"When members of the founding generation protested against British authority, debated separation, and then ratified the Constitution, they formed the American political character we know today-raucous, intemperate, and often mean-spirited. Revolutionary Dissent brings alive a world of colorful and stormy protests that included effigies, pamphlets, songs, sermons, cartoons, letters and liberty trees. Solomon explores through a series of chronological narratives how Americans of the Revolutionary period employed robust speech against the British and against each other. Uninhibited dissent provided a distinctly American meaning to the First Amendment's guarantees of freedom of speech and press at a time when the legal doctrine inherited from England allowed prosecutions of those who criticized government. Solomon discovers the wellspring in our revolutionary past for today's satirists like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, pundits like Rush Limbaugh and Keith Olbermann, and protests like flag burning and street demonstrations. From the inflammatory engravings of Paul Revere, the political theater of Alexander McDougall, the liberty tree protests of Ebenezer McIntosh and the oratory of Patrick Henry, Solomon shares the stories of the dissenters who created the American idea of the liberty of thought. This is truly a revelatory work on the history of free expression in America"-- Provided by publisher. "When the Framers of the Constitution developed what we call today the Freedom of Speech, they didn't realize they would be setting a foundation for the American political character we know today - raucous, intemperate, and often mean-spirited. This character is not limited to contemporary political discourse, as we so often assume. Revolutionary Dissent brings alive a world far more complicated than the history we're all familiar with suggests, giving a clear picture of just how imprecise the Framers were about what such freedoms actually meant. Solomon explores through a series of chronological, advancing narratives how Americans employed robust and colorful expression as they debated separation from England and creation of a new system of government. Uninhibited protest provided vital meaning to the First Amendment's guarantees of freedom of speech and presses at a time when legal doctrine offered little protection from government prosecution. Revolutionary Dissent shows that the roots of the careers of satirists like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert and pundits like Rush Limbaugh and Keith Olbermann, and the acts of flag burning, draft card destruction, and sit-ins like Occupy Wall Street, lie in the Revolutionary period's inflammatory engravings of Paul Revere, the polemics of Thomas Paine, and the symbol-laden protests again the Stamp Act. This is truly a revelatory work on the history of free expression in America"-- Provided by publisher.