Communication and Collective Mentality: Pathways of Mobilisation in Colonial America

Megan Elizabeth King

Abstract


The political upheaval that comprised the American Revolutionary era instigated a new social, political, and intellectual consciousness which ultimately shaped an inclusive national identity for colonists from New Hampshire to Georgia.  In order to comprehend the depth of such a transformative historical event, it is critical to examine the extensive process that emboldened the colonists, leading them from reluctant opposition to legitimised resistance and finally to the establishment of an organized network which aired American grievances and advertised protests, boycotts, and public denouncements of those deemed unpatriotic.  By evaluating the radical developments of the Imperial Crisis via the lens of contemporary scholarship on radicalisation and mobilisation, historians can gain an improved perspective on exactly how eighteenth-century Americans were able to transform mass congregation into a means of political influence.

 As the study of extremism has been brought to the forefront in recent years, scholars have come to consider radicalisation as a process comprised of discrete developmental phases in which an individual acquires and demonstrates beliefs, feelings, and actions in support of any given group or cause in conflict.  With regard to Colonial America, friendships, networks, and committees of correspondence not only moulded a collective mentality, but additionally enabled individuals who previously had no significant role in political affairs to actively participate in local decision-making processes.  The Patriot movement burgeoned as a direct result of the fact that they were able to provide discontented and disadvantaged citizens with hope for the future and a definite degree of insurance against misfortune for the present.


Keywords


Radicalisation, Mobilisation, Colonial America

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References


Newspapers Consulted

Boston Gazette and Country Journal

Massachusetts Gazette and Boston News Letter

New England Chronicle

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24134/be.v3i1.137

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