There are many reasons that hundreds of thousands if not millions of Europeans immigrated to the United States after it was discovered and before it became a country; some of which were economic, religious, or political, everyone of those people had a story.
Over 240 years ago a group of merchants hired a cranky, iconoclastic lawyer named James Otis to defend their rights as free-born Englishmen, and in 1761 James Otis stood up in a Boston Mass. courtroom to speak against Writs of Assistance – which were a kind of general search warrant where the bearer could search anyone, anywhere, anytime which lasted for the lifetime of the sovereign (George II died in 1760); he spoke for five hours straight …
He lost the case but …
John Adams was at the trial and this is how he described the speech
“Otis was a flame of fire! … Then and there was the first scene of the first act of opposition to the arbitrary claims of Great Britain. Then and there, the child of independence was born.“
What follows is the story of a few of the people who should be mentioned, but most often are not. This one post can only be a beginning, for the fact that one post can’t be all encompassing, because that would take several blogs and at least 10-15 hours of work. And I’m going to have to skip over the Stamp Act Riots of 1765, mainly because of the time span (10 years). And, I’m taking a lot of this from Ray Raphael’s, First American Revolution: Before Lexington and Concord, and A People’s History of the American Revolution: How Common People Shaped the Fight for Independence. If that sounds familiar, it’s because it should – Howard Zinn was the series editor.
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