Date of Award

Spring 1987

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


The study analyzes the relationship of the towns to the provincial government between 1765 and 1776 to understand the underlying process of the coming of the Revolution in New Hampshire. The focus is on the towns, and the main sources are unpublished town records.

For one part of the study, I developed a system to identify legislative leaders (a modification of Jack Greene's method), used Gini scores to compare the General Assemblies with the Provincial Congresses and the 1776 House of Representatives, and constructed a composite biography for the 296 men who served during the period.

A comparison of the characteristics of the men who served in the three types of legislative bodies shows that there were no major changes from the beginning of the period to the end in either the type of man elected, or in the type who rose to leadership.

The analysis of the relationship of the towns to the central government shows that New Hampshire residents became concerned about the threat to their rights as Englishmen earlier than previously thought, but they balanced that concern with a concern for law and order.

Towns hesitantly engaged in revolutionary activities. The Provincial Congresses, New Hampshire's revolutionary bodies, reluctantly assumed control of the colony, and the new state government effectively used its authority to crush town proposals that would have given the people more control over their government.