A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.

For Teachers » Core Concepts

CONCEPT 2

In both Britain and America, those involved in economic and political disputes used a variety of tactics and forms of communication before resorting to military action.

What is the most effective way of persuading people to change their minds and see things your way?

Between 1764 and 1776, Britain pursued various methods to raise revenue from the colonies while strengthening her hold over them. In resisting, Americans made their points in many ways: pamphlets and essays in newspapers; formal petitions; collective action to promote non-consumption and non-importation; all the way to mob action and intimidation of the kind practiced by the Sons of Liberty. It is important that students understand different tactics and different forms of communication used in bringing about political and economic change.

    GOALS:

    As a result of using this website, students will understand that...
  • political and economic disputes were inseparably linked
  • tactics included both rhetorical and physical actions
  • documents were used as tools
  • military actions were a last resort

    OBJECTIVES:

    Students demonstrate their understanding of this concept by...
  • identifying pertinent documents:
    • finding at least two documents from the Coming of the American Revolution website
    • explaining how they illustrate this goal
  • interpreting the documents
    • conducting a Document Analysis (see Document Analysis Worksheet)
    • answering Questions to Consider (writing and discussion prompts) at bottom of each document description
  • investigating the significance and interconnections of the documents
    • following one or more of the Further Exploration research assignments and project suggestions at bottom of each document description
    • drawing conclusions backed by evidence from documents and introductory essays
  • answering the following Framing Questions (drawn directly from the stated Goals above) based on those conclusions and that evidence collected from the documents:
    • In what ways are political and economic disputes linked – how does one lead to the other?
    • When are rhetorical actions most effective as tactics in addressing issues? Political actions? Why?
    • How are documents used as tools to serve specific interests and causes?
    • At what point do parties resort to military actions? Why is this tactic a last resort in most cases?

Documents

The Sugar Act

An Act with Teeth
Two Acts of Parliament: One Passed in the Sixth Year of the Reign of King George the Second ...
Two Acts of Parliament: One Passed in the Sixth Year of the Reign of King George the Second ...

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Sinking Credit, Sinking Fortunes
An Act to prevent Paper Bills of Credit, hereafter to be issued in any of His Majesty's Colonies or Plantations in America ...
"An Act to prevent Paper Bills of Credit, hereafter to be issued in any of His Majesty's Colonies or Plantations in America ..."

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Becoming the "richest people upon earth"
Americus (in the New-York Papers) writes ...
"Americus (in the New-York Papers) writes ..."
Article from page 2 of The Massachusetts Gazette and Boston News-Letter, number 3150, 5 July 1764

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The Stamp Act

The Stamps are on their Way
[Stamp Act (1765)]
[Stamp Act (1765)]

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"Reprinting" Virginia’s Resolves
From the Newport Mercury. Newport, June 24. Extract of a Letter from Gentleman in Philadelphia ...
"From the Newport Mercury. Newport, June 24. Extract of a Letter from Gentleman in Philadelphia ..."
Article from page 2 of The Boston-Gazette, and Country Journal, Number 535, 1 July 1765

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A Call for a Unified Response
From the Providence Gazette Extraordinary. The following is said to be a copy of the Resolutions of the Congress held at New-York ...
"From the Providence Gazette Extraordinary. The following is said to be a copy of the Resolutions of the Congress held at New-York ..."
Article from page 3 of The Massachusetts Gazette, number 0, 20 March 1766

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An Effigy Swings and a House Crumbles
Letter from Cyrus Baldwin to Loammi Baldwin, 15 August 1765
Letter from Cyrus Baldwin to Loammi Baldwin, 15 August 1765

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The Art of Persuasion
From the New-York Gazette of Nov. 7. To the Printer ...
"From the New-York Gazette of Nov. 7. To the Printer ..."
Article from page 1 of The Boston Post-Boy & Advertiser, Number 431, 18 November 1765.

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The Formation of the Sons of Liberty

"Liberty and no Stamp-Act"
By several Vessels from Charlestown, South Carolina ...
"By several Vessels from Charlestown, South Carolina ..."
Article from page 2 of the Supplement to the Massachusetts Gazette, 21 November 1765. (The two-page supplement was published the same day as the four-page The Massachusetts Gazette, Number 0.)

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Under the Liberty Tree
St-p! St-p! St-p! No: Tuesday-Morning, December 17, 1765
St-p! St-p! St-p! No: Tuesday-Morning, December 17, 1765

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"Conducted to the General Satisfaction of the Publick"
Letter from Henry Bass to Samuel P. Savage, 19 December 1765
Letter from Henry Bass to Samuel P. Savage, 19 December 1765

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The Badge of Slavery
Boston, February 24. Last Week was taken up ...
"Boston, February 24. Last Week was taken up ..."
Article from page 3 of The Boston-Gazette, and Country Journal, number 569, 24 February 1766

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The Townshend Acts

"defraying the expenses"
An Act for granting certain Duties in the British Colonies and Plantations in America ...
"An Act for granting certain Duties in the British Colonies and Plantations in America ..."

