Sarah Beth Gable, Brandeis University
Comment: Donald Johnson, North Dakota State University
This project explores the role of the Committees in Massachusetts communities during the American Revolution, particularly the role they played in punishing community dissent and compelling ideological allegiance to the Revolutionary cause. This chapter highlights these committees' activities in the aftermath of the passage of the Massachusetts Government Act in May 1774 and argues that this period served as a training ground for later reprisals against community members. During this period, Massachusetts saw the most dramatic actions against suspected loyalists – the Committees deployed mobs to suspected loyalists' homes, detained Colonial officials, and drove others out of the towns into Boston. This paper argues that the heightened tension of the moment created an atmosphere of suspicion and conspiracy under which the definition of loyalism began to broaden.
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