Presbyterians and the 'Revolution' of 1776

Presbyterianism has always been odious to tyrants. It motivated revolts against tyrants by French Huguenots, Scottish Covenanters, Dutch Calvinists, English Puritans, American Presbyterians, and other Reformed Protestants in history. David W. Hall in The Genevan Reformation and the American Founding (2003) and Douglas F. Kelly in The Emergence of Liberty in the Modern World: The Influence of Calvin on Five Governments From the 16th to the 18th Centuries (1992) are two modern works which have studied this phenomenon. 

In the 19th century, on the occasion of the centennial of the American War of Independence, William Pratt Breed (1816-1889) published several works dealing with how the the colonial American conflict with Great Britain was a war largely based on Presbyterian principles of resistance to tyranny. There were those in England who described it as a "Presbyterian Rebellion." Breed quotes Thomas Carlyle thus: "Protestantism was a revolt against spiritual sovereignties, popes and much else. Presbyterians carried out the revolt against earthly sovereignties." Even Robert Burns once wrote about the Scottish Covenanters: "THE SOLEMN League and Covenant / Now brings a smile, now brings a tear; / But sacred Freedom, too, was theirs: / If thou’rt a slave, indulge thy sneer."

Breed published: 1) Jenny Geddes, or, Presbyterianism and Its Great Conflict with Despotism (1869); 2) Presbyterianism, and Its Services in the Revolution of 1776 (1875); 3) Presbyterians and the Revolution (1876); and 4) a tribute to John Witherspoon (1877), who was the Presbyterian pastor who so largely influenced the American War of Independence and signed its Declaration. (See Witherspoon's Works here.)

For an introduction into American Presbyterian history and how our nation became an independent republic, for reasons based on Presbyterian principles of resistance of tyranny, these are works still worth reading today.