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Battlefields and Blessings
Reading Guide

Welcome to Weeks 5 and 6 of our Battlefields and Blessings Reading Guide from our American History Book Club. Battlefields and Blessings, Stories of Faith and Courage from the Revolutionary War is a daily devotional by Jane Hampton Cook that brings the American Revolution to life through the viewpoints of the Revolution's key players - George Washington, King George III, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Abigail Adams, Martha Washington, Nathanael Greene, Henry Knox and Benjamin Franklin.

Battlefields and Blessings by Jane Hampton Cook

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On this page you will find our reading notes for Weeks 5 and 6 of the book, including a short synopsis of the chapter, interesting parts that we would like to point out, discussion questions to provide food for thought and some quotes that highlight the main points of the chapters.

Week 5 continues the discussion of the impact of the Stamp Act. The colonists unite in action for the first time with the Stamp Act Congress. William Pitt defends the colonists in Parliament and Ben Franklin is examined. His examination before Parliament is one of the things that convinces them to repeal the Stamp Act.

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Week 6 sees the repeal of the Stamp Act, but not the end of unjust laws passed by Parliament. The Townshend Acts are passed and British troops occupy Boston causing an outcry throughout the colonies. Parliament dissolves both the Massachusetts and Virginia legislatures for their seditious activities. The writings of John Dickinson and Samuel Adams begin to be distributed throughout the colonies.

If you decide to read along with us, please let our group know who you are in the comments as well! And if you do leave a comment about the reading, be sure to tell us which chapter you are referring to!

This page has our reading guides for Weeks 5 and 6 of the book. You can start at the beginning of the book by going to Battlefields and Blessings Reading Guide. Links to the other chapters can be found at the bottom of the page.

If you have not yet ordered your copy of Battlefields and Blessings, you can order your copy from Amazon here. Click here if you are interested in ordering the Kindle edition. If you aren't too familiar with ebook readers, click here and we'll explain a little more about them to you.

Find out about our other current book discussions at our American History Book Club page.

Stories of Faith and Courage from the Revolutionary War
Reading Guide

Stories of Faith and Courage from the Revolutionary War
by Jane Hampton Cook

Week 5

Synopsis

  • The Stamp Act Congress meets.
  • James Otis gives a speech renouncing the closing of the Massachusetts court system by the British government.
  • Ben Franklin is questioned by Parliament about colonial views on taxes.
  • William Pitt leads the way and the Stamp Act is repealed.
  • The natural desire of people to own property.

Discussion Questions

  • The passage of the Stamp Act brought the first widespread unity and action between all the colonies. Why do you suppose this was?
  • William Pitt stood in agreement with the colonists that it was unconstitutional to tax them since they weren't represented in Parliament. Pitt would become Prime Minister later during the same year the Stamp Act was repealed. Being such a prominent politician, what risks do you suppose taking this position put him in? What does it say about his character that he would take this unpopular position and even fight for it publicly?
  • The principle of taxation without representation was viewed as inherently unfair and tyrannical by the colonists. Taxation without representation means a governing body is allowed to enforce taxes on people that are not represented by their own representatives in that body. Explain why taxation without representation is unfair and unjust in your own words.

Things That Caught Our Eye

  • The idea of "natural rights" is important to understand if you want to understand the Founders. To them, natural rights belonged to all people by virtue of their being human. They were not earned or granted by human governments. Instead, they came from God. The fact that the Founders believed natural rights came from God is discounted by some atheistic historians today. This viewpoint undermines the whole purpose and message of the Founders. As the Declaration of Independence says, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights..." Whether or not one agrees with the Founders that natural rights come from God, to deny that the Founders believed it is simply poor scholarship or perhaps it is replacing accurate scholarship with one's personal beliefs.
  • The value of courts may not be understood by people who have never been in court or accused of a crime. Courts provide a layer of protection from false accusations and imprisonment and from arbitrary whims of government officials by letting a judge review the situation and often an impartial jury of one's peers. It's harder for injustice to slip through with this kind of system in place.
  • Ben Franklin's examination before Parliament is quite interesting. It's informative and even humorous in places. His wisdom and intelligence really shines. You can read Ben Franklin's examination before Parliament here if you like.

Quotes

  • "The Stamp Act Congress concluded their petition with 'humble application to both houses of Parliament, to procure the repeal of the act for granting and applying certain stamp duties."
  • "This member of Parliament then asked the most revealing question of this frank secret inquiry. 'What is now their pride?' Franklin answered with the naked truth. 'To wear their old clothes over again till they can make new ones.'"
  • "America is almost in open rebellion. I rejoice that America has resisted. Three millions of people so dead to all the feelings of liberty, as voluntarily to submit to be slaves, would have been fit instruments to make slaves of the rest." - William Pitt

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Thanks for reading Stories of Faith and Courage from the Revolutionary War with us. If you have not yet ordered the book, you can order one from Amazon here - Stories of Faith and Courage from the Revolutionary War

Stories of Faith and Courage from the Revolutionary War
by Jane Hampton Cook

Week 6

Synopsis

  • The colonists celebrate the repeal of the Stamp Act.
  • Rev. Chauncy resists plans to expand the Church of England in the colonies.
  • Samuel Adams writes under various pseudonyms to defend liberty.
  • Parliament passes the Townshend Acts, Samuel Adams writings are spread through the colonies.
  • The Massachusetts legislature is dissolved.
  • British troops occupy Boston, the Virginia legislature is dissolved.
  • John Dickinson advocates peaceful resistance.
  • Labels and their consequences.

Discussion Questions

  • The Protestant Christians of England and her colonies were vehemently anti-Catholic. The animosity was not caused by mere doctrinal differences. What was it that caused the colonists to look with disdain at Catholicism?
  • The Americans were outraged when British troops occupied Boston. What would you think and how would you feel if your government put armed troops in your city to control the local population?
  • Some Revolutionary leaders advocated peaceful resistance while others advocated a more rebellious and violent approach? Which was justified and why? Which was effective and why?

Things That Caught Our Eye

  • It's interesting that Samuel Adams, by all accounts, was a failure at business. Yet, due to his oratory skills, he became known as the "Father of the American Revolution."
  • The use of pseudonyms seems a little strange to us today. They were used for anonymity sometimes and out of humility at other times.
  • You may have wondered why the Founders' writing pseudonyms were often Latin sounding names. Educated people were very well read in Greek and Roman literature in those days. The Latin names they picked were often characters from these writings or similar sounding names.

Quotes

  • "No news handed to us from Great Britain, ever gave us a quicker sense, or higher degree, of pleasure. Not merely the repeal, but that benevolent, righteous regard to the public good which gave it birth, is an important ingredient in the news that has made us glad." - Rev. Charles Chauncy
  • "What a man has honestly acquired is absolutely his own, which he may freely give, but cannot be taken from him without his consent." - Samuel Adams
  • "No man can pretend to say that peace and good order of the community is so secure with soldiers quartered in the body of a city as without them. Besides, where military power is introduced, military maxims are propagated and adopted, which are inconsistent with and must soon eradicate every idea of civil government." - Samuel Adams

Comment on this chapter

Battlefields and Blessings Reading Guide Chapters

Weeks 1 and 2 Weeks 3 and 4 Weeks 5 and 6
Weeks 7 and 8

Thanks for reading Stories of Faith and Courage from the Revolutionary War with us. If you have not yet ordered the book, you can order one from Amazon here - Stories of Faith and Courage from the Revolutionary War


Last Updated 4/23/12

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