The colonists who settled the backcountry in eighteenth-century New England were recruited from the social fringe, people who were desperate for land, autonomy, and respectability and who were willing to make a hard living in a rugged environment.
Mark Williams’ microhistorical approach gives voice to the settlers, proprietors, and officials of the small colonial settlements that became Granby, Connecticut, and Ashfield, Massachusetts. These peopleoften disrespectful, disorderly, presumptuous, insistent, and defiantwere drawn to the ideology of the Revolution in the 1760s and 1770s that stressed equality, independence, and property rights. The backcountry settlers pushed the emerging nation’s political culture in a more radical direction than many of their leaders or the Founding Fathers preferred and helped put a democratic imprint on the new nation. This accessibly written book will resonate with all those interested in the social and political relationships of early America.