Abstract

This article explores the American Revolution on the Pennsylvania frontier by examining the creation of an extralegal government of “Fair Play” squatters on Native American land near the northwest branch of the Susquehanna River. It also studies their efforts to legitimize themselves and their claims through attachment to the “Common Cause.” The motivation of squatters to mobilize support for the American Revolution was directly related to a prolonged conflict between themselves, Native Americans, speculators, and colonial and imperial officials over land and power. Moreover, “Fair Play” squatters used their dedication to the Revolutionary War to cast the defense of their illegal claims, the extralegal government they created, and their violence against Native Americans as a patriotic duty. This proved a successful tactic to include their community and its ideals into an emerging republican state.

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