"Must reading for those with a serious interest in early American history and the history of American violence."--Richard Maxwell Brown, Beekman Professor Emeritus of Northwest and Pacific History, University of Oregon
Wayne Lee examines how a society shapes, directs, restrains, understands, and reacts to violence, with particular attention to riot and war in 18th-century North Carolina. He links several riots, the backcountry rebellion known as the Regulation, and the War for Independence by examining each as an act of public violence, rooted in cultural practice and shaped by collective notions of legitimacy.
Beginning with public riot, Lee describes the "rules of violence" shared by rioters, authority, and the public at large and shows how those rules were observed or violated and what the consequences were for rioters and society. Moving to the larger-scale War of the Regulation, 1768-71, he examines the competing use of violence by settlers and authorities, each playing to a politicized public whose expectations of violence shaped the course of the movement from public protest to organized battlefield. He then shows how military action, like its civil counterpart, struggled for legitimacy in the Revolutionary War, the Tuscarora and Cherokee Wars, and the "militias' war" of 1780-82.
For students of collective protest, Lee provides new case studies of violence in the colonial South and a more complete explanation for the course of the Regulation. He shows that such an event cannot be understood without addressing the forces shaping choices about violence. Similarly, he establishes a new paradigm for examining behavior in war, demanding careful consideration of individual incidents and the overlapping relationship between organized fighting bodies and the civilian population. He especially insists on a subtler understanding of "military necessity," demonstrating that, in the wide landscape of violence that is war, people’s choices are regulated by a broad set of cultural pressures, of which necessity is only one.
Wayne E. Lee is assistant professor of history at the University of Louisville. He has published in the Historical Journal, Hesperia, and North Carolina Historical Review.
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"Important, scholarly and subtle. Is of great value not only to scholars of early American history, but also to those working on eighteenth century Britain. Methodologically acute, this study is of wide-ranging importance." - Archives
"well written, thoroughly reserached, and commendable." - History
"Lee does a wonderful job in delineating the different strains of European culture and indigenous American conditions that played out in colonial American rioting and in the waging of eighteenth-century war." - American Historical Review
--American Historical Review
"quite ambitious and is methodologically sophisticated." "this is an important book. Historians of colonial and revolutionary America, military history, and political violence should read this book and think about the implications of North Carolina's violent past and what it might mean for our present and future." - H-South
"In addition to being persuasively argued, this book is extraordinarily well researched and meticulously documented. An essential study for those interested in the relationship between war and society. It is no less valuable as contribution to the histories of colonial America and North Carolina." - The Journal of Military History
--Journal of Military History
"Lee's impressive case study of violence in North Carolina is a highly valuable addition to the growing bodies of work on crowd behavior, civil-military relations, the performative nature of public culture during the colonial and revolutionary eras, and the southern phase of the War for Independence." "a thoroughly satisfying explanation of how and why members of the founding generation grappled with their complicated yet largely successful two-part project and remake their world." - Georgia Historical Quarterly
--Georgia Historical Quarterly
"Wayne Lee has written one the finest studies of violence in the era of the American Revolution."
--The North Carolina Historical Review