Thomas Hutchinson and the Origins of the American Revolution (The American Social Experience)


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Wells, H. Thomas Prince. The Historians, — Thomas Hutchinson. Both Hubbard and Prince were ministers and wrote with a full sense of the importance of the churches in the New England life. Their outlook was biased, although not intentionally so. From them we turn at the very close of the colonial period to a New England historian as free from this influence as Colden or William Smith.

Thomas Hutchinson was descended from Mrs.

A people's history of the American revolution - Howard Zinn

Anne Hutchinson, who was exiled from Massachusetts in because she defied the Puritan hierarchy, and he was quite free from religious narrowness. Born in , he graduated from Harvard in and began a prosperous career as a merchant. He won the confidence of the Boston people, who sent him to the assembly, where he distinguished himself by opposing the issue of paper money.

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He was for a long time the most popular man in the colony, and he was promoted from one high office to another, becoming lieutenant-governor in , chief justice in , acting governor in , and governor in Hutchinson loved Massachusetts, but he was intellectually a conservative, and he did not accept the theory on which the colonists rested their resistance to the king and Parliament.

He wished to preserve the Empire undivided, and hoped that some plan might be found by which America might have home rule without renouncing the name British. He was opposed in principle to the Stamp Act, but disapproved of the violence with which it was received. A Boston mob, angered by false reports against him, wrecked his house, destroyed his furniture, and scattered his books and papers through the streets.

The assembly paid him for the property loss, but he never recovered the good will of Boston. He tried to reconcile king and colony, but neither was in a mood to be reconciled. The phrase "no taxation without representation" became popular within many American circles. Government officials in London argued that the Americans were represented "virtually"; but most Americans rejected the theory that men in London, who knew nothing about their needs and conditions, could represent them.

In theory, Great Britain already regulated the economies of the colonies through the Navigation Acts according to the doctrines of mercantilism , which held that anything which benefited the empire and hurt other empires was good policy. Widespread evasion of these laws had long been tolerated. Now, through the use of open-ended search warrants Writs of Assistance , strict enforcement became the practice.

In Massachusetts lawyer James Otis argued that the writs violated the constitutional rights of the colonists. He lost the case, but John Adams later wrote, "American independence was then and there born. In , Patrick Henry argued the Parson's Cause in Virginia, where the legislature had passed a law and it was vetoed by the King.

Henry argued, "that a King, by disallowing Acts of this salutary nature, from being the father of his people, degenerated into a Tyrant and forfeits all right to his subjects' obedience.


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Protests led to a powerful new weapon, the systemic boycott of British goods. In the Stamp Act was the first direct tax ever levied by Parliament on the colonies. All newspapers , almanacs, pamphlets and official documents—even decks of playing cards—had to have the stamps.

All 13 colonies protested vehemently, as popular leaders like Henry in Virginia and Otis in Massachusetts rallied the people in opposition. A secret group, the "Sons of Liberty," formed in many towns, threatening violence if anyone sold the stamps. In Boston , the Sons of Liberty burned the records of the vice-admiralty court and looted the elegant home of the chief justice, Thomas Hutchinson. Several legislatures called for united action, and nine colonies sent delegates to the Stamp Act Congress in New York City in October Moderates led by John Dickinson drew up a "Declaration of Rights and Grievances" stating that taxes passed without representation violated ancient rights.

In London , the Rockingham government came to power and Parliament debated whether to repeal the stamp tax or send an army to enforce it. Benjamin Franklin eloquently made the American case, explaining the colonies had spent heavily in manpower, money and blood in defense of the empire in a series of wars against the French and Indians, and that paying further taxes for those wars was unjust and might bring about a rebellion.

Parliament agreed and repealed the tax, but in a "Declaratory Act" of March insisted that parliament retained full power to make laws for the colonies "in all cases whatsoever. In March 5, , tensions escalated and five colonists including Crispus Attucks were killed in the Boston Massacre. The same day parliament repealed the Stamp Act, and the Declaratory Act, which asserted England's control over the colonies was enacted. This act didn't change anything because England already had full control over the colonies, so this act was ignored by the colonists.

Committees of correspondence were formed in the colonies to coordinate resistance to paying the taxes. In previous years, the colonies had shown little inclination towards collective action. Prime Minister George Grenville's policies were bringing them together. John Locke 's liberal ideas were very influential; his theory of the " social contract " implied the natural right of the people to overthrow their leaders, should those leaders betray the historic rights of Englishmen.

Historians find little trace of Jean-Jacques Rousseau 's influence among the America Revolutionaries. The motivating force was the American embrace of a political ideology called "republicanism," which was dominant in the colonies by It was influenced greatly by the "country party" in Britain, whose critique of British government emphasized that political corruption was to be feared. The colonists associated the "court" with luxury and inherited aristocracy, which Americans increasingly condemned. Corruption was the greatest possible evil, and civic virtue required men to put civic duty ahead of their personal desires.

Men had a civic duty to fight for their country. For women, "republican motherhood" became the ideal, as exemplified by Abigail Adams and Mercy Otis Warren ; the first duty of the republican woman was to instill republican values in her children and to avoid luxury and ostentation.

Popular Insurrection and a Failed Police Action: 1775–76.

