The United states in Congress assembled receive with emotions too affecting for utterance this solemn resignation of the authorities, under which you have led their troops with success through a perilous and a doubtful war.
Called upon by your country to defend its invaded rights you accepted the sacred charge before it had found alliances and whilst it was without funds or a government to support you.
You have conducted the great military contest with wisdom and fortitude, invariably regarding the rights of the civil power through all disasters and changes. You have by the love and confidence of your fellow citizens enabled them to display their martial genius and transmit their fame to posterity. You have persevered till these United States aided by a magnanimous king & nation have been enabled, under a just Providence, to close the war in freedom, safety and independence, on which happy event we sincerely join you in congratulations.
Having defended the standard of liberty in this new world, having taught a lesson useful to those who inflict and to those who feel oppression you retire from the great theatre of action with the blessings of your fellow citizens: But the glory of your virtues will not terminate with your military command: it will continue to animate remotest ages.
We feel with you our obligations to the army in general and will particularly charge ourselves with the interests of those confidential Officers who have attended your person to this affecting moment.
We join you in commanding the interests of our dearest Country to the protection of Almighty God, beseeching Him to dispose the hearts and minds of its citizens to improve the opportunity afforded them of becoming a happy and respectable nation; And for you we address to Him our earnest prayers that a life so beloved may be fostered with all his care—that your days may be happy as they have been illustrious and that He will finally give you that reward, which this World cannot give.
Note: After this chapter you should have a good understanding of the nature and philosophy of Colonial resistance. Begin to think about the process by which “Resistance” transitions into “Revolution”. You should also have an idea of how inter-colonial relationships formed and how compromise and cooperations developed among them a critical understanding when considering national formation and the expectations of the founders about how American leaders would deal with conflict.
Thought / Response Quotes
- “The Sons of Liberty of this place have wrote to Philadelphia,” he informed his father, “that if they do not make Hugh[e]s resign as fully as the other Distributors … [t]hey will disown them and hold no longer Correspondence with them.”
- “our worthy ancestors … having felt the effects of tyranny … fled … to seek shelter beneath the peaceful wing of liberty,” an article in the Boston Evening Post once proclaimed; hence the colonists were “the sons of noble freedom.”
- “to march with the utmost dispatch, at their own proper costs and expense, on the first proper notice (which must be signified to them by at least six of the sons of liberty) with their whole force if required … to the relief of those that shall, are, or may be in danger from the stamp act.”
- “Such a goal required that the Sons continue earlier efforts to restrain the possible violence of extra-legal gatherings. Military discipline could contribute to this end”
- “the greatest inducements to believe, that the Colonies will never more be threaten’d with such a Fetter, as an Act so mischievously calculated to bereave its Inhabitants of their darling Liberty.”
- Describe the development of inter-colonial Stamp Act resistance
- Describe the evolution of the Stamp Act protests from random inceptions to organized resistance.
- What are some examples of rudimentary inter-colonial cooperation?
- In what ways did the Sons of Liberty in 1765 form an ideal type for colonial resistance?
- What is the history behind the label “Sons of Liberty”?
- How did the New York Sons of Liberty play a special part in inter-colonial cooperation?
- In what ways were the personal and familial relationships between the prominent Sons of Liberty significant?
- What are some examples of personal and familial relationships between the prominent Sons of Liberty impacting the course of resistance?
- Why were personal relationships between the Sons of Liberty essential to the development of inter-colonial resistance?
- Compare and Contrast: Alliances between the “noble families” in Britain and Alliances between Colonial merchants
- Describe the purpose and effectiveness of Committees of Correspondence?
- Name several significant leaders of the Sons of Liberty
- How did the end of the Stamp Act crisis impact the Sons of Liberty?
- How did the formation of the Sons of Liberty impact other colonial social institutions?
- Compare and Contrast the reasoning behind resistance to the Stamp Act in different colonies and regions?
- In what ways did the Sons of Liberty attempt to mobilize the “mass body politic” in the colonies and what was their intentions?
- How did the Sons of Liberty use Colonial newspapers to mobilize resistance?
- What was the Sons of Liberty New London agreement and how was it significant in shaping the wider actions of the Son of Liberty in other colonies?
- What were some examples of the Sons of Liberty cooperating and coordinating with established colonial authorities?
- In what ways did the Sons of Liberty act as a “shadow government” when British authorities dissolved Colonial Assemblies?
- How did the Sons of Liberty seek to balance resistance to British authority with loyalty to the British crown?
- What was the Boston Gazette and the Constitutional Courant what role did it play in Colonial resistance and coordination?
- Who were the “Loyal Nine”?
- In what ways did the repeal of the Stamp Act impact the Sons of Liberty, British authorities and the Colonial public?
Articles and Resources
- What were the different motivations that inspired individuals, American and British, to fight and in some cases die in the American Revolution?
- How were individual motivations for joining the fight in the American Revolution similar and different in the War of 1812 and the American Civil War?
- What different circumstances effected the performance of Continentals and militias?
- How did the experience of serving in the Continental Army under Washington create a feeling of nationhood?
- How did the geographic differences in the composition of the Continental Army and militias impact sectional characteristics and feelings?
- Compare the factors that influenced the performance of British soldiers and the Continental Army and British soldiers and the militias?
