tv Boston the Road to Revolution 1770-1775 CSPAN October 27, 2019 11:15am-12:01pm EDT
[captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2019] >> american history tv is on social media. follow us at c-span history. next, historian park ranger and author philip greenwald gives an illustrated talk on boston's role in the origins of the revolutionary war. he organizes his talk around three pivotal events, the 1770 boston massacre, the 1773 boston tea party in the 1775 battles of lexington and concorde. the emerging revolutionary war blog, and the lyceum of alexandria, virginia cohosted the symposium.
>> phil graduated from wheeling jazz with university and is a graduate degree from george mason university. he is currently a supervisory park ranger with the national park service in florida, so with that, let us learn a little bit about why someone would want to burn down boston. [laughter] [applause] i'm a park ranger in the everglades so i did not bring any snakes, so everyone in the first or second row i know that was a big concern, but today's
talk is centered on summit farther north and being a baltimore orioles fan, there are reasons why want to see boston burn. [laughter] >> today is the road to , at theon and boston center of that early colonial british comeo the into existence. i figured i would summit up in three days. thanks for coming, we will take questions. [laughter] >> they are all important dates. the 13 british north american colonies the ledge of the creation of the united states of america. but events did not happen in a vacuum. events like the three mentioned above are integral to the american revolutionary war.
the mere breadcrumbs or should we say the paving stones on the way for revolution. these are the ones that lead up to the breadcrumbs, the calls of the unified people. boston -- let's see if i can do technology. the road to revolution. i figured there was no more iconic photo than showing the liberty trail there. try to get through four of these points, the sons of liberty. the british perspective maybe change your mind a little bit and from words to war. but boston. for is a map of downstairs it had about 15,520 inhabitants with 1670 houses per with less
than 3000 white male 16 or older. that the legal age to serve in the militia. and this photo here you can see what was boston at the time of the revolution and what is if younow, including visit where the british woodland, the reason it is so far in land today. they did not land in the middle of the business district. [laughter] fluctuate in boston obviously. sense we haveal of the city prior to what happens in the 1770's. before we get to that part, we need to go back in time a little bit. obviously this is one of the most famous iconic images. if you put them up in multiple
photos, the first martyr of the revolution there. then you have of course the great symbolic what's amazing amount of literature. we think of today having social media and information at your fingertips. the colonists were great at building pamphlets are communicating or spreading the word, committees of correspondence, the social media facebook platform getting out now. and so you can see the wording see some of the highlighted names there, they match the initials down here on the graves bringing that iconic image out. party, where they dump a bunch of teabags and they float up. cases, public42
americans they respect property. they are only going to break open the casks that hold tea. another iconic image there. the boston tea party on the right and it's a little shaded showing there's that that they should dump t into the harbor. farther, go back even we always ask the question how to the road to the revolution start or where did george washington switch from being a member of the british empire and proud of this to be in a revolutionary. where does one like samuel adams start, it might start as early as 1740 with a land bank crisis in massachusetts. a lot of these people had land, they had resources, their goods to sell but they were not rich in hard currency. this idea popped -- postulated you could maybe use the land as
a form of currency and then you could use this for barter and trade. this was an effort of landowners to use their work products as currency which obviously became a very popular idea. except for the merchants in the top echelons of society who had money and who had access to the coinage and currency. this was a threat to their livelihood and stations in society. furthermore with 5000 supporters thise land bank, obviously caused even more consternation for the members of higher society and the royal elite. so as quickly as letters could race across 3000 miles of open water, back to the british parliament, the proverbial quote unquote kiss of death happened when the supporters were termed considered traders by the parliament. those would invested lost heavily. some lost more than they could bear.
