If you are not familiar with George Whitefield, he was the foremost religious figure of the period of US history referred to as the "Great Awakening." This period certainly had a profound effect on colonial America and he is sometimes credited with inspiring the American Revolution with his appeals to the colonists concerning their "individual rights."
I think a case can be made for his preaching about individual rights igniting a new way of thinking among the rank and file colonists. In a time of royal domination, individual rights had a certain appeal and enough colonists rallied to that concept to bring on the revolution. The result is the existence of the United States Constitution, a document dedicated to protecting individual rights from government usurpation.
I am stunned by the quote below. After studying US history for most of my life, I was always of the opinion that the breakdown of relations between the American colonies and its mother country of Great Britain deteriotated because of a principle of "salutary neglect." Throughout its possession of colonies in the America, beginning in 1607 with Jamestown (the Lost Colony of Roanoke was just that), Britain was preoccupied with many colonial wars with Spain and France. Conventional thinking is that Britain ignored the American colonies at its own peril, resulting in a self-governing country growing up right under the British nose.
George Whitefield stated the following:
“I can’t in conscience leave the town without acquainting you with a secret. My heart bleeds for America. O poor New England! There is a deep laid plot against your civil and religious liberties, and they will be lost. Your golden days are at an end. You have nothing but trouble before you. . . . Your liberties will be lost.”
Readings do suggest that the British were stunned by the recalcitrance of the colonies as it pertains to British control in the form of taxes. But I've never taken into account this quote. Could the British have been plotting for the demise of the colonies as their arrogance and power grew, threatening the control of the British? Was the Revolution part of a British plan to bring the situation to a head and confront the colonists on the battlefield? That's what makes history so much fun to study.
I finish by asking this question: Does Whitefield's quote have a present day application?
Something to think about.