By: Derek Putnam |
| The Sons of Liberty |
| The 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 of a 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 ...view middle of the document...
There were meeting throughout the colonies, one of the key meetings happening in New York. Sons of Liberty members, John Lamb, Gershom Mott, 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 still 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 1765 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 with 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...