Preserving Our Freedoms
by Chris “Kit” Alexander
March 26, 3014
The following article is taken from my book, Two Truths Two Justices, published in July of 2010. This article can be found on pages 143-150, Chapter 21.
This United States of America was founded on principles that have endured through centuries. The opportunity and freedom that is given through our form of government has never been under assault like it is today.
Reaching back in history there was an assault on these principles as excessive taxes by a government out of control leading to tyranny. They reached their tipping point in 1773, because of the abuses by King George III.
The abuses that we experience today threaten our very existence. Not only economically, but the very existence of our Constitutional way of life !
Assaults we have witnessed by this administration are numerous. The question is, are we at the tipping point, as yet ? If so, something has to be done to protect citizens’ from these abuses. The American Spirit needs to take back our government and country. It would be the same spirit that existed with the Sons of Liberty.
This group ended the Stamp Act which the British government was forced to repeal and was responsible, in part, for our country’s independence. The efforts of Samuel Adams, William Wiley, Isaac Sears along with Marinus Willet, and John Lamb, in New York City, revived the Sons of Liberty, as they met over Benjamin Edes’s print shop. The other members followed in the effort to maintain freedom against an out of control government.
Egbert Benson, Abraham Brasher, John Hobart, Edward Laight, John Lamb, Leonard Lispenard, Francis Lewis, William Livingston, Thomas Robinson, Charles Nicoll, Daniel Phoenix, John M. Scott, John Thurman, Jr., Thomas Young and Jacobus Van Landt were members of the group. The occupations of the men initiating the group were varied and considered leaders in their sphere of influence. Eleven were merchants, four were lawyers, one a physician, one a wealthy landowner and one a writer. It was evident that the upper portion of society were members, but that had to change to broaden the political spectrum to obtain more results. Other distinguished members were, Patrick Henry, Thomas Paine, John Hancock, John Adams, Charles Thomson, Haym Solomon, Thomas Young, Joseph Warren, Silas Downer, Gershom Mott, Thomas Robinson, and Thomas Crafts, Jr.
Samuel Adams was from Boston, Massachusetts and at the age of 14, he entered Harvard, ranking sixth in his class. His election to Massachusetts Legislature marked a time when the Stamp Act came into being. Samuel Adams needed to turn this around and that is when he formed the Sons of Liberty. The group was organized in Boston and influenced by James Otis, an aggressive freedom loving attorney. Adams and John Hancock were traveling to Philadelphia for the Continental Congress. They stayed at Lexington at John Hancock’s aunts home when Paul Revere, a Boston Son of Liberty, rode up to the house sometime after midnight alerting the two Patriots that British troops were on the way to arrest them for treason. As they looked out over the grounds the Revolution started when they heard a rifle shot as the British approached.
William Wiley lived in New York and was appointed to the Committee of Correspondence for the Sons of Liberty. The Committee’s responsibility was to organize, coordinate, and communicate all information to each chapter in the various colonies. New York was considered the crossroads to all of the colonies.
James Otis was from Barnstable, Massachusettes and became an attorney that resented any infringement on freedoms. Educated at Harvard, he fostered the motivation in Samuel Adams to form the Sons of Liberty. The phrase “Taxation without representation is tyranny” are his words. He was killed at 58 years of age when he was struck by lighting.
Isaac Sears was born in West Brewster, Massachusetts and moved to Norwalk, Connecticut. At 16 years of age he went to sea learning his trade that would be beneficial at a later time. Sears was a leader of the Sons of Liberty organizing the first resistance to tea. He gained a political following and popular support for his efforts.
Marinus Willet, a native of Long Island, New York was an American soldier and politician that was one of the truly outstanding leaders in the fight for freedom and independence. He was able to stop the British from taking weapons away from the city. He proved to be an adept fighter due to his military background, something the Sons of Liberty wee able to call on at various times. He lived to be 90 years of age.
John Lamb was from New York City. His profession was that of a soldier and politician, although his formal training was that of an optician and instrument maker in New York City. His career path lead him in a different direction as he became a very successful wine merchant. In the military he was a Brigadier General that commanded the artillery at West Point. His contribution to the Sons of Liberty was that of a fierce fighter that worked tirelessly to promote the cause of freedom. He died at the age of 65 in poverty.
