"From the error of other nations, let us learn wisdom"

Thomas Paine, Common Sense

"What I find outstanding about the American War of Independence, sometimes referred to as the First American Revolution (though I would argue there was little revolutionary about it), is in the failure of the colonies to unify initially in a meaningful way. There were These United States, with a congress which one would assume to control the entire claimed country. It made treaties and fought wars, but if you look at the history, the United States were independent actors who could agree on some things, but there were armed conflicts between the states. Look at the Connecticut Land Wars, as well as smaller skirmishes like the Battle of Vorhees in New Jersey, or the White Oak Massacre in New Hampshire to name a few. The United States, as in the Congress put forth by the Articles of Confederation, was complicit in the execution of the war, even when Great Britain intervened on the side of Connecticut. It was the Treaty of New Hope (1789) which laid out the new internal borders which would create disaster further down the line.

Virginia was the major winner of the New Hope Order, arguably even moreso than Connecticut. Virginian Cotton provided the New England textile mills; with the Potomac Canal at Latrobe, Virginia's newfound control of the Youghiogheny River made it the only all-water route to the Trans-Appalachian frontier; its junior partner, Maryland, was dominant over the Delaware Bay states, and it dominated the US Congress, both in a demographic sense and also in the fact that the Senate in Fredericksburg is on Virginian soil, and reliant on a Virginian police force. In the New Hope Order, the mid-Atlantic states are too weak to do serious harm, and New England is distracted with other commercial ventures to care too much about Virginian powers. Early Post-colonial Virginia was a powerhouse on the continent, with almost three million people by the time of the Second Revolution. Still, it failed to unite the United States.

Some have pointed to the uniformity of the ruling classes in the Thirteen colonies as a way through which they could've united. Though the American Independence War was a bourgeoisie enterprise, the reality created by independence showed not all of their interests where aligned, enough to open a wedge between them. These were not necessarily homogeneous societies, with clear divisions by religion, class, and ancestry, and these differences only grew over time, and were often reaffirmed by political organizations and societal narratives. The Continental Army has always been a unifying factor on the continent, though its role would be a custodian of the Republic until the latter half of the 19th century. It would only be after the Tricolor Cross Movements and Second Revolution that a unifying American narrative would again emerge among the laymen. Even then, the unification wouldn't last forever or be as whole as George Washington might've imagined when he lay his sword to rest in 1783."

Martin Petain, on the American War of Independence
The Baltimore-Ohio Canal system
Gaiweyo; the Good Word of Sganyadaiyo
"The trail to the World of the Sky is not limited to the Ongwe-honwe [The Iroquois people], but the white men of the Thirteen Fires have much to learn before they may join Renadagaius [George Washington]. Our tribes are united though our customs are necessarily different. We are all bound to this our Mother, and as brothers must find the understanding that greed and other evils will only bring us damnation beyond the imagination of even the Tormentor."

- Guyantwachia, aka 'Giant Watcher', Address to Princeton University, July 4, 1812

A unique movement to arise from the antebellum period was that of the Gaiweyo (Good Word) Movement, an Haudenosaunee religious movement which came to spread its roots among the fibers of American identity, inspiring the Tricolor Cross Movement and other social movements. Initially formed in 1799 when Sganyadaiyo is believed to have received visions from Three Angels in a death-like state, Gaiweyo is a set of codes to live by which reject promiscuity, witchcraft, consumption of alcohol, and greed, and uphold the values of tolerance, humility, and traditional living. Among the visions, Sganyadaiyo saw a scene of eternal damnation in the House of the Tormentor where the wicked were punished cruelly for eternity. In the Sky World, he met with both George Washington and Jesus, and witnessed the destruction of the world. Upon his awakening, he was a transformed individual, giving up the drinking which nearly killed him, determined to bring his word to his people.

Historians assert the movement was clearly intended originally to serve only the Haudenosaunee peoples, with Sganyadaiyo's visions rooted in traditional practices and sometimes explicit language detailing the problems which afflicted the Seneca peoples. Its rapid spread in the Seneca reserve is cited as testament. Sganyadaiyo himself only spread the word among the Hauden diaspora in North America, with trips to Kanesatake and Kahnewake in Lower Canada, as well as Teknioneka, Andutsty, and Manwaking in Virgina. Scholars such as John Trumbull II esq. argue early Gaiweyo was Hauden-chauvinist in ideology, with some Quakerism grafted on. Concepts such as the adoption of outsiders into the group and mourning wars are Hauden traditions, and the Six Festivals are slightly modified versions of their traditional forms. The portions relating to Renadagaius, more commonly George Washington, specifically talk of the violence waged in the American Independence Wars between the Six Nations and the United States. In letters to his daughter, Yenewot, Sganyadaiyo explicitly condemns Easter as a concept, asserting the tragedy of Jesus being killed by the Romans outweighed any miracle the Creator could bring to bear, such was the value of life.

