Tuesday, December 28, 2010

John Adams on the French Revolutionary "Christian" Millennial Republicans:

They were quite an ecumenical and diverse coalition. To JAMES LLOYD, 14 February, 1815:

The Quakers, as I said in my last, were in principle against all wars, and, moreover, greatly prejudiced against New England, and personally against me. The Irish, who are very numerous and powerful in Pennsylvania, had been, and still were enthusiasts for the French revolution, extremely exasperated against old England, bitterly prejudiced against New England, strongly inclined in favor of the southern interest and against the northern. The Germans hated France and England too, but had been taught to hate New England more than either, and to abhor taxes more than all. A universal and perpetual exemption from taxes was held up to them as a temptation, by underhand politicians. The English, Scotch, and Irish Presbyterians, the Methodists, Anabaptists, the Unitarians and Universalists, with Dr. Priestley at their head, and all the other sectaries, even many of the Episcopalians themselves, had been carried away with the French revolution, and firmly believed that Bonaparte was the instrument of Providence to destroy the Pope and introduce the millennium. All these interests and parties were headed by Mr. McKean, an upright Chief Justice, an enlightened lawyer, a sagacious politician, and the most experienced statesman in the nation; by Mr. Mifflin, one of the earliest in the legislature of Pennsylvania and the first and second Congresses of the nation, an active officer in the revolutionary army, always extremely popular; by Jonathan B. Smith, an old revolutionary character.

I get the impression these were, basically, the Jefferson-Madison Democratic-Republicans and this is how they approached what was going down in France at the time.

I've long corrected what I see as an error coming mainly from the ("Christian America") political Right that as soon as the French Revolution broke out, America was against it because America's Founding was "Christian," France's Revolution was "Secular." In reality, most Founding era Americans, swept up in a revolutionary zeitgeist saw the French Revolution as a continuation of the American.

But by the time Bonaparte hit the scene, Adams' and Hamilton's Federalist Party were decidedly anti-French Revolution, with the Democratic-Republicans holding onto hope of the FR's success. Though I haven't confirmed every above name person or group neatly "fit" this categorization.

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