Conspiracy theories run deep in American history. So it should come as no surprise that during the tumultuous period following the Declaration of Independence and the collapse of British institutions in the former American colonies, a group of yeomen and planters in the Albermarle region of North Carolina became suspicious of the intentions of local revolutionary authorities. The form that their suspicions took, however, might raise a modern eyebrow: they believed that the revolutionary leadership of North Carolina was involved in a Catholic-inspired plot to subvert the Protestant political culture that had previously guaranteed their rights as free Englishmen. Their evidence: the interim government’s effort to impose military service, its championing of an alliance with France, and the efforts of fourteen prominent delegates to the North...


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