In spite of this tone, the Gaiweyo Movement began spreading beyond the Haudenosaunee. Guyantwachia, half-brother to Sganyadaiyo and a chief of the Seneca, had a period of time when he saw the movement as Pan-Indian; accompanying Sganyadaiyo to Virginia, Guyantwachia traveled further west, and successfully converted several bands of Miami and Delaware to the Gaiweyo. In the woods outside of what is now Three Fires, Guyantwachia was able to convince the alcoholic Lalawethika of the Good Word, who returned to the Three Fires Confederacy as a proselytizer. Eventually, Lalawethika would split from the movement to form the anti-American Purification Movement, which itself formed an influential ideological current in native american political and religious thought.

Two events would shape Guyantwachia's move towards a more pluralistic Gaiweyo: In February of 1810, the brothers witnessed a Slave auction in Fort Henry. There Sganyadaiyo became disgusted by the treatment of the African slaves by White and Indian alike, adding abolition of (chattel) slavery to his codebook. Guyantwachia reluctantly accepted this addition, worried about how slave-owning peoples like the Cherokee and Choctaw would react given his desire to unite all the Natives. Two weeks later at Transit, the brothers ran into John Chapman. Chapman tried initially to convert the two Seneca to the New Church, however, he in turn was swayed by the words of Sganyadaiyo. Guyantwachia and Chapman in particular became quick friends, discussing the nature of the Creator. Chapman, a fervent abolitionist, helped affirm the abolitionist aspects of Gaiweyo with Guyantwachia. The Conversations at Transit were immortalized later by painter Charles Bird King in the painting of the same name. It was here they accrued their first non-native convert. Chapman's conversion was one of the first ideological hurdles for the Gaiweyo Movement to overcome. Sganyadaiyo started against Chapman, and left for Teooshewah without his brother upon hearing of the conversion. Guyantwachia stayed with Chapman, who accompanied him back to the Seneca Nation. On the journey back, the pair sought out Guyantwachia's nephew Thawonwyuthe, who had returned from a diplomatic mission to London. Together the three managed to convince Sganyadaiyo of the ability of white men to redeem themselves in the eyes of the Creator. In Teooshewah, Chapman collected the codes which Sganyadaiyo had laid out, and translated it into a pamphlet: Gaweyo, the Good Word.

Sganyadaiyo continued speaking the word among Hauden communities in the Lake Erie region, while Chapman returned to his family in Westmoreland preaching across the Wyoming Valley and later Hudson Valley. Guyantwachia and Thawonwyuthe traveled up and down the East Coast in 1812, with Thawonwyuthe becoming becoming enamored of Bridgeport and the community of Golden Hill, the site of a Paugussett community. Guyantwachia would continue up to Boston without him, and return in four months surprised having found his nephew engaged. Thawonwyuthe would marry Winifred Baxter, a woman of mixed Narragansett-English heritage, with whom he fathered four children including Howard Baxter, the US Continental Army general.

In Bridgeport, Guyantwachia would encounter and convert George Washington Hawley, an Afro-American brickmaker. Guyantwachia became convinced of the universality of the Good Word when he was able to gather converts among the black community of Bridgeport with the Parable of the Devil and Colombus. Hawley himself was not an eager proselytizer, but his wife, Grace Hawley, would run services from her house. George would eventually send his third son, Isaac Hawley, to Teooshewah to study and spread The Good Word. The Hawley family’s influence in the Church is felt even after its division.

Proselytizing was massively aided in 1814 when Thomas Jefferson invited Guyantwachia to the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia. The Former Congressman began publishing several influential pamphlets detailing his impressions of the Good Word. Jefferson spoke highly of the new religious movement, saying ‘It is testimony to the blessings of this New World that the first philosophical movement to arise from her natives is egalitarian’. The pro-agrarian, egalitarian sentiments of the movement and alternative interpretations of Christian theology fascinated the academic, who himself dabbled around the edges of Bible. He was also deeply fascinated by the conversions of natives to a ‘Christian’ religion. Guyantwachia on the other hand, had seen Virginia militias driving out Mingo and Shawnee people under his governorship, and declined the offer.

Many white converts were not swayed solely by Guyantwachia’s word, but also Jefferson’s rather romantic view of a ‘traditional life’ for Native Americans. The noble savage trope was a rising fad at the time in Virginia as state militias began pushing Natives further and further from the East Coast and contact between white metropoles and Indian populations waned. There were many longhouse themed gatherings, and Guyantwachia became a curiosity for many of the upper class.

