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Published: 13 May 2011

304 Pages | 20 halftones


ISBN: 9780199753949

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Peaceable Kingdom Lost

The Paxton Boys and the Destruction of William Penn's Holy Experiment

Kevin Kenny

  • "Kenny reveals how self-interest overrode the public good, with hell to pay for all concerned. In that regard, it rings true today as cause and consequence of Pennsylvania's persistent problem—how to cultivate the necessary 'common weal' to create a commonwealth.... This book should remind us how much creating 'facts on the ground' can defeat ideals and turn practices into policies."—Randall M. Miller, Philadelphia Inquirer
  • "The massacre of the small Native American community of Conestoga by the 'Paxton Boys' has long symbolized how William Penn's vision of peaceful relations with Native peoples went horrifically wrong. Readers seeking an introduction to these tragic developments will find no surer guide than Kevin Kenny."—Daniel K. Richter, McNeil Center for Early American
  • "A compelling study of the Paxton Boys' massacre of Conestoga Indians and of the volatile world that produced it. Grounding his story in the context of the French and Indian War and the escalating ethnic, social, and political tensions of eighteenth-century Pennsylvania, Kevin Kenny shows how William Penn's utopian dream of a peaceable kingdom degenerated into a nightmare of racial violence."—Colin G. Calloway, author of The Scratch of a Pen: 1763 and the Transformation of America
  • "In the winter of 1763-64, colonists from the Susquehanna-side settlements of Pennsylvania committed acts of extraordinary violence against Indians living near Lancaster. This spasm of cruelty, the Paxton riots, sets in motion Kevin Kenny's Peaceable Kingdom Lost — a patient, clearly written narrative, organized by the unraveling during wartime of a half-century of intercultural peace, that lingers especially on the murky figures of the rioters and on the Wyoming Valley of eastern Pennsylvania, a landscape contested between Natives, Pennsylvanians, and Connecticut Yankees, where intercultural animosities became intercolonial and, at last, revolutionary." —Peter Silver, author of Our Savage Neighbors: How Indian War Transformed Early America
  • The revealing history of how Pennsylvania colonists mistreated Native Americans, ending Penn's dream of a Peaceable Kingdom