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The Boston Patriots

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

There was a notable numberof patriots from Boston. The prevalence of shipping in Boston made Bostonians especially resent 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 most wary of royal authority. Perhaps a combination of these and other factors led the city of Boston to be the leading voice against British authority.

The following patriots were all citizens of one great city: Boston.


James Otis was one of the first opponents of British taxation policies. As early as 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 criticism of Parliament’s taxation policies. A large man with a big heart for British liberties, he was perceived by many in London to be the center of treasonous American activity. But Otis also 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. Violence ensued. Otis was so severely beaten that he never really recovered; making him somewhat of a martyr around Boston.


Samuel Adams was perhaps the fieriest supporter of American liberty in the 13 colonies. He drew a sharp distinction between the evils of the British Empire and simple American life. His skills as a political organizer drove the colonies toward declaring independence. Adams chaired the Boston town meeting that led to the Boston Tea Party. He was a leader in organizing and rabble-rousing. He served as an active member of the Sons of Liberty.


John Adams was Samuel Adam’s cousin and just as big a patriot. He received early fame as a defense attorney for the British soldiers in the Boston Massacre trial.

He provided the wording of the resistance message sent to George III that was adopted by the First Continental Congress. John and Samuel Adams represented the radical wing of the Second Continental Congress that demanded armed struggle against Britain. He was also a member of the committee of five who drafted the Declaration of Independence.


John Hancock earned the early displeasure of British officials as a major smuggler. The seizure of one of his ships brought a response from Bostonians that led directly to British occupation in 1768.

Hancock and Samuel Adams were the two agitators whose arrest was ordered by General Gage after the battles at Lexington and Concord. He was a rich man who had much to lose by resisting Britain. Nevertheless, he did not bend.


Paul Revere was a silversmith, with humbler means than the other mentioned patriots. His famous midnight ride that warned of the advancing British troops was only one of his revolutionary actions. He was also an illustrator. 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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