- In what ways did the “Civil War” the British soldiers experienced compare and contrast to the “Revolution” the American soldiers experienced?
- A classic American Revolution memoir is A Narrative of a Revolutionary Soldier: Some of the Adventures, Dangers, and Sufferings of Joseph Plumb Martin (free on Librivox)
- If you are interested in the experience of British soldiers in the American Revolution, consider Tories: Fighting for the King in America’s First Civil War by Thomas B. Allen and British Soldiers, American War: Voices of the American Revolution by Don N. Hagist
Chapter Thought and Response Quotes
- “Why did those men—those who survived and those who died—fight? Why did they hold their ground, endure the strain of battle, with men dying about them and danger to themselves so obvious?”
- “We need to know why these men fought and why the American regulars performed better than the militia.”
- “The activity of a commander in chief does not at all resemble the activity we imagine to ourselves when we sit at ease in our studies examining some campaign on the map, with a certain number of troops on this and that side in a certain known locality, and begin our plans from a given moment. A commander in chief is never dealing with the beginning of any event—the position from which we always contemplate it. The commander in chief is always in the midst of a series of shifting events and so he never can at any moment consider the whole import of an event that is occurring.”
- “The Continentals occupied the psychological and moral ground somewhere between the militia and the British professionals.”
Optional Supplemental Reading
Continue Reading American Heritage History of the American Revolution by Bruce Lancaster
- Who were the Green Mountain Boys and Ethan Allen?
- What were the opening steps in the forming of the American Continental Army?
- Describe the events surrounding the Battle of Ticonderoga.
- Describe the geography around Bunker Hill
- How did the events surrounding the battles around Bunker Hill unfold?
- What was the name of and circumstances surrounding the first well known American Colonial leader to die in the American Revolution?
- Describe the circumstances surrounding the Second Continental Congress?
- How were the First and Second Continental Congresses different in character?
- What was the Second Continental Congress’ response to the New York Petition?
- How did issues relating to transportation and communication effect the opening phases of the American Revolution? (Always ask how transportation and communication effected an event).
- How was British Canada involved in the early phases of the American Revolution?
- Describe the early life and experiences of George Washington
- What is the origin and meaning of the phrase “The Glorious Cause”?
Optional Supplemental Reading
Continue Reading As If an Enemy’s Country: The British Occupation of Boston and the Origins of Revolution by Richard Archer
We’ll be reading a great deal about John Adams Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. It is a great idea to read their letters to get an idea of their personality as you read their history. In a way, this is the most significant chapter in this book.
- What was the Tea Act of 1773 and how was it a paradox?
- Why did the Tea Act of 1773 evoke a strong response from the colonies?
- How was the response to the Tea Act different in the different colonies?
- What were the events that led up to the Boston Tea Party and how was the Boston Committee of Correspondence involved?
- What is the significant quote from Samuel Adams at the start of the Tea Party?
- In what ways did slow communications effect relations between America and Britain?
- What was the purpose of the “Intolerable Acts”?
- What is meant by “the supremacy of Parliament and King”?
- What was the Boston Port Act and the other Intolerable Acts?
- What were the terms of the Massachusetts Government Act?
- How did Boston and the other colonies react to the Intolerable Acts?
- What was the background to the calling of the First Continental Congress and why was it significant?
- Describe the early life of John Adams and his convictions and principles and how his Puritan roots effected him.
- Who were some of the significant individuals involved in the First Continental Congress and how did factions begin to emerge?
- What was significant about the First Continental Congress?
- How did the pens of Massachusetts compliment the oratory of Virginia?
- What were the issues surrounding the debate over non-importation, non-consumption and non-exportation?
- Something to keep in the back of your head: As you compare the First and Second Continental Congresses, which is comparatively more significant and which is comparatively more consequential?
Optional Supplemental Reading
- The Tea Act of 1773
- Association of the Sons of Liberty in New York; December 15, 1773
- Collection of Primary Source Documents related to the Boston Tea Party
- View the Boston Gazette Online Archive (1765-1777) Massachusetts Historical Society
- View the Boston Evening Post Online Archive (1765-1777) Massachusetts Historical Society
- Samuel Adams The Rights of the Colonists (1772) with Benjamin Franklin Introduction
- The Boston Port Act : March 31, 1774
- The Massachusetts Government Act; May 20, 1774
- The Administration of Justice Act; May 20, 1774
- The Quebec Act: October 7, 1774
- The Quartering Act; June 2, 1774
- On this latter motion a warm and interesting debate arose, in which Mr. Edmund Burke spoke as follows.
- James Wilson, Considerations on the Authority of Parliament (Collected Works of James Wilson, vol. 1)
- James Wilson, Collected Works of James Wilson, vol. 2
- Thomas Jefferson: A Summary View of the Rights of British America
- Declaration and Resolves on Colonial rights of the First Continental Congress
- Proceedings of Farmington, Connecticut, on the Boston Port Act; May 19
- Letter from the New York Committee of Fifty-One to the Boston Committee of Correspondence; May 23
- Proceedings of the Inhabitants of Philadelphia; June 18
- The Association of the Virginia Convention; August 1-6
- Galloway’s Plan Journals of the Continental Congress
- The Suffolk Resolves