others became impoverished. one of the latter was samuel adams. the father the future revolutionary samuel adams and that was the -- to become one of the most vocal supporters of american independence. with the ruling and even after the elder adams's death. the younger adam still had to defend the seizure by the government. this served as a constant reminder britain's power over the colonies could be exercised an arbitrary and destructive ways. those destructive ways led to another breadcrumb, credited with coining the phrase taxation without representation. he is this gentleman right there. representationt is tyranny was his thing. we usually drop off the last two words and i think if you went across the potomac you would see
taxation without representation on license plates in the district of columbia. but the tyranny is left off. we will leave it there because we won't get into a current political conversation. born in 1725 his family will produce other revolutionaries such as mercy otis warren and amuel otis would become president of the u.s. senate afterwards. the daughter of james on his junior will marry benjamin lincoln and second in command at yorktown. although initially he is resignsd to general, he when the promise did not go to his father, a longtime opponent of the family thomas hutchinson who would become a very staunch loyalist. so he then represented merchants arguing against the legality of the systems and start a lifelong political thinker including writing pamphlets.
if you want to be a revolutionary, write a pamphlet. remembered otis is never one to do service for any 10 years were so important to call this country are those of mr. otis from 1760 to 1770. furthermore in the february of 1761 when he gave a five hour oratory which is not as long as my talk today will be. at the state house in boston, mr. adams remembered otis as saying right then" the child of independence was then and there born. to goman appeared to me away as i did. ready to take against risk of assistance and to promote the cause of colonial independence. unfortunately, otis did suffer from mental illness. some believe it happened prior
to incident at a boston coffeehouse in 1769 but he was struck over the head and would continue to deteriorate. ,e did have moments of lucidity but most of his public life is largely over by the end of the 1770's. he actually passed away suddenly in the doorframe of his house and was quoted earlier in life saying when it was time for him to return to heaven or above, he would go as being struck by lightning and heal most immediately later on seemed like he died being struck by lightning so it's interesting from there. another one of those luminaries is this gentleman. outcent biography just came , he is such an integral part that you can't get through anything in boston leading up almost to the revolution without having his name somewhere in that conversation. whether it is the night of april 18 when william dawes and the other gentlemen paul revere go
out on the night and he sends them. adamsam adams and john are all congress, who is left in boston? mr. warren. who is serving as president of the committee of safety given the major generalship, this gentleman. who writes suffolk resolves which is drafted and submitted by the congress improved almost --, mr. warren. actiont stay out of any and ends up fighting at the battle of bunker oil breed's hill or he meets his untimely death which deprived the nation of one of the great gentlemen not only of medical genius, but a very practical thinker that could move between different echelons of society. felt thatimmensely they actually said warren's death and loss was equal to 500
men equivalent. but a nice tribute their. other gentlemen of course for every big revolutionary you need the guy who can walk the streets , using rabble-rousers to get the people protesting. gentleman that can get the people up in arms, he was considered more of a radical. some believe he was poisoned by diebritish, he would shortly in october of 1774, probably leading organizing part of the boston tea party. he was very popular with the fermentingsses and public resentments as the townsend -- townsend acts. this is one of the talking about samuel adams, he is a gentleman that suffers and would have been
such a great story to bring out but a few years ago the history channel did a documentary, sons ,f liberty and he is only 25 i'm thinking you're missing the point of this gentleman and the true story behind samuel adams. so if you ever watch that, just keep in mind that that samuel adams, not the 25 real gq model in the show. the one guy forgot or did not put up here and i figured he would be later in discussions, the signatures on a small document. i figured future symposiums held here at the lyceum we could talk about john hancock. but on the others of the coin you have gentlemen such as these left andmouth to the of course frederick. as -- sometimes the grammar or
writing did not adhere to certain rules and regulations and so you can see spelled it differently there. , dartmouthemen doesn't quite understand what's going on and he facilitates. madnessves the present of the people there boston is ,ot for answering events interesting character, the battle he decides to defy orders and is basically shunned from society but comes back in and takes over november 1775. course lord north, the prime minister and eventually the war after and then tries to subdue the american colonists. to discussl trying with this guy and growing up you read the first history books, this guy i'm surprise didn't
