The Boston Patriots

The American Revolution was not simply a series of impersonal events. Men and women made fateful and difficult decisions that led to the great clash.

There were several patriots from Boston. Coming from a major port city, Bostonians especially resented the restrictions on trade. Maybe its legacy of religious quarrels with the Church of England made Bostonians more rebellious. Its long history of town meetings and self-rule may have led New Englanders to be suspicious of royal authority. The city of Boston was the leading voice against British authority.

Read about some of Boston’s patriots.

James Otis opposed British taxation policies. In 1761, Boston merchants hired him to provide legal defense against British search warrants. His widely distributed pamphlet, The Rights of the British Colonists Asserted and Proved, was one of the first legal criticisms of Parliament’s taxation policies. Otis was perceived by many in London to be the center of treasonous American activity, but Otis saw himself as fiercely loyal to the English Constitution. Once he stormed into Boston's Royal Coffee House to face drawn swords because his loyalty had been called into question. Otis was so severely beaten that he never really recovered, making him a martyr around Boston.

Samuel Adams was a fiery supporter of American liberty in the colonies. He drew a sharp distinction between the evils of the British Empire and a simple American life. His political organization skills drove the colonies toward declaring independence. Adams chaired the Boston town meeting that led to the Boston Tea Party. He served as an active member of the Sons of Liberty.

Samuel’s cousin John Adams was also a patriot. He received early fame as a defense attorney for the British soldiers during the Boston Massacre trial. He provided the wording of the resistance message that was adopted by the First Continental Congress and sent to George III. John and Samuel Adams represented the radical wing of the Second Continental Congress that demanded armed struggle against Britain. John Adams was also a member of the committee that drafted the Declaration of Independence.

John Hancock was a major smuggler. When one of his ships was seized, the people of Boston protested. The British responded by occupying the city. General Gage ordered the arrests of Hancock and Samuel Adams after the battles at Lexington and Concord.

Paul Revere was a silversmith modest means. His famous midnight ride that warned of the advancing British troops was only one of his revolutionary actions. His engravings were used by patriots as anti-British propaganda, particularly his famous engraving of the Boston Massacre.

Source: The Boston Patriots
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