The War in the Countryside

Allan Kulikoff

in The Oxford Handbook of the American Revolution

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199746705
Published online December 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 The War in the Countryside

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  • United States History
  • Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)
  • Military History


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The experience of Tiverton, a town in Rhode Island, during the American Revolution reflects the story of much of Revolutionary America, particularly the countryside. However, the history of the war in the countryside is not well understood. During peaceful times, Britain promoted trade and a colonial political hierarchy, with courts and town meetings justifying gender, class, and racial relations. Men and women, the poor and the middling sort, slave and free, lived in households and communities that sustained free families, validated the division of labor, and resulted in economic growth. This social order was disrupted by the war, and the violence it brought in its wake. This chapter first examines the patterns of Revolutionary-era violence and plunder in the countryside, and then discusses the macroeconomic consequences of war and violence, and the eruption of the first great economic depression in American national history. It concludes by analyzing the impact of war on social groups (for example, free women and slaves) and on the households they organized.

Keywords: countryside; American Revolution; America; Britain; social order; violence; plunder; social groups; households; economic depression

Article.  8533 words. 

Subjects: History ; United States History ; Early Modern History (1500 to 1700) ; Military History

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