have horns on his head with how bad of a gentleman he was. doeshen you read more, he as much as anyone can to try to, he is in a situation where if anyone has been a work where the superiors don't know the situation on the ground and you are wondering what's going on in the field and trying to communicate between the two and then you realize they are 3000 miles away and by the time you get a letter to them it will be six months then you have your wife who is an american who might be spied on many have to to send her away and then you have communicating, it's surprising anybody got a good night sleep. but he does have some of the support, isaac bar on the house of commons, general gage was a man of great abilities in that country, which i'm sure he would never do unless at the same time you given the sword in one hand
and the olive branch and the olive branch in the other. i think that kind of sums up his efforts. he's got the sword to try and defy the colonists but also the olive branch. at the same time the colonists are hit with what we would call the coercive acts. now you have to close the port of boston down and you of the quebec act and the quartering act and the next thing you know he is dealing with a lot of unemployed people, we have soldiers in the town, we remove their chance to elect leaders and now if any of the british to get in trouble, we don't have to try them in the colonies, we can send them away. salafi's the everything is peachy in boston. at this time. is that the issue. he's battlingme trying to figure out what to do. he is a limited amount of manpower there. cusp ofso at the
british colonial policy. for years of course they've let the colonies go by themselves. haven't taxed them and now suddenly they need to pay for things like the new war, soldiers on the border, they need to pay off massive debt and incorporate some lands they have gained. so gage is the guy in the right place -- wrong place at the right time being promoted to replace jeffrey amherst and return to england. so he is been there in the colonies for years at a time. a heart makes what is apart now a bold and aggressive parliament after the administration takes over. sodas and his job? exactly. , but in a tough situation as he is doing it he has -- he does try different methods. this is another trying to meet
with the public there. are from theimages new york public library, so if you just insert boston tea party or boston for the revolution, he comes up with different images. i invite you to look through it. the -- itou kind of shows us how we remember from newspapers to painted images to the primary sources. interesting to see how we study one subject. another pc tries to move the british shoulder -- soldiers out. purpose because it does not show the british flag. a northview of the harbor of boston and so at no shot ins -- they have a
anger or violence but it's where some of the troops will be housed to try to get -- trying get them out of boston. commit with the colony. but let's talk about -- we are on the road to revolution and i know there's been a lot of social topics and i know military history is important. this is where the revolution might've started, these are breadcrumbs on the path and one is of course salem, so we will talk about salem without the witch trials and the other one is were some people believe the first shots of the war happened and they happened in new hampshire, which is a very hard word for a baltimore into say. so we are going to go back,
salem is an interesting story. obviously they will submit troops out there in february of sendsnd as he sends, he alexander leslie with the 64th regiment. mark -- and marches to salem with troops. cannons because they will come back up. he was known by his fellow officers is a genteel little man who drinks good claire at. you'd be great to be at happy hour. troops on sunday morning expecting not to be discovered. marks them with coats and hopefully they're not discovered. does that sound familiar once again? and hope they are not seen by anybody. , heoon as the ships landed
beat upon his drum which it previously been agreed upon. , they're trying not to be discovered, probably playing music like yankee doodle not the way to secretly enter into salem. as they approach a small bridge which would've been behind that there, they could hear the church bells ringing loudly and discovered people had already poured a few pints from the bridge. obviously this was repaired and they marched on the public square with fixed bayonets, music and drums beating. expecting to be a victorious army entry. learnsereafter, leslie the location of the canons in the direction of the northbridge. the first term the regulars are coming is heard as he leaves his house, that the
same thing paul revere would say. it's the regulars. the congregation immediately dispersed in a state of great excitement. he wrote to the location of the canon in order to secure them. militia is under timothy pickering and whose manual was another great title. i love titles of 18th-century books because they tell you exactly what is in the book itself. 18th-century america you can judge a book exactly by its cover. this is simply an easy plan for the militia. so it's kind of the spark notes book of the 18th century. what would later be used of course is the kind of army drill book so i take something and make it even harder? the first time we actually used and made something simple.
men from the south side of town rushed to the river and an effort to calm the situation, mr. thomas bernard who had recently been a tory tried to persuade the people but the blacksmith scolded him saying we don't know you in this business. it will be done, lowering the bridge. so now they have a situation. his got to go across the bridge and look for the canons, the bridge is up and now on both was at thisolonel time standing next to colonel leslie and he heard him give his orders to fire on the people, this is coming from a person sympathetic to the cause and he responded, you better be dead than fire. you've no right to fire without orders. if you do, we would all be dead men. apparently the order was not repeated.