Patrick Henry was from Virginia and became a lawyer after failing in business as a farmer. His contribution to the Sons of Liberty entailed a strong leadership embodied in the American principles when he gave his speech and said, “Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery ? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!” He served as the governor of Virginia for five terms after the Revolution. He lived 63 years.
Thomas Paine was of English heritage, but immigrated to the colonies to fight in the revolution with his words, authored in the Common Sense Pamphlets and other writings. He believed in fairness as it related to jurisprudence which is referred to as a natural justice. He lived to be 72 years of age.
Charles Thomson born in England and came to America and was cared for by a blacksmith in New Castle, Delaware. He was educated in New London, Pennsylvania becoming a teacher, tutoring in Latin at the Philadelphia Academy. He was also the founder of the American Philosophical Society. When the Stamp Act came about Thomson became a leader of Philadelphia’s Sons of Liberty. His beliefs are evident in all of his actions such as becoming secretary of the Continental Congress, conducted foreign affairs, and designing the Great Seal for the federal government.
Charles Thomson was a true patriot in every sense of the word. He lived to be 95 years.
Haym Solomon was from Poland and of Jewish ancestry. In New York as a financial broker for merchants engaged in overseas trade, he found reason to join the New York sons of Liberty. His contribution was extensive by being a spy he helped prisoners of the British escape and encouraged the Hessians to desert the war effort after his capture. He moved with his family to Philadelphia where he served the group by raising most of the money needed to finance the American Revolution. It was through his patriotism and skill in finance that gave the group and the country the financial power to achieve independence. He lived 45 years and died of some illness.
Thomas Young of Scots-Irish heritage was motivated to join the Sons of Liberty because of the Stamp Act. He was a physician that moved to Boston, Massachusetts, a center for American patriots such as John Adams, Samuel Adams, Dr. Joseph Warren, and others. In Boston, Young became a prominent physician, a leader in public affairs, and a member of the Sons of Liberty. He wrote articles that were political in nature for magazines and newspapers. Young was appointed to a Committee of Correspondence that solidified his work with the group. His skill as a surgeon created an appointment for him at the Continental Hospital in Philadelphia. He contracted yellow fever and died, his life ended after 67 years.
Joseph Warren was from Roxbury, Massachusetts. Warren pursued medical studies at Harvard later becoming a teacher and then a doctor. He practiced medicine in Boston and became an active member of the Sons of Liberty, promoting resistance to the British, and attained the highest position in the revolutionary government. At the Battle of Bunker Hill he lost his life at the age of 34 years.
Silas Downer from Rhode Island was at the dedication of a Tree of Liberty ceremony. Silas explained the meaning of liberty and the significance of that meeting place. His dedication speech was stated, “We do therefore, in the name and behalf of all the true SONS of LIBERTY in America, Great Britain, Corsica, Ireland or wheresoever they are dispersed throughout the world, dedicate and solemnly devote this tree to be a TREE of LIBERTY.—-May all our councils and deliberations under its venerable branches be guided by wisdome, and directed to the support and maintenance of that liberty, which our forefathers sought out and found under trees, and in the wilderness. May it long flourish, and may the SONS of LIBERTY often repair hither, to confirm and strengthen each other. When they look towards the sacred ELM, may they be penetrated with a sense of duty to themselves their country, and their posterity— And may they, like the house of David, grow stronger and stronger, while their enemies, like the house of Saul, grow weaker and weaker. AMEN”
Gershom Mott, born in Middletown, New Jersey and moved to New York City to become a tradesman. This move aided him in meeting John Lamb and the two became patriot leaders, forming the Sons of Liberty in New York City and fighting against the Stamp Act. Mott served in the military as a artillery commander. He died at the age of 43.
Thomas Craft, Jr. was from Boston, Masssachusetts. He was a Son of Liberty member that served in the military as a Colonel in the artillery unit where Paul Revere served. He resisted the Stamp Act by driving out the distributors and was also a participant in the Boston Tea Party. He lived for 59 years.
