaders of the Revolution justifying their actions. Printed in London as “An Account of the Late Revolution in New-England Together with the Declaration of the Gentlemen, Merchants, and Inhabitants of Boston, and the Country Adjacent,” Byfield’s letter and the enclosed declaration provided a detailed description of Sir Edmund Andros’s appointment, his administration, and the reasons for his overthrow.² Following the Glorious Revolution of 1688 in England, which deposed King James II -- the last Catholic Stuart -- the pamphlet justified the revolt against Sir Edmund Andros as a bloodless revolution that restored the rights of the inhabitants of New England.³ As Englishmen, the leaders of the revolt protested the arbitrary government of Sir Edmund Andros and his disregard for the representative and legal rights of the colonists. The New Englanders insisted that the “Revolution in New England” was not treasonous, but an extension of the principles of the Glorious Revolution to the New World. With the revolt, the New Englanders claimed English liberties for themselves and reasserted their rights to representative government and autonomy from the Crown. 

While the Dominion of New England existed for a short period between 1686 and 1689, the English Lords of Trade had planned to enforce a new government on the New England colonies since the reign of King Charles II.⁴ In 1675, proprietors or companies owned and administered two thirds of English colonies in the New World.⁵ Because the New England colonies had the “most numerous infractions of the navigation laws,[and] the most blatant repudiation of royal authority,” it was thought that reducing their independence might improve the Crown’s control over colonial policy.⁶ But in order to restrain the independent operations of these colonies, the Lords of Trade, with the support of the Stuart monarchy, sought to challenge the legal basis of colonial charters granted to private companies or proprietary owners. The Lords of Trade began the process of challenging the charter of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1681. But after the successful prosecution of the Bermuda Company in 1684, the English Crown issued a writ of scire facias against the Massachusetts Bay Company revoking its charter.⁷ 
The charter of Massachusetts Bay granted the company self-government in its executive, legislative and judicial affairs. Issued in 1629 by King Charles I the charter established a government for Massachusetts consisting of a governor, deputy governor, and council “to be from tyme to tyme constituted, elected and chosen out of the Freemen” of the colony.⁸ Each year, those “free of the… Company and Body” assembled in the “Generall Court” were to elect the governor, deputy governor, and members of the council called “Assistants.”⁹ In addition to electing the chief officers of the government, the King authorized the General Court “to make Lawes and Ordinances for the Good and Welfare of the… Company” provided that they “be not contrarie or repugnant to the Lawes and Statutes of this our Realme of England.”¹⁰ But the right to self-government in its domestic affairs led to Massachusetts Bay becoming a center of resistance to royal regulations, “set[ting] a tone of independence which affected to a greater or lesser degree, all the English settlements east of the Hudson River.”¹¹ By reconstituting the New England settlements as royal colonies, the Lords of Trade intended to render them more dependent on the Crown. But the establishment of the Dominion of New England and the appointment of a royal governor not only curtailed the independence of the colonies, but almost entirely repealed their legislative rights. 
In 1686, King James II appointed Sir Edmund Andros the governor of the Dominion of New England and granted him extensive powers over executive, legislative, and judicial government in the colony.¹² As governor of the formerly separate colonies of Massachusetts, New Plymouth, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire Andros ruled at the head of an unelected executive council.¹³ The King permitted Sir Edmund Andros and his council to “make constitute and ordine Laws statutes and ordinances for” the Dominion of New England “as conveniently may be agreeable to the Laws and statutes” of England.¹⁴ While the former charter of Massachusetts established an elected government that executed the laws of the General Court, Andros and his council were not responsible to any legislature. In addition to the right to “Impose” any “such rates and Taxes” that Andros and his council found “necessary,” the King also “require[d]” the new colonial government “to continue such taxes and imposition as are now layed and Imposed on” the colonists until they would “agree & settle such other taxes as shall be sufficient for the support of our Government” in New England.¹⁵ While this left room for taxes to be reduced, it did not guarantee that they would not be raised. Instead it gave Sir Edmund license to raise taxes as he or the King saw fit without the consent of the inhabitants of New England. Because Andros and the council also controlled the judiciary, they had effective control of the entire colony without responsibility to its citizens.¹⁶ As governor, Andros was also authorized to “Levy Arme muster command or imploy all persons whatsoever residing within” the colony “to transferr from one place to another for resisting...all Enemies Pirates and Rebells” threatening New England.¹⁷ By 1688, New York, East Jersey, and West Jersey had been absorbed into the Dominion of New England, only further empowering the governor.¹⁸ Sir Edmund Andros’s appointment rendered New England dependent on the Crown, revoking the rights of self-government that the inhabitants of New England had enjoyed. 
