The Church Militant: The American Émigré Clergy and the Making of the British Counterrevolution, 1763-1792


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




This dissertation studies the loyalist Anglican clergy who emigrated from the colonies during the American Revolution, and traces their influence in Britain. Most of the loyalist clergy were missionaries in colonies where Anglicans were in the minority. This unusual and politically marginal group had an outsized influence on the reconstruction of the Church of England. During the rebellion, they insisted that they were persecuted for their loyalty to “Church and King,” a claim that secured them tremendous moral authority in Britain. As writers, advisers to bishops, and missionaries to Britain’s remaining imperial possessions, the émigré clergy remembered the revolution as a rebellion against the Church of England, and lobbied for a closer alliance between church and state. Their activities laid the foundations for Britain’s conservative reaction to the French Revolution after 1789, a reaction that was present throughout the British empire.