A Self-Defensive War Lawful

Publication Year: 1775

Carmichael, John. A Self-Defensive War Lawful, Proved in a Sermon, Preached at  Lancaster, before Captain Ross's Company of Militia, in the Presbyterian Church, on  Sabbath Morning, June 4, 1775. Philadelphia: John Dean, 1775.  
PHS Call number: CR AMER 1775 E13861 

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Please note, this document was printed using the "long s".  

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Source note

Scottish-born Rev. John Carmichael (1728-1785) was a Presbyterian  minister who served as pastor of the Church of the Forks of the Brandywine in  Pennsylvania from 1761 until his death in 1785. Like many Presbyterian clergy, he  supported the cause of freedom during the American Revolution. Carmichael gave this  sermon on June 4, 1775, less than two months after the battles of Lexington and  Concord, and less than one month after the Continental Congress convened in  Philadelphia.  

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Reading questions

1. Who is the author of this sermon? To whom is it dedicated? 
2. What choice do colonists have at this time, according to Carmichael (page 6)?  
3. What three points does Carmichael aim to cover in his sermon (page 9)?  
4. How does Carmichael interpret Jesus’s concept of “turn the other cheek” (pages  15, 16)?  
5. What is the third inference that Carmichael makes near the end of the sermon  regarding civil government (page 25)?  
6. At several points in his sermon, Carmichael compares the colonists’ treatment by  the British up until this point with slavery (see pages 29, 30). What is  Carmichael’s definition of slavery, and how does it relate to the actual enslavement of nearly 500,000 Africans and African Americans in the colonies at  this time?  
7. Carmichael, like the Synod of New York and Philadelphia in Document 1, urges  his congregation to continue to show allegiance to King George III (pages 30-32).  Why is this important, and how does it reconcile with his pro-revolutionary  stance in this sermon? 

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Source type
History Topics
American Revolution
Presbyterian History
Time Period
American Revolution (1763-1783)