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Robert Gross - The Minute Men and their World - Essay Example

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The Minutemen and Their World by Robert Gross Robert Gross has written an excellent social history about the inhabitants of Concord, Massachusetts during the period when they touched fame and were known to the world. He alternates between their preparations for battle and the backgrounds of the citizens lives…
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Robert Gross - The Minute Men and their World
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Download file to see previous pages He overall provides a stirring view of late eighteenth century New England on the cusp of revolution and freedom. In Concord town politics, though the inhabitants denied it, were as usual. Voting rights were severely restricted and limited the number of men eligible for town leadership. Wealth and leisure time further diminished the pool. Only those with enough of both were able to rise to serve the needs of their fellow men sufficiently. Money and position piled on top of place to complicate life. As a thriving center of commerce, Concord hosted both a bustling town business center and a sprawling farmland. Conflicts between urban and rural inhabitants over basic infrastructure needs excited the assemblies on a regular basis. Schooling, religion, and roads all served a different constituency and for them all to be centered in town was seen as a disservice to the rural community who “had to walk into town in everyday stockings and shoes then for the sake of appearances top in a field and change into their go-to-meeting slippers.”1 Church itself posed a mighty challenge to the unity of Concord’s inhabitants. During the Great Awakening a new preacher ignited fervor among the young and vital in town. His bowing to the interests of youth to fill pews offended the staunch faithful and, somewhat along geographical lines, they broke off to form a second parish. When a new, young preacher replaced the first, a spendthrift schemer, one of the old timers, sought membership in the original parish. His questionable ethics toward his fellow Concordians led to his rejection by the congregation. By extension the outlying parish took this to heart and read into it a refusal to consider reconciliation. Then the same man took his grievances to the political realm and again lost. Concord was indeed a town divided. While the inhabitants of Concord simmered in their own stew of religious discord the colonies entered a period of contention with mother England. The Stamp Act triggered a wave of protests across the colonies and in Boston, party faithfuls organized a vote to recognize Parliament’s actions. When the vote came through it was barely shy of the necessary numbers to pass and demonstrate Massachusetts’ loyalty to the crown. A bitter disappointment to Governor Hutchinson, surely, but one that triggered a wave of political backlash. Much like today’s Tea Party, farmers and businessmen who saw their interests hindered by England’s acts of taxation, mounted an ideological revolt. They organized a revolution at the polls and saw to it that nineteen of thirty-two representatives to Boston were replaced for their efforts of royalist loyalty. In Concord, little interest sparked at the events plaguing the colony. When the vote came to replace their own man, Charles Prescott, they safely returned him to his role. Their concerns lay more in the sixty-six pound expense of burying the Great Awaking pastor, Reverend Daniel Bliss, and in finding his replacement than in subverting England’s fiscal policy toward the colonies. When the Boston Massacre rent headlines, Concord barely paused to comment. Of greater import a debate about relocating the Middlesex County seat from Cambridge to Concord. A matter of convenience more important than matters of state. Gradually, however, the people of Concord came around. In 1772 the Boston Committee of Correspondence wrote seeking a ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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