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Americans who lived between the Revolution and Civil War felt the brunt of resounding and sometimes frightening changes which together eventually influenced the political culture of early America In this lively study Robert E Shalhope examines one of the changes most difficult to gauge and most controversial among students of the period the rise and triumph of liberal individualism in America and explores its impact on political cultureTaking Bennington Vermont and its environs as a case study Shalhope untangles the clash among three competing elements in the community the egalitarian communalism of the Strict Congregationalists; the democratic individualism of the revolutionary Green Mountain Boys; and the hierarchical authority of the community's Federalist gentlemen of property and standing None of these players anticipated and indeed did not wish for the result the emergence of democratic liberalism Shalhope writes of class tension economic competition and religious differences and ultimately of cultural conflict and political partisanship and yet throughout uses individual life experiences to give the narrative piuancy and to emphasize the significance of seemingly small personal decisions Shalhope thus demonstrates how the private lives of ordinary people played a role in the settlement of public issuesAs an account of a single town and how its residents responded to change Bennington and the Green Mountain Boys supplies a fascinating microcosmic view of the larger story of how liberal America came to be

7 thoughts on “Bennington and the Green Mountain Boys The Emergence of Liberal Democracy in Vermont 1760 1850 Reconfiguring American Political History

  1. says:

    If you can get your hands on this book then do it It's worth it Shalhope debunks the romanticized myth of the Green Mountain Boys and tells their story as objectively as one possibly can More impressively he used primary sources extensively He even analyzed articles from the Bennington Gazette of the 18th century When he didn't use such sources Shalhope cited reputable and highly respectable secondary sources like O'Callaghan's History of New York Anyone who wants to study the land disputes between New York and the New Hampshire Grants between 1764 and 1785 owe Shalhope a debt of gratitude Out of all the books I've been able to skim through or read about the topic this one has to be the most insightful On top of my praise I will say that his argument can become a little shaky if we cross check his opinions with other respected revolutionary era scholars but overall he defends his case successfully with deep analyses on the politics that persisted between both parties and how all their issues tied in with the revolution as a whole I highly recommend 'Benningtion and the Green Mountain Boys' 55