salem been enforced, might've been the first bloody .attle of revolution our leslie is a career military man. yes to go across the bridge, that's his order from the superior. leslie says i'm determined to pass over this bridge. if i remain here -- now we have a waiting game. nobody would care for that. they don't want british soldiers staying there at the time. leslie responded i will not be defeated. imagine having to officers basically yell next to each other while british soldiers and militia are just hanging out wondering what the conversation is between these people. he coolly responded you must announce you've already been baffled.
if the kings highway and it would not be prevented from passing over it. another gentleman enters and says it's not the kings highway, it's erodes -- road built by those here. no king or country has any control. it was getting late in the hours. wordide was not low and that leslie might start sending troops up and down, the people of salem commence with whatever they could find. how did the british get across the river. gentleman --ntil a wound, theyfirst would proudly display the wound. i'm not sure how long you can exhibit a small bayonet wound. leave it up to the gentleman to
nurse the wound for the rest of his life. so now you have this big conversation going on, this discussion. now there are negotiations. and so they believe the discussion went something like this. you came all this way to cross a bridge? yes and get the guns. we've hidden them where you can find them. governor iell the found no guns on the site didn't get across the bridge. circumstances, methinks this will suffice. they are having a conversation. thehat happens is that troops would march across the bridge, they would go soma yards behind it. as they did that, the band supposedly played the world turned upside down. -- of the whole day was
nicked by the sword -- the sole casualty was nicked by a small bayonet and probably show that for the rest of his life. it's just like the interjection story. colonies, of three they were not loyalists, ended up somewhere in the carolinas. and then now he is born in three states. so the first shots of the revolution, the first shot supposedly happened in new , william and mary as you see on the plaque behind me. their, talkead about another interesting small engagement that happened, we will look at what happened at
william and mary. later become a major general in u.s. army and lee different campaigns. john sullivan's record tops that as taking defeat from the jaws of victory. mary, new hampshire -- in ham shire. i said it didn't i. 14, over 200 militia will gathering the town under major john sullivan. the british have a garrison of six soldiers. as the men marched towards the port, another 150 will join. now you have at least 350 two 400 men. captain john cochran is in command, you get a chance to
canons before they enter canons before they enter in and as they enter into the fort, of course the british will strike their colors, the americans -- cochran is led and does not take it as surrender. when the flag starts to get lower, and promising to defend and comes rushing at the troops and an altercation ensues, someone pulls out a pistol and a set of pointing it decides to hit them over the head with it. otherwise that would've been the first shot of the revolution. you of the road to the revolution both at salem and in new hampshire, you can walk the can show all the different locations. grassroots movements
in boston, a lot of unemployed workers. the big three major events and the smaller events at the land have the sons of liberty, you of all this going , the firstat happens shots. 19,ngton and concord, april 1775 they will come out, the bridge will come marching on the field. once again some historians andeve canons captured escorted out of town discreetly, obviously that first they think they're going after john hancock lexington,adams in whatever the case is, the british come out and it is an effort from the beginning. we have this myth of the british that they are the best military
in the world, it's kind of like watching the super bowl champs of last year with no players there were on the team. so they are the super bowl champion still, the british had not been a major war for 12 years. that's a long time in the military. another myth we have is the british are well trained. technically you will take the and troops of each regiment some of the british marines and put them together. they are now working with people they don't know or understand, it's like an all-star game, it's fun to watch. now they will come out and furthermore the town and everyone knows what's going on, marching through of course monotony -- it's very eerie.
junior officers upfront, he roads the men take the one , they should've taken the opposite road, somebody fires the first shot. we could sit here till happy hour to talk about was the british and american colonist, someone cleaning a gun down the road, whatever the first shots are fired, the british come marching back after the brett battle -- the battle of northbridge. where as thomas gage would say, that's where the quote comes i wish this place was burned down. out and marched returned on the evening of april 19. probably agree to the general they never set foot in the town would've been cursed.
here, we willd pick this picture out, understanding some of the underlying story. in the road to revolution, especially boston at the epicenter we always pick the highlights. the boston tea party, the boston massacre, lexington and concord. we talked about it a little at the end but it's also all the other steppingstones that built that over time. it's the duties in the 60's. it's the coercive acts, a peopley presence, it's like dr. warren and then it's the adams's and hancox. -- hancock's. the story is still being uncovered.
