Date of Award
Level of Access Assigned by Author
Master of Arts (MA)
The history of the religious organizations in New England during the American Revolution has been written largely in terms of the experience of the Congregational Church. That is natural, for the part played by the Congregational Church loomed larger there than that of any other denomination, and it was the Congregational organization which took some of the most important steps in initiating the colonial resistance which led to independence. But while the role of the Anglican Church in the crisis was not so significant as that of the Congregational it certainly was not trivial. It constitutes a story that deserves to be told, but it has not been done.
The history of the Anglican Church organization, the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, was more complex than old traditions have made it out to be The characterization of the S. P. G. by text book writers as a very insignificant and ineffective organization in New England is not at all accurate. The S. P. G. was a forceful organization in the period before the American Revolution. It was increasing the influence, economic stability, and membership of the Anglican Church in the years between 1760 and 1774. It most probably would have made the Anglican Church one of the strongest religious organizations in New England if peace had continued. But it did not.
The Revolutionary War brought the wrath of persecution down on the Anglican Church in New England and left it a mere shadow of its pre-war self.
King, Irving Henry, "The S. P. G. in New England, 1760-1784: A Social Aspect of the American Revolution" (1961). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 3291.