Unpeaceable Kingdoms: Fighting Quakers, Revolutionary Violence, and the Antebellum Novel

Fenton’s dissertation explored how nineteenth century American novelists use “fighting Quakers” to interrogate the violences attendant upon settlement, slavery, and nation-building. Though historians have produced a wealth of scholarship on the Society of Friends’ vexed relation to abolitionism and the American Revolution, few literary scholars have attended to representations of Quakers, and still fewer have examined the remarkable bellicosity in writing about Quakers. Representations of fighting Quakers unify three major but disparately studied subfields: the formation of race during the antebellum period, religious conflict during the Great Awakening, and the constitutive role of violence in nineteenth-century frontier narratives. Fenton’s research considers the processes through which rhetorics of settlement, slavery, and nation evolve and converge in early-nineteenth century debates of religious association.

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