5 to 6:30pm
‘Wandering Apostles of Sedition’: Itinerant Republican Activists in Dedham and Hamilton
In 1798 and 1799, a cohort of grassroots Republican activists travelled through the northeast preaching opposition to the Adams administration. They argued that American democracy required a roughly equal distribution of wealth, ensuring that no class of people became too influential. This paper provides a window into this radical strain of Republican thought by focusing on two activists: David Brown, a Revolutionary War veteran, and Jacob Eÿermann, a Calvinist Minister from Germany. Together, their stories reveal an alternate economic vision advanced during the founding era in which political and economic equality would reinforce each other. They also show a class of Republican leadership that influenced people on the ground in ways both more intimate and radical than party elites.
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