Image Source: Boston Tea Party Ships
The Sons of Liberty played an important part in the Boston Tea Party, using various forms of activism and civil disobedience to push back on the rule of the British. The aim of this group of men was to get leaders of the colonies into confrontations with the British Crown.
One of the very first victories that the Sons of Liberty achieved was the Stamp Act during the winter of 1765. They achieved this by sending a strongly worded letter to a collector of stamps known as Andrew Oliver, asking him to appear at the Liberty Tree in Boston the following day. He appeared and complied with the group in quitting his job. This was a clear demonstration of the clout that the group had.
Their most iconic act of civil disobedience came in 1773 when the Sons of Liberty destroyed some 92,000 pounds of tea that had been shipped in by the British by dumping it all into the Boston harbor. This infamous act became known as the Boston Tea Party and became a catalyst for the push back from the colonies against the British government, eventually leading to all out war.
Boston Tea Party
It was clear amongst the Bostonians that an effective way of taking a stand against the British was by not allowing them to unload their tea onto the docks there. This was because the Tea Act that was passed in 1773 was having a devastating effect on the tea merchants in America – it had given the British East India Company a virtual monopoly.
Although it was not their initial plan to destroy the tea, they would have preferred to simply send it back to Britain, the unwillingness of the merchants forced their hand and so they had no choice but to destroy every single last pound of it. It was this act that spurred the revolutionary war.
The most famous leader of the Sons of Liberty is a man called Samuel Smith – he was the son of a rich brewer who had more of an interest in rabble rousing than in commerce. He attended Harvard University where he wrote a detailed thesis on how it was lawful to resist the rule of the British. Whilst it was George Washington that was responsible for leading the fight back against the British, there would not have been such an appetite for war if it was not for the earlier work done by Samuel Smith.
Another important leader was a man by the name of John Hancock – he later became immortalized by the signature that he left on the American Declaration of independence. Hancock was particularly feared and loathed by the British due to his actions, being a proud colonialist, and because of his involvement with the Sons of Liberty. Hancock was well known for flying the flag of the Sons of Liberty – to get your hands on one of these yourself, click here.