men like this -- i do want to say i don't want boston to be burnt. [laughter] >> there were a lot of british in 1775 that would've wish they were anywhere else even in the island of the caribbean then what was by the road to revolution and the first major american victory. any questions, comments, concerns. [applause] >> you mentioned this idea that
the colonies had kind of been time afterfor some the war. in the way that the taxes the british want to collect. and that kind of triggers this very negative reaction. >> boston dates back to 1630, jamestown is 1607. years of british not taxing the think the average american colonist has less than was 22%.in britain it so after the french and indian war, something has to happen.
you can't keep taxing the same warse, well a lot of the involved in north america, maybe they should pay for it. and the british are the world power. when you have no one to compete with, now you have this vast also frenchrritory, nationals living in these provinces. and now you have other smaller whatrbances that show bread now has to control. most of the people in great britain aren't exactly represented in the parliament. the difference of agreement of not understanding. arbitrary -- to this boiling
point. >> we heard this morning about tensions with the loyalists in tidewater, virginia. withwas going on in boston regards to loyalists versus patriots and how did that play out? >> bad. fluctuation of loyalists coming towards into boston, easy the tarring and feathering instances. like the coffee house and altercations of british soldiers. you see hutchinson's house is ransacked and writing the history of the colony, a lot of
work is going up in flames. bad as the as burning of norfolk to remove a loyalist, there is a lot of great work being done. does -- who he puts up a lot of primary sources about life in boston. i don't have the exact number ,ut there was a high degree will bring them out of the city and so hutchinson will leave to go to great britain and other --ilies there are families that are split, one historian said after
the revolutionary war that in the exodus of people 18th century, people leaving because of conflict or the change in government, we have refugees leaving countries war torn the 19th and 20th century, that is it for the loyalists, they are now refugees who will settle in the caribbean or canada or somewhere else. a lot of work is moving towards what happens, picking the didn't win. >> philip mentioned something about state of the british people at this time and perhaps i could fill in some gaps, britain wasperiod,
in a democratic vacuum. we had stewards, james the first, charles the first, charles the second, james the second. they believed in absolute right of kings, absolute monarchy. james the second also made the mistake of being a devout catholic and in the end, stewards were kicked out, vacuum. britain looked around and found charles the second's daughter mary married to some foreigner and so we had a very odd monarchy. prince william and mary. in they were invited to come to be the monarch, but not an absolute monarch. they had to sign a contract and the contract was that parliament , they had noeme
choice, they had to sign it. not thatis that it's place of quiet decision-making you see today. [laughter] >> it was a parliament that was filled with people, the 1% elite. people who paid become -- to become members of parliament. ,conomics was the big thing this was the time. money, force was to make it wasn't until the people in the riots of 1846, theing away in parliament transforms itself into a place of democracy. power waseck on the the french revolution, the
police were terrified that the people of britain would rise up in the same way as the french. so all these decisions you see late this morning and afternoon, every time you see lord this and earl that, that's the 1% to have the power. the second thing i will add is britishliar way of the to be disparaging about everybody else. , the startn london at the service station which is 40 miles up, anywhere north of their is somebody to be treated with suspicion. you get further north in scotland, they had the audacity to have a rebellion. the irish are beyond the pale and nobody takes much notice of the welsh. i won't even mention the french.
today, the bbc has in recent years been forced to go to try and take some more respect out of london into the provinces. it's going on still today. whoou of the bunch people are always bleeding for help that they are not paying it that a 3000 miles away. i don't think the british people really wanted to consider british people on the others of the atlantic without much respect, it's a peculiar trait but i'm sure it was there. > great point. thank you. questions? thank you. [applause] >> you are watching american
history tv, 48 hours on american history every weekend on c-span3. follow us on twitter, @cspanh istory. next on lectures in history. pace university professor durahn taylor teaches a class on american cartoons in world war ii and the ways they supported and influenced the war effort. he shows superhero comics that urged kids to do their part by recycling paper and buying savings bonds and stamps. prof. taylor: we are going to look at today the place where the so-called real world comes together with the cartoon and comic world. th