Background of the American Revolution
To understand the American Revolution, one must understand the Protestant Reformation and their basic tenent that kings, nobles, and priests had no special authority from God—that equal respect was due everyone alike. The Dissenters— especially the Friends—also based their refusal of subservience to mortals on scriptural commandments to bow only to God.
The Authority of Scripture.
“here you may see how you out stripp all ye heathenish kings”
George Fox, aged 30.
To all yt professe ye Scripture to bee yr rule. 1652.
To all you who professe the scriptures to bee your Rule & your touchstone to try with all who fine men becase the will not put of there hatts at your sisies, & at your sessions, & at your cowarts; when did ever any of ye heathenish kings, or magistrates, in all ages set up such lawes.
Reede the Chronickles throughout & give an example, also you may shew yourselves to out stripp all ye heathenish kings.
Where did ever Mosies, who was the Judge of all Israell, comand any people yt came before him to put of there hatts & fine them if they would not bow to him; where did ever Sullamon who was A kinge comand any to put of there hatts and fine them if they would not doe it, where did ever David who was A kinge comand any likewise to put of there hatts which came beefore him & fine them if they would not doe it, here you may see how you out stripp all ye heathenish kings, who had not Receved ye law from god, but who had Receved the law from god, it said, thou shalt not bow downe to any, But the lord god: though there was A time yt Jacob bowed to Esau, & there was A time yt Israell bowed to Pharoah, & there was A time when Pharoah was distroyed, & his host, and Isarell songe over Pharoah, must Isarell bow then to Pharoah when he is distroyed, then came ye comand from god, when Isarell was brought out of Egipt sayinge thou shalt not bow, & hee yt doth Respect persons transgresseth this law, many will bow to great men who have fine apparell & A great deall of ye earth, but not to A pore man, who hath not fine apparell, & there hee is A transgressor of ye law who Respects persons & comitts sin, & there was A time, that Hamon made gallowes, & who would not bow might bee hanged, & hee who had Receved the Righteous law, could not bow to him, and there was A time that Hamon was hanged himselfe, there was A time when Nebucednezer made an Image, & all yt would not bow was cast into ye fire furnace, & there was A time that his kingdome might bee Rent, whose head was gould, whose brests was silver, whose bellye was brasse whose leggs was iron & feete part iron part clay, ye stone cut out of ye mountaine without hands, struck at ye feete of ye Image, & hee comes to bee heuen downe with ye stone cutt out of ye mountaine without hands, & Nebucadnezer canot understand his dreame, but Daniell who was A trembeler understood thee stone, & saw ye kindone & dominon yt endures for ever, & saw his kingdome who would have had all to have bowed to him come as ye grasse to wither away, soe all carnall ones who stumbeles at this corner stone. take warninge att this.
—Journal of George Fox (1652).
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