Boston In The American Revolution : A Town Versus An Empire by Brooke Barbier

Boston In The American Revolution : A Town Versus An Empire by Brooke Barbier

In 1764, a small town in the British colony of Massachusetts witnessed an audacious uprising. When the American colonies faced the imposition of the Sugar Act by Great Britain, the British Parliament was unprepared for the fervent revolt that unfolded in Boston.

Over the following decade, loyalists and rebels engaged in a relentless cycle of strife, betrayal, punishment, and murder. Surprisingly, Samuel Adams and John Hancock, despite their reservations, found themselves aligned. Paul Revere, on the other hand, failed to identify the traitors lurking within his own inner circle. Meanwhile, George Washington dismissed the Massachusetts rebels’ endeavors as inconsequential.

Historian Brooke Barbier delves into the extraordinary tale of how a city fueled its own radicalization against the world’s most formidable empire, ultimately playing a crucial role in the establishment of the United States of America.

British Troops in Boston: 1768-1776

These customs officials have been annoyed by Hancock for months. Here’s why – Hancock is a really popular guy in Boston, partly because he’s the wealthiest man in Boston and he’s very generous with his wealth, which makes him a lot of friends around Boston. He inherited his money and the family business from his uncle Thomas, who was a self-made man and opened a merchant company called the House of Hancock. John Hancock took over the business and, like any good merchant, he was also a smuggler. He intended to keep smuggling through the Townshend duties, just like many other merchants.

When the British won the French and Indian War in 1763, they expanded their territory and their debt, and looked to the colonists for help. They passed the Stamp Act in 1765 which imposed taxes on printed goods, but the colonists resisted and even engaged in violence against the Stamp Act collectors. This violence spread to other colonies as well.

Then in 1767, Parliament passed the Townshend duties which taxed imported goods from England. This led to more tensions between the colonists and the British customs officials, who were trying to enforce these new taxes. In Boston, tensions escalated further when the customs officials tried to seize Hancock’s ship. A mob came to his defense and even burned one of the customs officials’ boats on Boston Common.

In 1768, British troops were sent to Boston to help enforce the Townshend duties and quell the growing unrest. The troops arrived in October and initially stayed in barracks on Castle Island, but Bostonians cleverly made conditions difficult for them and eventually, they were allowed to stay in the Manufacturing House. However, they faced daily abuses and tensions continued to escalate.

The Journal of the Times, a newspaper in Boston, reported on the daily abuses and grievances of the Bostonians living alongside the troops. These abuses included public punishments, unauthorized searches of homes and vehicles, attempts to entice slaves to harm their masters, excessive drinking, Sabbath breaking, assaults on women, and more.

The tensions between the Bostonians and the British troops eventually culminated in the Boston Massacre on March 5, 1770, when the troops fired on a crowd of Bostonians, killing five people.

The British troops were evacuated from Boston in 1776 and did not return. The American Revolution had begun and Bostonians were now fighting for their independence.

Today, the events that unfolded in Boston during this time are being commemorated as part of Revolution 250, a celebration of the 250th anniversary of the American Revolution.

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