Charles Carroll and the American Revolution
Charles Carroll was one of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence. This wealthy young landowner not only played a key role in founding the United States of America, but a surprising one. He was Catholic. In Maryland, laws prohibited Catholics from all aspects of public life including public worship, schooling, and the right to vote or hold a seat in the House of Burgesses. However, Charles was uniquely prepared by the best of European educations, both religious and secular, to understand and help form the new nation that considered freedom to be a fundamental principle. Though staunchly patriotic, it wasn’t until 1769—when the governor enacted an oppressive policy that would affect all Marylanders—that the young planter began to speak out publicly. Adopting the pen name “First Citizen,” Charles used his well-sharpened reasoning to begin a series of essays in the Maryland Gazette, championing the rights of the people.
The author, Milton Lomask, focuses on the early events of Charles’ career in statesmanship. By using lively dialog based in part on Carroll’s own letters, he succeeds in bringing to life not only the character of a man who helped to establish and shape the United States of America, but also the times in which he lived.