Outside of the Middle States and Great Lakes Region, few whites would seriously convert, and there was significant hostility from the well established churches, particularly the Baptists and Episcopalian Church, both strong in the Southern Atlantic coast. The wounds of New England’s New Birth were finally healing, and began slowly seeing the reuniting of Presbyterian sects, which opposed Gaiweyo with particular fury. The ‘Red Quakers’ were often seen as idolatrous, putting George Washington on the same level as Jesus. Prejudice against reds was also a major part of quite a bit of hostility. Several Mingo men spreading the Word were lynched in Westbourne, Indiana in late 1824.

Among the Transappalachian whites, Gaiweyo started in urban centers among transient trappers and lumberjacks (many of whom took Red wives and interacted on a regular basis with Natives), and was introduced to the hinterland when homesteaders came to town for supplies. Ironically the primarily Presbyterian Scots-Irish were among the most common converts, with similarities to Scottish camp meeting traditions and an answer to common issues of alcoholism and patriarchal violence. The Middle colonies were seeing a decline in the practice of traditional sects like Quakerism, with the New England associated Presbyterianism being moved away from in droves. The diverse middle colonies had many practices, and no single religion dominated the region, and many populations who had been affected by the Connecticut Land Wars. Gaiweyo swept through many disaffected populations, even those who had once been menaced by the Hauden forces of Joseph Brant in the Connecticut Land Wars.

John Chapman’s charisma is often attributed to the popularity of Gaiweyo in Upper New York. June 1816 in Schenectady, John Chapman was giving a stump speech on a barrel of whiskey, and when someone offered to take the whiskey off his hands, Chapman fetched an axe and emptied the barrel on the street. However, it appears that a lack of significant organized religion in the still sparsely populated territory was a vacuum which was filled in part by Gaiweyo. This lack of oversight has led to many smaller folk religious traditions arising, including the Jerichoans and Spiritualism.

Women were very enthusiastic converts in every location. Religious associations were often one of the few sanctioned activities which brought lots of women together. The active participation of women in the Gaiweyo, as well as stress on monogamy, sobriety, and humility were deeply attractive, especially amongst frontiers women who often were at the mercy of their partners. Anne Galloway of Louisville would rise to national prominence as the leader of a longhouse, and Grace Hawley in Bridgeport is often said to have converted up to 300 people out of her kitchen.

A major component of the spread was in the specific words Guyantwachia said. It is implied in letters to Thawonwyuthe that the Chief would tailor his speeches by audience. Guyantwachia allowed for the open interpretation of the parables, a tactic which allowed for the Good Word to find fertile ground wherever the message was sewn. This practice initially was managed only by the diffuseness of the religion, and later as the Longhouse of the Thirteen Fires was convened, through the establishment of regional schools of practice. Most practices followed the basic tenets of upholding tolerance, humility, and sobriety, as well as the decrying of greed, witchcraft, and violence. The majority would at least attempt to convene in Longhouses or tents, the major exception being urbanites. Jesus featured prominently, and George Washington (or at least a version of him) was often serving as the model of the ideal man. The Question of Renadagaius’s divinity would be one of the splintering points which broke open after the second generation of Gaiweyokwe.(1)

Sganyadaiyo was the first of the Original generation to die, during the Green Corn Festival, the 15th of August 1815. Yenewot and Hatgwiyot, her husband, would assume his role as spiritual leader in the Seneca Nation. John Chapman would catch yellow fever in North New Jersey, and die of the disease in 1821. Guyantwachia had returned to Teeoshewah after Sganyadaiyo’s death, and remained an important leader until his death in 1830. Before his death, he had hosted the Second Longhouse of the Thirteen Fires, and would endorse the pardoning of Benjamin Scandella. In 1834, Joseph Smith would dedicate a statue of Sganyadaiyo and Guyantwachia in Salt Lake City where it would stand until the Third American Revolution when it was vandalized by Canadians.

(1) Gaiweyokwe, from "Gaiweyoehoekwe";"Man of the Good Word"


as well as smaller skirmishes like the Battle of Vorhees in New Jersey

There are two possibilities here. This is either an ATL event, or an OTL event that I somehow have not heard of before.

1. If it is an ATL event, drop me a line since I actually live fairly close to Voorhees, NJ, and have family in that town, so I know details on the local topography and landmarks.

2, If it is an OTL event... For the love of G-d, send me everything you have on it NOW!!!
There are two possibilities here. This is either an ATL event, or an OTL event that I somehow have not heard of before.

1. If it is an ATL event, drop me a line since I actually live fairly close to Voorhees, NJ, and have family in that town, so I know details on the local topography and landmarks.

2, If it is an OTL event... For the love of G-d, send me everything you have on it NOW!!!

Fortunately, it is ATL. If theres anything I can't find I'll ask you