The Proclamation of restricted American movement across the Appalachian Mountains. Nonetheless, groups of settlers continued to move west. The proclamation was soon modified and was no longer a hindrance to settlement, but its promulgation without consulting Americans angered the colonists.

The Quebec Act of extended Quebec 's boundaries to the Ohio River , shutting out the claims of the 13 colonies. By then, however, the Americans had scant regard for new laws from London—they were drilling militia and organizing for war. While there were many causes of the American Revolution, it was a series of specific events, or crises, that finally triggered the outbreak of war. Soon afterwards, Governor Thomas Hutchinson of Massachusetts reported that he and the royal judges would be paid directly by London, thus bypassing the colonial legislature. In late , Samuel Adams set about creating new Committees of Correspondence that would link together patriots in all thirteen colonies and eventually provide the framework for a rebel government.

The Intolerable Acts included four acts. The second act was the Administration of Justice Act, which ordered that all British soldiers to be tried were to be arraigned in Britain, not the colonies. The third act was the Boston Port Act, which closed the port of Boston until the British had been compensated for the tea lost in the Boston Tea Party the British never received such a payment. The fourth act was the Quartering Act of , which compelled the residents of Boston to house British regulars sent in to control the vicinity.

The First Continental Congress endorsed the Suffolk Resolves, which declared the Intolerable Acts to be unconstitutional, called for the people to form militias , and called for Massachusetts to form a Patriot government. In response, primarily to the Massachusetts Government Act, the people of Worcester, Massachusetts set up an armed picket line in front of the local courthouse, refusing to allow the British magistrates to enter.


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  6. Similar events occurred, soon after, all across the colony. British troops were sent from England, but by the time they arrived, the entire colony of Massachusetts, with the exception of the heavily garrisoned city of Boston , had thrown off British control of local affairs. The Battle of Lexington and Concord took place April 19, , when the British sent a regiment to confiscate arms and arrest revolutionaries in Concord, Massachusetts. It was the first fighting of the American Revolutionary War , and immediately the news aroused the 13 colonies to call out their militias and send troops to besiege Boston.


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    The Battle of Bunker Hill followed on June 17, By late spring , with George Washington as commander, the Americans forced the British to evacuate Boston. The patriots were in control everywhere in the 13 colonies and were ready to declare independence.

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    While there still were many loyalists, they were no longer in control anywhere by July , and all of the British Royal officials had fled. The Second Continental Congress convened in , after the war had started. The Congress created the Continental Army and extended the Olive Branch Petition to the crown as an attempt at reconciliation. King George III refused to receive it, issuing instead the Proclamation of Rebellion, requiring action against the "traitors. They included a full range of social and economic classes, but a unanimity regarding the need to defend the rights of Americans.

    After the war, political differences emerged. Patriots such as George Washington, James Madison , John Adams , Alexander Hamilton , and John Jay for example, were deeply devoted to republicanism while also eager to build a rich and powerful nation, while patriots such as Patrick Henry , Benjamin Franklin , and Thomas Jefferson represented democratic impulses and the agrarian plantation element that wanted a localized society with greater political equality.

    Loyalists were typically older, less willing to break with old loyalties, often connected to the Anglican church , and included many established merchants with business connections across the empire, for example Thomas Hutchinson of Boston. Recent immigrants who had not been fully Americanized were also inclined to support the king, such as recent Scottish settlers in the back country; among the more striking examples of this, see Flora Macdonald.

    Native Americans mostly rejected American pleas that they remain neutral. Most groups aligned themselves with the empire. There were also incentives provided by both sides that helped to secure the affiliations of regional peoples and leaders; the tribes that depended most heavily upon colonial trade tended to side with the revolutionaries, though political factors were important as well.

    The most prominent Native American leader siding with the loyalists was Joseph Brant of the Mohawk nation , who led frontier raids on isolated settlements in Pennsylvania and New York until an American army under John Sullivan secured New York in , forcing all the loyalist Indians permanently into Canada.

    A minority of uncertain size tried to stay neutral in the war. Most kept a low profile.

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    However, the Quakers , especially in Pennsylvania, were the most important group that was outspoken for neutrality. Chapel Hill, Norton, Mary Beth. Boston, Baym, Nina.

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    Cengage Learning. Mercy Otis Warren By Debra Michals, PhD Works Cited. Feer, Robert. Cambridge: Belknap Press, Lauter, Paul, ed. Accessed February 10, Detroit: Gale, History in Context. Weatherford, Doris. New York: Macmillan General Reference,

    Thomas Hutchinson and the Origins of the American Revolution (The American Social Experience) Thomas Hutchinson and the Origins of the American Revolution (The American Social Experience)
    Thomas Hutchinson and the Origins of the American Revolution (The American Social Experience) Thomas Hutchinson and the Origins of the American Revolution (The American Social Experience)
    Thomas Hutchinson and the Origins of the American Revolution (The American Social Experience) Thomas Hutchinson and the Origins of the American Revolution (The American Social Experience)
    Thomas Hutchinson and the Origins of the American Revolution (The American Social Experience) Thomas Hutchinson and the Origins of the American Revolution (The American Social Experience)
    Thomas Hutchinson and the Origins of the American Revolution (The American Social Experience) Thomas Hutchinson and the Origins of the American Revolution (The American Social Experience)

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