Boston: Rebels and Patriots

The city of Boston during the latter half of the 18th century was home to many significant characters who would eventually play into the history of American independence.  Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and Paul Revere may today be some of the more memorable characters in the nation's struggle for freedom, but other residents such as James Otis (a passionate and capable speaker who popularized the idea that "taxation without representation is tyranny"), Crispus Attucks (a former slave who helped lead the crowd - and was mortally wounded - during the Boston Massacre), and William Dawes (one of several men to participate in the so-called "midnight ride" that led to the first battle of the Revolution) played key roles as well.  Even the original American "Renaissance Man", Benjamin Franklin, was from Boston and lived there until the age of 17 - and his statue remains to this day in front of their Old City Hall.

It should be noted, however, that it is not only the famous residents in town that participate.  Boston's own Sons of Liberty, a fiery group of locals opposing British governance, included several average citizens whose faces and names have largely been lost to history.  This band of average people, who became known for their use of tar-and-feather practices against government employees and other Loyalists, famously staged the Boston Tea Party in protest against the Tea Act (1773).  Whether all of these should be remembered as rebels or patriots depends largely on which side of the Atlantic your 18th century loyalties fell, but these individuals certainly give credence to Boston's claim to be the "Cradle of Liberty".  To know their stories is to know the story of the American Revolution, which in turn teaches us a little more about our own story.

We will definitely delve more deeply into a few of the players who took the stage in Boston during this grand drama.  In the meanwhile, if you're unfamiliar with the look of the city today, I'd encourage you to jump onto your favorite search engine to see a modern view and get a sense of how some of the locations I've flagged in the above image appear in the 21st century.


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