I am a history buff and really enjoy the time period surrounding the Revolutionary War.
| The Sons of Liberty, key players in America’s fight for independence, have been portrayed as many different things. Patriots, zealots, traitors, unruly mobs and heroes are only a few of the many names they have been called. Dependent on ones personal viewpoint and political preference some names are more fitting than others. A member of British Parliament would have seen them as traitors, technically this would have been correct since they were colonists under the King’s authority and choose not to accept his tyranny. To the colonists they were heroes because they stood up to the Crown and Parliament, and demanded their right to fair representation. Were they intentionally working towards a war with England? Not until their repeated efforts to obtain a peaceable solution failed. Were they nothing more than violent mobs? Any time a large group of people with opposing viewpoints that they firmly believe in come face to face, emotions run high and violence is possible if not probable. They were willing to fight for the cause, but preferred peaceful methods whenever possible.
In Boston in the summer of 1765 a group who called themselves The Loyal Nine, began defying the Stamp Act. In time, they were known as the Sons of Liberty. Membership soon included a wide variety of expertise ranging from the wealthy through the lower classes to lawyers, printers and merchants. Due to the secrecy surrounding their cause it would be impossible to determine how many members there were, but branches sprouted throughout the colonies until they were a force to be reckoned with. Known members included such notable men as Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Samuel Adams, John Hancock and Paul Revere - an impressive collection of men that during and after the war became political and military leaders. They were a guiding force towards the establishment of the United States of America, involved in the drafting and acceptance of the Articles of the Confederacy, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights they formed the foundation of the United States of America.
Samuel Adams was the known leader of the Boston branch and was willing to take whatever steps necessary for a peaceful conclusion - when that failed, he did what he could to alienate the moderates and force them to choose sides. As the society grew throughout the colonies, it became vital for the branches to communicate with each other so they could move as a united force and keep each other aware of their own actions as well as the actions of the British. The Committees of Correspondence were created to keep the colonists informed and coordinated in their efforts against the British. These committees were formed by the Sons as well as by the local legislatures on the colonies. This organization of information not only enhanced the effectiveness of the group as a whole, but it kept the spirit of patriotism and unity alive and strong.
The Sons did everything they could to gain their goal of Independence. Using techniques such as handbills, meetings and demonstrations, petitions and newspaper articles. In fact, they proved that violence could be a handy tool in obtaining this goal. Riots, looting and mob demonstrations were designed to undermine British authority in front of the masses to encourage to townspeople to take a stand of their own against the tyranny, as well as to instill fear in the British and create an annoyance to the King and additional cost to Parliament.
As effective as they were, the Sons faced a mighty and well trained force that was backed by much of the local government and many of the local loyalists. Frequently, the laws were changed in an attempt to force submission and more troops were shipped from England to regain control. The added troops caused more problems as the colonists were ordered to house them which placed directly under the watchful eye of the enemy. They were able to use newspapers and handbills to engage in a mental war that not only undermined the authority of the military, but boosted the moral of the colonists. The average townsmen or farmer would have been daunted by the Redcoats simply because they were known to be a fighting force, but the antics of the Sons proved that they could be beaten.
Starting as a small group of men with a shared vision of equality with the other British Citizens, the Sons of Liberty grew and expanded throughout the colonies to form a united front against the tyranny of the crown. They led the colonists in the realization that they not only had rights, but that they could fight for these rights and win. They utilized intelligence, cunning, organization and planning and banded together against the Crown and Parliament causing royal officials and appointees to quit or flee. The time spent as Sons prepared these men for the war ahead, giving them fighting experience and military tactical training which in turn gained them a better chance of winning their independence. The years of fighting for their rights created a foundation for the structuring and governing the United States in a manner that provided for the people. The Sons of Liberty were patriots that during the course of their struggle were also traitors to the Crown, zealots of the rights of the people, unruly mobs when necessary and heroes to the masses throughout.