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Sons of Liberty:
Patriots or Terrorists?
SONS OF LIBERTY, or Sons of something altogether different? I suppose it all depends on a particular individual’s point of view.
“For the American “armchair historian,” this American Revolutionary organization conjures up a myriad of confusing images. But, what of this “secret” organization that played such an integral part in advancing the idea of American independence from Great Britain? What were the Sons of Liberty? Who were its members and how widespread was its support among the thirteen colonies comprising British America? What was the ideology and degree of political affiliation within the organization?
“Shrouded in secrecy, the origins of the Sons of Liberty are in dispute. Some historical sources claim that the movement began in New York City in January 1765. A more popular claim is that the movement began in Boston, Massachusetts through the leadership of one Samuel Adams (a well known American Revolutionary firebrand) in early 1765. It is quite likely that the Boston and New York City chapters of the Sons of Liberty were organized and developed simultaneously.
“It was the Boston Committee of Correspondence that directed the Boston Tea Party action of December 16, 1773.1 Upset with the lack of redress concerning the new tax on tea established by the British government for importation of tea to Boston, a small band of the Boston Committee of Correspondence members (approximately fifty in number) led by Samuel Adams, proceeded to empty three ships worth and 342 chests of tea into Boston Harbor in protest.
“Was this an early terrorist action or a patriotic action. Surely, the answer lies with perspective. If you were a British official, this action was treasonous and punishable by death. If you were an American colonial citizen, this event would be seen as a glorious action of the freedom fighters worthy of praise, pride, and acclaim.
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“The cement of this union
is the heart-blood of every American.”
The patriot says, “I love my country,” works for its good, and defends it if necessary – against enemies within and without. He strives and prays not primarily that God will bless his country, but that his country will bless God. The nationalist, meanwhile, says, “My country is better than yours.” “My country is the greatest there has ever been.” “The greatest nation on God’s green earth.” “They hate my country because it is so good.”
The original American patriots fought the Revolutionary War against a nation (Britain) and its central government, to preserve man’s natural rights. They fought as 13 free and independent states, not as one nation. ~ John J. Dwyer
“One thing is certain about the Sons of Liberty organization: it gave American colonists a voice and vital chance to actively participate in the independence movement.
“Finally, the decision on the Sons of Liberty comes down to a variation on an old saying, “one man’s terrorist is another man’s patriot.” The ultimate conclusion must be left to the individual.”
“I subscribe to a patriotism rooted in ideas that in turn gave birth to a country, but it’s the ideas that I think of when I’m feeling patriotic. I’m a patriotic American because I revere the ideas that motivated the Founders and compelled them, in many instances, to put their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor on the line.
What ideas? Read the Declaration of Independence again. Or, if you’re like most Americans these days, read it for the very first time. It’s all there. All men are created equal. They are endowed not by government but by their Creator with certain unalienable rights. Premier among those rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Government must be limited to protecting the peace and preserving our liberties, and doing so through the consent of the governed. It’s the right of a free people to rid themselves of a government that becomes destructive of those ends, as our Founders did in a supreme act of courage and defiance more than two hundred years ago.
Call it freedom. Call it liberty. Call it whatever you want, but it’s the bedrock on which this nation was founded and from which we stray at our peril. It’s what has defined us as Americans. It’s what almost everyone who has ever lived on this planet has yearned for. It makes life worth living, which means it’s worth fighting and dying for.”