While Sir Edmund Andros’s infringement of these rights angered colonists, the New England elite were unwilling to oppose his administration until after learning of the overthrow of King James II. By early August, the inhabitants of Boston received news of William of Orange’s invasion of England and the overthrow of the unpopular James II in the Glorious Revolution.¹⁹ With the monarch who had appointed him governor deposed, Sir Edmund recognized that news of the Glorious Revolution imperilled his administration. Though he sought to prevent the reports of the events in England from becoming widespread, the success of the revolt in England had become common knowledge to the public of Boston.²⁰ While the New England elite had been acquiescent to the administration of Governor Andros -- not wishing to directly oppose the King -- the change in circumstances led them to consider a revolt.²¹ Writing in the decade after the revolt about a clandestine meeting of Boston elite that April, Cotton Mather indicated that the gentlemen of New England intended to discourage revolutionary sentiments “in daily Hopes of Orders from England” that might dismiss Andros.²² However, “if the Country People by any violent Motions push’d the Matter on so far, as to make a Revolution unavoidable” it was resolved that “some of the Gentlemen” of Boston “should appear at the Head of the Action with a Declaration accordingly prepared” in order to prevent “the shedding of Blood by an ungoverned” mob and to justify their actions.²³ Because Cotton Mather had traveled to London in order to seek redress from King James II for the actions of Andros, his depiction of the level-headedness of the New England elite was certainly not impartial.²⁴ But the careful planning of a revolt by the elite of Boston and the preparation of a declaration in advance does indicate that there were concerns that the legality of their actions might be called into question. While Governor Andros was connected to the deposed James II, he had been appointed governor by an English monarch. By portraying the “Revolution” in New England as a response to the tyranny of Governor Andros, the leaders of the revolt intended to demonstrate to William of Orange that their actions were equivalent to his own against James II.  By April 18,1689, the leaders of the revolt had prepared a declaration justifying their conduct and local militia occupied Boston demanding the surrender of Governor Andros. In his letter to friends in London, Nathanael Byfield reported that 1,500 men from Boston and the surrounding country had occupied Boston. With the “People in Arms,” the orchestrators of the revolt arrested those loyal to the governor, who had sought refuge in a local fort.² The leaders of the revolt, Waite Winthrop, Simon Bradstreet, William Stoughton, Samuel Shrimpton, Bartholomew Gidney, William Brown, Thomas Danforth, John Richards, Elisha Cook, Isaac Addington, John Nelson, Adam Winthrop, Peter Sergeant, John Foster, and David Waterhouse, dispatched a letter to Sir Edmund requesting his surrender.² Claiming that they had been “surprised with the Peoples sudden taking of Arms… whereof we were wholly ignorant,” the revolutionaries recommended that Andros “surrender and deliver up the Government and Fortification to be preserved and disposed according to Order and Direction from the Crown of England.”² In a veiled threat, the gentlemen promised “all security from violence” for himself and his officers if he surrendered.² If he refused, the writers informed him -- without acknowledging their own part in the rebellion -- that there was little they could to dissuade the mob from “the taking of the Fortification by Storm.”² With Boston in the hands of the rebels, Sir Edmund surrendered and was placed under arrest.³  With Sir Edmund Andros in confinement and the militia in control of Boston, the leaders sought to justify their actions. In “The Declaration of the Gentlemen, Merchants, and Inhabitants of Boston, and the Country Adjacent,” the orchestrators of the revolt presented a careful argument against the legal basis of the Dominion of New England and Sir Edmund Andros’s infringements of the natural liberties of the inhabitants of New England.³¹ The establishment of the Dominion of New England, the writers claimed, was part of the “Popish Plot” facilitated by the Catholic King James II to “crush and break a Countrey so entirely and signally made up of Reformed Churches.”³² Furthermore, the legal basis for the revocation of the charter of Massachusetts Bay was predicated upon a “most injurious Pretence [and scarce that] of Law” without the chance to appeal.