Sons of liberty
The Sons of Liberty used their power and influence to manipulate popular opinion, thereby inciting the public to act against the laws and control of England. They were one of the most influential groups behind the American Revolution. The start of the Sons of Liberty is something off mystery. The group always met in secret and it is disputed where it all began. Some say it started in New York and some will say under the leadership of Samuel Adams the Boston chapter was first.One thing is certain though, they all had the same goal, to organize public opinion and coordinate patriotic actions against Great Britain.
The Sons of Liberty met at night so not to attract the British soldiers and to keep their activities secret until they felt it was time to make them public. One of the main reasons the groups were started was to protest and campaign against the Stamp Act. That was just the start of what the group would protest against and continue to fight for liberty against Britain.The Sons of Liberty name actually came from a speech given to parliament by Colonel Isaac Bare, “the behavior of Britain’s officials toward Americans on any occasions has caused the blood of those Sons of Liberty to recoil within them”l, which wasn’t intended to imply disloyalty towards the crown but when word got back to the colonies and they saw his words they used them to their benefit. Bare made it known he thought it was ridiculous Americans owed Britain any money and the debt they now had from the Seven Years’ War was Britain’s responsibility.Britain, however, was still moving forward with the Stamp Act. Parliament was passing the measure to promote imperial security and prosperity throughout the colonies.
Many colonists greed with Bare and when word came back that Britain was in fact following through with the tax, the Sons of Liberty started to get stronger. There were meeting throughout the colonies, one of the key meetings happening in New York. Sons of Liberty members, John Lamb, Gresham Motto, Isaac Sears, Thomas Robinson, and William Wiley – were appointed a Committee of Correspondence.Newspapers and writings were important to the groups cause and the goal was to let printers and publishers know to stay open and not pay the tax on paper and they would have support behind them. Some till closed when the tax was getting near but a good majority joined the Sons of Liberty’s cause. The strength of publishers and printers behind them the group started to abandon some of its secrecy and started publishing things in newspapers. News was spreading quickly and before anyone realized it there were Sons of Liberty chapters in every colony.
The Stamp Act of 1 765 was passed to ease the debt on Britain due to the Sevens’ Year War.The tax was a tax on all newspapers and documents. The tax did not sit well with the colonies. There was opposition to the tax right from the start. The Sons of Liberty were defiant and started their protests right away. Once they had the public support they could set up rallies and protests. The act was supposed to take effect November 1st 1765.
Many publishers and printers shut down when the date was near, however, the publishers and printers with the Sons of Liberty kept running. The goal of the Sons was to stir up the emotions of the masses which they did through newspapers and handouts.The printings were helpful because they could let people know where they were meeting and when. They could set up rallies and protests much easier. The Sons of Liberty were not a violent group but it wasn’t something they would shy away from if they wanted to get their point across. For example tar and feathering was known to happen on occasion. They used the power of the masses to get what they wanted.
The protests they had, attracted thousands of people. They would march through the streets with an effigy of the stamp agent hanging from a rope or marching on the houses of the agents with subtle threats not to do their jobs.Throughout the colonies this seemed to be working. Many agents resigned or skipped town before the act was to take effect. One of the key events took place in New York where over two thousand people gathered when they found out the stamps Were landing. The Sons sent a letter to the governor and while they were waiting for a response the British on the ship were so scared they left the stamps on the boat fearful to unload them. The governor was steered in the right direction and the stamps never made it to their destination, actually being burned.
The Stamp Act never took effect on November 1st and was considered a small victory for the Sons of Liberty and the colonies. Even though they had failed tit the Stamp Act Britain still tried to put legislation into effect against the colonies. Knowing they would have a fight on their hands every step of the way the British would do things differently over the next few years. In 1768 troops were sent into Boston to protect the officials appointed by the king. This did not sit well with the colonists or with the Sons Of Liberty. On March 5, 1 770, depending on what you read, the account of what happened in Boston on that fateful day varies.A British guard standing at his post started to have insults thrown his way.
He ignored the person but the louder that person got the more people came and then more soldiers came. Fifty or so people were gathered before you knew it. The soldiers were surrounded. No one knows who fired the shot but when the dust settled and the guns stopped firing, three people were dead and two wounded. Those two would die later of their wounds. The public was outraged, but the governor promised justice. The soldiers were arrested and brought to trial where 6 were acquitted and two found guilty but given suspended sentence and shipped back to Britain.
One interesting fact is that Sons of Liberty member John Adams was the defense attorney for the soldiers. His explanation was that he was doing it on principle and was not doing it because he had sympathy for their cause. No one wanted any backlash from Britain accusing the colonies of not giving the British soldiers a fair trial. The fight for independence rallied on as the troops were removed from Boston. As public support continued to grow and colonist unrest continued to rise against Britain, the Sons of Liberty impact grew stronger and their tactics became more daring and inflammatory.Three years after the massacre in Boston another key event would take place to strengthen the fight for independence. The Boston Tea Party, the night was December 16th, 1773.
Once again British Parliament was going to try and tax the colonies for tea, so they passed the Tea Act. As you can guess this was met with much resistance and the colonies were not going to accept it. The Sons of Liberty did what they did best. Through newspapers and pamphlets they got peoples’ attention. Once again Britain was going to try and tax them without any representation in Parliament. No taxation without representation” was the battle cry for this cause.People heard about the tax while the ships were en route and when they arrived people were ready.
As the Sons did before they flexed their muscle and got tea agents to either quit or resign before the tea even got here. Three colonies turned the boats back and Britain not thinking the colonists would destroy the tea, let the boat bound for Boston head into port. The governor holding his ground wanting the taxes to be collected told the tea agents to not back down. Easy to say when you are not the one on he docks dealing with hundreds of people protesting and threatening you.Research shows of at least two meetings being held on how to deal with the ships in port, the second one being held by Samuel Adams on December 16th. The key point in the meeting came when a note was read that the governor was not backing down and still was holding the ships in port to collect the tax. The meeting broke up shortly after that.
Not too long after a group of thirty to one hundred men dressed like Indians stormed the ships and started to unload the tea into the water. Tea that was thrown onto the socks was crushed and kicked into the water.