Invaders of Pennsylvania
For a peaceful state, Pennsylvania has suffered many invasions. It's all been one-way; Pennsylvania has never invaded anyone else.
It seems a useful question for history students to be asked to name the six times that Pennsylvania has been invaded in a serious way. Serious, in the sense that the invaders might very well have conquered the state, and serious in the sense that thousands of people died in the attacks. You could add the Whiskey Rebellion, if you wish, when it was Washington himself who was leading the Federal Army against the Scottish settlers. Or various Indian uprisings. Or the boundary disputes with Delaware and Maryland, which were settled peacefully. But we're talking here about real wars.
The first was called King George's War, where French and Spanish privateers ravished the Delaware Bay, and Benjamin Franklin achieved fame for creating the militia. Then the French invaded from the North, down the Appalachian chain of mountains, with the main goal of the forks of the Ohio at what is now Pittsburgh. Then, George Washington no less started the French and Indian War at the same place; in Europe, they refer to this as the Thirty Years War, Then, Connecticut invaded the Wyoming Valley at what became Wilkes Barre. Then, Virginia wanted a clear path to the Ohio River. Then, the British invaded and occupied Philadelphia itself. In the War of 1812 the British mainly aimed at Baltimore and Washington, but there was serious naval warfare on Lake Erie. The biggest and bloodiest invasion was yet to come.
In 1863, General Robert E. Lee invaded from the south with the initial target of Harrisburg, but that was mainly for the purpose of cutting the rail lines to the Arsenal of the North -- Philadelphia.
In just about every case, the invaders were tempted by Pennsylvania's reputation as a pacifist state, a reputation which is well earned, but qualified.
- The British Attack Philadelphia Fighting in the Revolutionary War lasted eight years; for two years (June 1776 to June 1778) Philadelphia was the main military objective of the British.
- Connecticut Invades Pennsylvania! Connecticut once waged three serious wars with Pennsylvania, and we don't even remember it. But politicians noticed that all became peaceful after we united into a single nation. Others noticed the Articles of Confederation were strong enough to cope with invasions by neighbor states. The two proprietorships of New Jersey taught some smaller lessons. Virginia taught still other lessons.
- Revolutionary Philadelphia's Loyalists History is written by the victors, so the Tory Loyalists of Revolutionary Philadelphia have mostly fallen from view.
- Revolutionary Philadelphia's Patriots All kinds of people were patriots in 1776, and many of them were all mixed up about what was going on and how they stood. Hotheads in the London Coffee House stirred up about an inoffensive Tea Act, Scotch-Irish come here to escape the British Crown, the local artisan class and the local smuggler class, unexpectedly prospering under non-importation, and the local gentry -- offended to be denied seats in Parliament like other Englishmen. Pennsylvania wavered until Ben Franklin stepped forward with a plan.
- Causes of the American Revolution Britain and its colonies had outgrown Eighteenth Century techniques of governance. Unfortunately, both England and America lacked the sophistication to make drastic changes smoothly.
- Pacifist Pennsylvania, Invaded Many Times Pennsylvania was founded as a pacifist utopia, and currently regards itself as protected by vast oceans. But Pennsylvania has been seriously invaded at least six times.
- Bystanders to the Revolution It wasn't heroic to everyone.