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Gentlemen RevolutionariesPower and Justice in the New American Republic$
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Tom Cutterham

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780691172668

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691172668.001.0001

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(p.123) Chapter Five Rebellion
Gentlemen Revolutionaries

Tom Cutterham

Princeton University Press

This chapter recounts the story of the year that led up to the Constitutional Convention at Philadelphia in the summer of 1787. In western New England, rural unrest finally reached the point of armed rebellion by the autumn of 1786, leading American gentlemen to a new pitch of anxiety about the future of the republic. In Rhode Island, the popular majority pursued an inflationary paper-money policy that quickly led to violent clashes between the regime and its opponents. A group of Connecticut poets produced The Anarchiad, a vicious satirical attack on rural insurgents and popular legislators alike. Meanwhile, in Massachusetts, Boston merchants combined with the Society of the Cincinnati to raise an army that would put down the rebellion. It was during these turbulent months that a network of leading gentlemen developed a radical strategy for reasserting control of the new nation, a last-ditch effort to establish the limits of American democracy.

Keywords:   Constitutional Convention, armed rebellion, American gentlemen, paper-money policy, The Anarchiad, rural insurgents, popular legislators, Cincinnati, American democracy

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