³³ This pretence was used to “put [the inhabitants of New England] under a President and Council, without any liberty for an Assembly, which the other American Plantations have, by a Commission from His Majesty.”³ Though the dissolution of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and the establishment of the Dominion of New England was illegal, the revolutionaries insisted that they refused to resist in order to prove that they were “dutiful and loyal to our King.”³ But their acquiescence became more difficult when their government became “more Absolute and Arbitrary” with the arrival of Sir Edmund Andros.³ Governor Andros and his council made laws and raised taxes with impunity, levied and dispatched troops when he wanted, and even brought troops from England to impose his arbitrary government upon New England.³ In effect, Sir Edmund Andros’s administration declared that the King’s subjects in New England “must not think the Priviledges of English-men would follow us to the end of the World.”³ Having been “treated with multiplied contradictions to Magna Carta, the rights of which we laid claim unto” the people of New England had justification enough to overthrow Andros.³ But the New Englanders remained complacent until they learned of the Glorious Revolution and the overthrow of James II. Although Andros had “taken all imaginable care to keep [New England] ignorant… [of] the noble undertaking of the Prince of Orange,” the New Englanders decided to “follow the Patterns which the Nobility, Gentry and Commonalty” of England had taken against James II and they overthrew the tyrannical government of Sir Edmund Andros.⁴⁰

With the “Revolution in New-England,” the inhabitants of Boston asserted their rights as Englishmen to representative government against the arbitrary whims of the Crown and its officers. With the establishment of the Dominion of New England and the appointment of Sir Edmund Andros as governor of the new colony, the English Lords of Trades sought to implement the Stuart policy of centralizing control of the colonies and increasing their dependence on the Crown. But the commission of Sir Edmund Andros completely transformed the government of the New England colonies, which had traditionally enjoyed representative government and a significant degree of autonomy from the Crown. Having been deprived of the rights that the colonists had retained since their arrival in the New World, the inhabitants of New England sought to return to their previous form of government. With the deposition of James II in the Glorious Revolution, the people of New England initiated preparations to overthrow the governor. The arrest of Sir Edmund Andros and the declaration against the excesses of his government allowed the revolutionaries to claim English liberties for themselves in an attempt to extend the principles of the Glorious Revolution to the American colonies.

1.      Nathanael Byfield, An Account of the Late Revolution in New-England Together with the Declaration of the Gentlemen, Merchants, and Inhabitants of Boston, and the Country Adjacent (London: Rose and Crown, 1689), p. 19. Collection of the Morristown National Historical Park.
2.      Ibid., pp. 1-20.
3.      Ian K Steele,"Origins of Boston's Revolutionary Declaration of 18 April 1689,” The New England Quarterly 62, no. 1 (1989), p.  78.
4.      Philip S. Haffenden,"The Crown and the Colonial Charters, 1675-1688: Part I," The William and Mary Quarterly 15, no. 3 (1958), pp. 298-299.
5.      Ibid., p. 299.
6.      Ibid.
7.      Ibid.,pp. 304-307: “The King had the right to repeal a patent by scire facias where he was deceived in his grant or it was to the injury of the subject.”
8.      Charter of Massachusetts Bay, (Teaching American History),
9.      Ibid.
10.  Ibid. 
11.  Haffenden, "The Crown and the Colonial Charters, 1675-1688: Part I,” pp. 299-300.
13.  Ibid., p. 3.
14.  Ibid., p. 5.
15.  Ibid.
16.  Ibid., pp. 6-7.
17.  Ibid., pp. 8-9.
18.  Philip S. Haffenden, "The Crown and the Colonial Charters, 1675-1688: Part II," The William and Mary Quarterly 15, no. 4 (1958), pp. 459-461.
19.  Steele, "Origins of Boston's Revolutionary Declaration of 18 April 1689,” p. 77.
20.  Ibid.
21.  Ibid., p. 78.
22.  Ibid.
23.  Ibid.
24.  Byfield, An Account of the Late Revolution in New-England Together with the Declaration of the Gentlemen, Merchants, and Inhabitants of Boston, and the Country Adjacent, p. 16.
25.  Ibid., p. 4.
26.  Ibid. 20.
27.  Ibid. 
28.  Ibid.
29.  Ibid.
30.  Ibid., pp. 4-5.
31.  Ibid., pp. 7-19.
32.  Ibid., pp. 7-8.
33.  Ibid., p. 8.
34.  Ibid.
35.  Ibid., p. 9.
36.  Ibid.
37.  Ibid.
38.  Ibid., p. 12.
39.  Ibid.
40.  Ibid., p. 18.

This Featured Artifact by Damiano Servidio; Summer Intern