Commonplace Book #71

Historians of the Revolutionary era typically stress that the extralegal committees put a high value on resolving  differences within their local communities, and that they “attempted as best as they could to avoid physical violence. ”  Yet, even if many committees did push for renunciations and apologies, and even if they displayed concern with at least the appearance of due process, we need to recognize that creating solidarity always relies on excluding others, often through violent means.  As even those historians who emphasize the committees’ restrain admit, membership was “certainly not an activity for the faint of heart.”  If we consider incidents of abuse and violence as mere “unpleasant exceptions,” we risk failing to do justice to the full range of American experiences during the Revolutionary period.

Holger Hoock, Scars of Independence: America’s Violent Birth, 36-37.