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"the excessive use of foreign superfluities"
At a Meeting of the Freeholders and other Inhabitants of the Town of Boston, legally assembled at Faneuil-Hall, on Wednesday the 28th of October 1767
At a Meeting of the Freeholders and other Inhabitants of the Town of Boston, legally assembled at Faneuil-Hall, on Wednesday the 28th of October 1767

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The Liberty Song
The Liberty Song.
"The Liberty Song."
Article from page 346 of The Boston Chronicle, Volume 1, Number 38, 29 August - 5 September 1768

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"Deprived of the Councils of a General Assembly"
Boston, September 14, 1768. Gentlemen, You are already too well acquainted with the melancholly [sic] and very alarming circumstances to which this province, as well as America in general, is now reduced ...
Boston, September 14, 1768. Gentlemen, You are already too well acquainted with the melancholly [sic] and very alarming circumstances to which this province, as well as America in general, is now reduced ...
[Boston, 1768]

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Non-Consumption and Non-importation

"Save your Money and Save your Country"
Messi'rs Green & Russell. Please to insert the following, and you'll oblige one of your constant Readers.
"Messi'rs Green & Russell. Please to insert the following, and you'll oblige one of your constant Readers."
Article from page 2 of The Boston Post-Boy & Advertiser, Number 553, 16 November 1767

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An Address to the Ladies
Address to the Ladies
"Address to the Ladies"
Verse from page 3 of The Boston Post-Boy & Advertiser, Number 535, 16 November 1767

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Merchants vote: block English trade!
John Rowe diary 5, 4 March 1768, pages 717-718
John Rowe diary 5, 4 March 1768, pages 717-718

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The Politics of Tea
Messieurs Edes & Gill, Please to insert the following, Tea! How I shudder at thy fatal Stream!
"Messieurs Edes & Gill, Please to insert the following, Tea! How I shudder at thy fatal Stream!"
Article from page 1 of The Boston-Gazette, & Country Journal, Number 698, 15 August 1768

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Boycott the Brazen Head!
William Jackson, an Importer; at the Brazen Head
William Jackson, an Importer; at the Brazen Head

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Trade Violators Exposed!
Summary of the Cargo of the Snow Pittt [sic] ...
"Summary of the Cargo of the Snow Pittt [sic] ..."
List from page 1 of The Boston Chronicle, Number 120, 17-21 August 1769

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"zeal in the cause"
Letter from Boston Merchants to Dennis De Berdt, 30 January 1770
Letter from Boston Merchants to Dennis De Berdt, 30 January 1770

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Non-importation is dead
Extract of a Letter from London, dated July 27, 1770.
"Extract of a Letter from London, dated July 27, 1770."
Article from page 3 of The Boston-Gazette, and Country Journal, Number 810, 15 October 1770

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The Boston Massacre

A Young Martyr
The Remains of young Snider, the unfortunate Boy who was barbarously Murdered the 22d of February last ...
"The Remains of young Snider, the unfortunate Boy who was barbarously Murdered the 22d of February last ..."
Article from page 2 of The Boston-Gazette, and Country Journal, Number 778, 5 March 1770

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The Formation of the Committees of Correspondence

A Committee is Born
Letter from Samuel Adams to James Warren, 4 November 1772
Letter from Samuel Adams to James Warren, 4 November 1772

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"Patriotic Province of Virginia"
Boston, April 9, 1773: Sir, The Committee of Correspondence of this Town have received the following intelligence ...
Boston, April 9, 1773: Sir, The Committee of Correspondence of this Town have received the following intelligence ...
Boston, 1773
Circular letter "signed by direction of the Committee for Correspondence in Boston, William Cooper, town clerk ..."

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"divine spirit of freedom"
Boston, April 20th, 1773. Sir, The efforts made by the legislative [sic] of this province ...
Boston, April 20th, 1773. Sir, The efforts made by the legislative [sic] of this province ...
Boston, 1773
Circular letter signed "In behalf of our fellow slaves in this province, and by order of their committee ..."

