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The Common CauseCreating Race and Nation in the American Revolution$
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Robert G. Parkinson

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781469626635

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469626635.001.0001

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“It Is the Cause of Heaven against Hell”

“It Is the Cause of Heaven against Hell”

To the Carlisle Commission, 1777–1778

(p.323) (p.324) Chapter 5 “It Is the Cause of Heaven against Hell”
The Common Cause

Robert G. Parkinson

University of North Carolina Press

Trenton might have saved the Revolution and American unity, but the only real security would come from an alliance with a European country. This chapter traces the Revolutionary War from John Burgoyne's invasion of New York in 1777 until the following summer, when the Continental Congress ratified a treaty of alliance with France and rejected the Carlisle Commission, a team of officials sent to negotiate an end to the fighting that would grant the Americans all of their demands except for national independence. Patriot propaganda helped make the situation ripe for Burgoyne's defeat at Saratoga. Patriot leaders amplified a tragic incident along Burgoyne's route of march, whereby British-allied Indians murdered a young loyalist woman, Jane McCrea; her death became a popular account of British treachery. American victory at Saratoga made French aid more likely. In 1778, Congress ratified the alliance with France and used it--and stories of British instigation of Indians and the enslaved--to convince the American public to ignore British offers of reconciliation.

Keywords:   General John Burgoyne, Carlisle Commission, Jane McCrea, Battle of Saratoga, Treaty of Amity and Commerce, 1778

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