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William Jackson, an Importer; at the Brazen Head

William Jackson, an Importer; at the Brazen Head Broadside
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[ This description is from the project: Coming of the American Revolution ]

In this small handbill, probably distributed in Boston in the winter of 1769-1770, anonymous Boston patriots urge "...that the SONS and DAUGHTERS of LIBERTY, would not buy one thing, of him [William Jackson]." In spite of enormous public pressure, Jackson, a Boston merchant, defied the non-importation agreement that almost all of his fellow merchants had signed in August 1768.

Boycott the Brazen Head!

Despite their earlier failure to garner support for a large-scale non-importation movement, Boston merchants try again in August 1768. They vow not to import any goods from Britain after 1 January 1769. Once again, Bostonians seek out supporters in New York and Philadelphia. This time, however, Boston merchants stand firm and make it clear that they will boycott British goods whether merchants in these ports support them or not (they also threaten to suspend trade with non-participating towns). In late August, New York merchants agree to stop importing British goods after 1 November. Philadelphia merchants reluctantly join the movement in March 1769. Boston patriots, meanwhile, launch a concerted effort to stamp out remaining importers. Violators' names are printed on handbills and in newspapers for all of Boston to see.

Questions to Consider

1. What punishment will befall those consumers who patronize William Jackson's shop?

2. Identify the words on this broadside that appear in CAPITAL letters. Why do you think these words are capitalized?

3. Is this broadside an effective piece of propaganda? Would it keep you from shopping at William Jackson's store? Why or why not?

Further Exploration

4. Locate the site of Jackson's shop, the Brazen Head, on an eighteenth-century map of Boston

5. What does the name of Jackson's shop signify? Make a sign for his shop.