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2013 Master's Level Graduate Research Conference

Session I - Session II - Session III

Intercolonial Migration: The Coming of the Revolution in New Hampshire and Massachusetts

This presentation explores the origins of the American Revolution in New Hampshire. Specifically, it seeks to explain how a colony that had calmly weathered the 1760s, when the first rounds of British taxation had inflamed neighboring Boston, erupted in protest, defied the authority of its governor, and fell in alongside the revolutionaries of Massachusetts by 1774. Though growing tensions with Great Britain certainly lent that protest its particular shape, its roots lay decades earlier in waves of migrants from colonies further south, drawn by the promise of cheaply available land that had been newly secure by the French defeat of 1763. These new arrivals to the New Hampshire frontier pulled the colony out from the Atlantic coast and effected a profound transformation of its political character. John Wentworth, royal governor of the province, instituted a number of reforms to impose some order upon this growing population, but by the early 1770s, he somewhat ironically found those very structures—new county courts and appointed officials—arrayed against him by a political insurgency. By 1775, the governor had been run out of office, driven back to London, and the following year New Hampshire adopted the first state constitution of the emerging United States. With its focus on migration and frontier settlement, this presentation offers a narrative of the Revolution not so easily bounded by provincial lines. This story unfolds in New Hampshire, certainly, but it looks to individuals and ideas of proper governance traced across colonial boundaires.

Presenter: Alex Jablonski (Binghamton University) -- ajablon1@binghamton.edu
Topic: History II - Panel
Location: 30 Hartwell
Time: 10:45 am (Session II)