In 1778, in response to news of the American alliance with France, the British government proposed a series of Catholic relief bills aimed at tolerating Catholicism in England, Scotland, and Ireland. Officials saw the legislation as a pragmatic response to a dramatically expanded war, but ordinary Britons were far less tolerant. They argued that the relief acts threatened to undermine a widely shared Protestant British patriotism that defined itself against Catholicism and France. Through an elaborate and well-connected popular print culture, Britons living in distant Atlantic communities, such as Kingston (Jamaica), Glasgow, Dublin, and New York City, publicly engaged in a radical brand of Protestant patriotism that began to question the very legitimacy of their own government. Events culminated in June 1780, with five days of violent, deadly rioting in the nation's capitol. Yet the Gordon Riots represent only the most famous example of this new, more zealous defense of Protestant Whig Britishness. In the British Caribbean and North America, unrelenting fears of French invasions and the perceived incompetence of the government mixed with an increasingly confrontational Protestant political culture to expose the fragile nature of British patriotism. In Scotland, anti-Catholic riots drove the country to near rebellion in early 1779, while in Ireland, Protestants and Catholics took advantage of this political instability to make demands for economic and political independence, culminating in the country's legislative autonomy in 1782. Ultimately, Catholic relief and the American alliance with France fundamentally altered how ordinary Britons viewed their government and, perhaps, laid the foundations for the far more radical political culture of the 1790s.