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The role of mobs in colonial society and The American revolution

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When thinking of the American Revolution, most people today think of George Washington's solidarity with the troops at Valley Forge, Thomas Paine's call for liberty and independence and Paul Revere's ride to warn the townspeople of Boston of the incoming British invasion. While these pivotal figures are ingrained in the minds of Americans as being the key players in the colonial cause for independence from Britain, they are not the ones that drove the revolution: they were merely the leadership. The colonial peoples who organized themselves into mobs were the driving force behind the revolution.

[...] If there was a famine or a food shortage, mobs would dissuade merchants from exporting food and would set prices of certain goods to help people could survive the hard times: ?poor people's right to a supply of bread at a fair price was more important than a merchant's right to seek his profit where he might? (71). Such solidarity during difficult times enabled the colonists to effectively respond to the unfair British demands in an organized, riotous manner. There were many things for the people in the colonies to riot about. [...]


[...] Of course the colonists tried to resolve things in the way they had always done: they rioted. To protest the Stamp Act, colonists blocked customs and stamp houses, and even went so far as to burn and vandalize the buildings; to respond to the Tea Act, colonists dressed up in Native American costume and threw East India Company tea overboard any ships that did not heed the warning not to dock at certain port cities. Boston was famous for its party? but New York and other cities rioted in this manner as well. [...]

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