Battles were fought in many colonies during the American Revolution, but New Jersey was home to more sustained and intense fighting over a longer period of time. The nine essays in The American Revolution in New Jersey, depict the many challenges New Jersey residents faced at the intersection of the front lines and the home front.
Unlike other colonies, New Jersey had significant economic power in part because of its location between the major ports of New York and Philadelphia. New people and new ideas arriving in the colony fostered tensions between Loyalists and Patriots that were at the core of the Revolution. Enlightenment thinking shaped the minds of New Jersey’s settlers as they began to question the meaning of freedom in the colony. Yeoman farmers demanded ownership of the land they worked on and members of the growing Quaker denomination decried the evils of slavery and spearheaded the abolitionist movement in the state. When larger portions of New Jersey were occupied by British forces early in the war, the unity of the state was crippled, pitting neighbor against neighbor for seven years.
The essays in this collection identify and explore the interconnections between the events on the battlefield and the daily lives of ordinary colonists during the Revolution. Using a wide historical lens, the contributors to The American Revolution in New Jersey capture the decades before and after the conflict as they interpret the causes of the war and the consequences of New Jersey’s reaction to the Revolution.