The Forgotten Reason For The American Revolution

The Forgotten Reason For America's Revolution

It is well remembered that "taxation without representation," and the ideas of freedom were going around the colonies.

What is almost never brought up is the role of religion.

You may be thinking, "Oh yes, many of them were Christian," but that's only half the story. There is the Great Awakening which was pivotal as well as America's Puritan founding.

But there's still one more part that is often forgotten.

You see there was the Church of England.

And that was controlled by King George at the time.

But many Americans were not Anglican. The Puritans had come to America to escape the state church of England. Rhode Island was founded to keep religious liberty and so America had become a place where Christians could worship much more freely than most of Europe.

However, King George, who is lauded as a very pious man and defender of the Church of England, began to attempt to grow the Anglican church in America. In the 1750s the SPG (Society for Propagation of the Gospel run by King George) recruited young Englishmen to be missionaries to the American colonies.

Now this was not at all bad. The society was founded in 1701 and did a lot of good for America, giving out books and training. But Americans tended to not be interested in Anglicanism. In the 1750s the Anglicans founded two colleges, Colombia College and the future University of Pennsylvania to get even more training for future Anglicans.

Another problem for the Anglicans was one of image. Many of the Anglican bishops that came to America lived lives of luxury, as opposed to the austere way of life that most Baptists, Methodists, and more reformed Christians were living.

In 1763, one of the most famous pre-Revolutionary War preachers who SIGNIFICANTLY shaped the Biblical outlook for Revolution, put out a sermon warning about the spread of Anglicanism. His name is Jonathan Mayhew, and he's hardly remembered today but at his time his thoughts MATTERED.

Here is a quote from John Adams talking about the fear of an Anglican Bishop over America when he said, "the apprehension of Episcopacy contributed ... as much as any other cause, to arouse the attention not only of the inquiring mind, but of the common people, and urge them to close thinking on the constitutional authority of parliament over the colonies."

One priest died and gave a 1000 pounds to help "establish an Anglican bishop" over America in his will. In 1772 Virginia had a debate over it in the House of Reps there that, according to George Washington, "the expediency of an American Episcopate was long, & warmly debated, and at length rejected."

Another example was in 1758. An argument over pay led to a court case in 1763. The Anglican church did not like the way they were being paid.

So the church got the King to change a Virginia law to pay them how they wanted to be paid. This showed the American people that they had no power over this church.

The lawyer defending the colonies in this court case was Patrick Henry, and this led to him becoming a famous defender of civil liberties against the encroaching power of Britain.

All of this made it look to the Americans like the Anglican church was a tool of the British empire to control the colonies.

This is not mentioned much in the history books.

Yet it was a huge reason why we celebrate America's independence.

It was not just about being able to go and say whatever you want. Or taxes.

It was also about being able to worship God.

Without the hindrance of a state church ruling over you.

To worship God as you see Him in Scripture. To worship Christ with a preacher you choose, not chosen by a King or a bishop far away.

The following picture is a satire made in 1768. It shows the colonists kicking the Anglican bishop out of America. The colonists won't even let him get off the boat.

In the picture are many easter eggs (names of priests, quotes from Anglican documents, etc) but the overall point was:

Americans would worship God a part from a state church.