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The Boston Tea Party

The Tea is Coming
Philadelphia, September 29. Extract of a letter from London, August 4 ...
"Philadelphia, September 29. Extract of a letter from London, August 4 ..."
Article from page 3 of The Massachusetts Gazette; and the Boston Post-Boy and Advertiser, Number 842, 4-11 October 1773

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The "True Sons of Liberty" Weigh In
Tradesmen's Protest against the Proceedings of the Merchants ...
Tradesmen's Protest against the Proceedings of the Merchants ...

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The Body Speaks
Boston, December 1, 1773. At a meeting of the people ...
Boston, December 1, 1773. At a meeting of the people ...
[Boston]: printed by Edes and Gill, 1773

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Beware an Unwelcome Visit
342 Chests of Tea into the Sea
Boston, December 20. On Tuesday last the body of the people ...
"Boston, December 20. On Tuesday last the body of the people ..."
Article from page 3 of The Boston-Gazette, and Country Journal, Number [976], 20 December 1773

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Bostonians, Keep up your Courage
Tea, Destroyed by Indians
Tea, Destroyed by Indians

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Destroying the Tea—Again
Boston, March 14. His Majesty Oknookortunkogog King of the Narraganset Tribe ...
"Boston, March 14. His Majesty Oknookortunkogog King of the Narraganset Tribe ..."
Article from page 1 of The Boston-Gazette, and Country Journal, Number 988, 14 March 1774

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The Coercive Acts

"commotions and insurrections"
An Act to Block up Boston Harbour
An Act to Block up Boston Harbour

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Intolerable Acts
The following extraordinary Bills now pending in Parliament ...
The following extraordinary Bills now pending in Parliament ...

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"we suffer in the common cause"
Gentlemen, The evils which we have long foreseen are now come upon this town and province ...
Gentlemen, The evils which we have long foreseen are now come upon this town and province ...

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An Abundance of Goodwill
Letter from Titus Hosmer of the Committee of Correspondence for Middletown, Connecticut, to the Boston Committee of Donations (copy in letterbook volume 2), 17 October 1774, pages 81-83
Letter from Titus Hosmer of the Committee of Correspondence for Middletown, Connecticut, to the Boston Committee of Donations (copy in letterbook volume 2), 17 October 1774, pages 81-83

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Depend on the Virginians
Letter from William Black of the Committee of Correspondence, James River County, Virginia, to the Boston Committee of Donations (copy in letterbook volume 2), 22 December 1774, pages 94-95
Letter from William Black of the Committee of Correspondence, James River County, Virginia, to the Boston Committee of Donations (copy in letterbook volume 2), 22 December 1774, pages 94-95

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The First Continental Congress

Speaking with One Voice
At a Meeting of the Delegates of every Town and District in the County of Suffolk ...
"At a Meeting of the Delegates of every Town and District in the County of Suffolk ..."
Article from page 1 of the Supplement to the Massachusets-Gazette, 15 September 1774

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Bankrupt Britain and Save America
The Association &c.
"The Association &c."
From Extracts from the votes and proceedings of the American Continental Congress: held at Philadelphia on the 5th of September 1774. Published by order of the Congress.
Philadelphia: Printed by William and Thomas Bradford, 1774.

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A Humble Petition
The Petition of Grand American Continental Congress, to the King's Most Excellent Majesty
The Petition of Grand American Continental Congress, to the King's Most Excellent Majesty

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"A System formed to enslave America"
Friday, October 14, 1774. The Congress came into the following Resolutions
"Friday, October 14, 1774. The Congress came into the following Resolutions"
From Extracts from the votes and proceedings of the American Continental Congress: held at Philadelphia on the 5th of September 1774. Published by order of the Congress.
Philadelphia: Printed by William and Thomas Bradford, 1774.

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The Second Continental Congress

General Gage hath actually levied war
In Congress, Friday, June 9, 1775.  Resolved, That no Obedience being due to the Act of Parliament for altering the Charter of the Colony of Massachusetts-Bay ...
In Congress, Friday, June 9, 1775. Resolved, That no Obedience being due to the Act of Parliament for altering the Charter of the Colony of Massachusetts-Bay ...

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Extending an Olive Branch
Philadelphia, Aug. 16. To the King's Most Excellent Majesty.
"Philadelphia, Aug. 16. To the King's Most Excellent Majesty."
Article from page 1 of The New-England Chronicle: or, The Essex Gazette, Volume VIII, Number 370, 24-31 August 1775

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Washington Takes Command of the Continental Army

"The Blood of Your Fellow Subjects"
Prospect Hill. Bunker's Hill.
Prospect Hill. Bunker's Hill.

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Declarations of Independence

A New Nation’s To–Do List
John Adams diary 25, pages 6 and 7, [memorandum of measures to be pursued in Congress]
John Adams diary 25, pages 6 and 7, [memorandum of measures to be pursued in Congress]

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