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Fire under the AshesAn Atlantic History of the English Revolution$
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John Donoghue

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780226157658

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226072869.001.0001

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“Monsters,” “Savages,” and “Turbulent Carriages”

“Monsters,” “Savages,” and “Turbulent Carriages”

The Revolutionary Atlantic in Motion

(p.120) Chapter Four “Monsters,” “Savages,” and “Turbulent Carriages”
Fire under the Ashes

John Donoghue

University of Chicago Press

Although religious turmoil enveloped the colonies at the outset of the Revolution, only in New England did these conflicts spark radical reformation-inspired, constitutional revolutions against prerogative forms of civil government. Outrunning the pace of political change set by the “honest party” in England, settlers in Connecticut and Rhode Island established republican governments to preserve the people’s political and spiritual sovereignty in a reformed commonwealth. Roger Williams and Samuel Gorton returned to London to defend Rhode Island’s religiously tolerant, radical reformation experiment from violent annexation by their magisterial enemies in Massachusetts and the United Colonies. Despite the best efforts of New England and Old England’s most talented heresiographers, the pair convinced Parliament’s Committee for Foreign Plantations that the Bay Colony’s persecution of antinomians and Indians had forestalled the progress of the Reformation on the American strand. In this way, colonial emissaries in revolutionary London made the Parliamentary-sanctioned founding of a democratic commonwealth contingent upon a concept of liberty of conscience that encompassed the civil and spiritual sovereignty of native Americans and colonists alike. Coleman Streeters dominated this history, both on New England’s southwestern frontier and in Massachusetts, where Richard Saltonstall became a leader of radical reformation opposition and an exponent of republican structures of colonial government.

Keywords:   radical reformation, magisterial reformation, constitutional revolution, prerogative government, republicanism, United Colonies, Committee for Foreign Plantations, liberty of conscience, Indians, heresiography

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