Paul Revere originated from Boston, Massachusetts. He was a veteran of the French and Indian War, and went into his father’s silversmith business. Shortly after that Paul Revere and William Dawes went out to warn the citizens’ of the British invasion. Paul Revere lived to be 83 years old.
William Dawes was born in Portsmouth, Hampshire, he was an officer of the Royal Marines, an astronomer, engineer, botanist, surveyor, explorer, abolitionist, and colonial administrator. He accompanied Revere on the ride to cover more territory in a quicker time period. Dawes rode from Boston to Lexington, warning the countryside of the British advance. He was to meet Paul Revere at Lexington, along with Samuel Prescott. On the way to Concord, a British patrol surprised them and captured Revere. Dawes got away , but could not make it to Concord. Prescott was the only one to achieve his objective, however he was captured later and died in prison at the age of 26.
Samuel Prescott was from Concord, Massachusetts and had a brother Benjamin Prescott. Samuel was a surgeon that aided the revolution by his skills as a doctor. Other riders were many in number that night of the ride, fanning out through the countryside to warn the Minutemen. This all preceded the battle that ensued to start the war at Lexington Green.
Benjamin Franklin added greatly to the cause by being an author, printer, satirist, politician, scientist, inventor, civic activist, statesman, soldier, and diplomat. The idea of upholding the foundation to the roots of American values and character was the main aspect that brought Franklin and the others together to form the Sons of Liberty. Franklin was the main person to start the formal resistance to the Stamp Act that the group soon defeated.
Benjamin and Thomas Edes were brothers in the organization that owned a newspaper enabling them along with John Gill to promote public sentiment for the cause of freedom. The Boston Gazette was the name of their paper that financed the Boston Tea Party. They escaped the loyalists by moving to Watertown, Massachusetts.
Joseph Allicoke led a Committee of the Sons and boarded a British Man-O-War in New York Harbor and demanded that the Captain surrender a British officer who had made derogatory remarks about the colonists.
Alexander McDougall was a Scotchman, who attained the rank of Major General in the Continental Army. His passion for freedom was displayed in the Sons of Liberty when he said, “that I am the first to suffer for liberty since the commencement of our glorious struggle.” This statement was in light of his trial for creating a handbill that was viewed by the British as libel. The conviction that McDougall possessed carried great weight with the common people and gave them a voice through him. McDougall was the first President of the Bank of New York. He died at 55 years of age.
Isaac Barré, born in Ireland and educated at Trinity College, in Dublin. Although British he condemned the taxing and repression of the American colonists. Barre entered the Parliament and fought vigorously against taxing the colonies. This was due to the lack of fairness he saw in taxation of the colonies. The other part was probably due to the friendships he had with the mercantile trade in America. He is the one that coined their namesake, Sons of Liberty, in one of his speeches. Later in life he went blind and retired from office. He lived for 76 years.
The Sons of Liberty gained the support of people that didn’t want to loose their freedoms. The support was so large that they abandoned some of their secrecy and made public their intentions. They even went so far as to publish in the newspapers the time, place and agendas of their meetings! This openness grew to other towns and cities to establish their own organizations working for freedom much like the Tea Parties of today. A resolution was published stating, “Privileges of every free born Englishman of being taxed by none, but by representatives of his own choosing, of being tried by none, but his fellows in a jury.” Thomas Jefferson stated this and he also said, ” A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have.”
King George placed ad valorem taxes on the colonists in multiple areas. These taxes were a value add tax. First the tea tax and then the Stamp Act, imposing a tax on every piece of paper the citizens’ used. This tax even extended to playing cards. King George tried to circumvent the legislative branches in each state through these tax devises.
To date Obama wants to create a value add tax separate from Cap and Trade, healthcare, carbon tax, and the global tax. This doesn’t include the raise in the federal income tax that he instituted. Like King George he wants all rights to be in the hands of federal dictate and not the states. This was proven by the bill he tried to put through legislation of taking all state rights away when he was a Senator. His desire was to abolish the 10th Amendment. The same problems that plagued the colonists, now are plaguing us in the form of Obama and his administration, only to a greater degree. Never has the United States of America been under greater threat, leading to a path of destruction !