Castle William - · The main fortifications defending Boston from attack,
used by Royal officials for safety during the days of Adams's Sons
of Liberty. During the Stamp Act crisis, the government moved all stamps
and some stamp masters to the fort for safekeeping.
Caucus Club - · A political alliance of Boston tradesmen and artisans
(including Adams) who set the agenda for Boston's annual town meetings and
decided who would receive appointments to town offices. Their candidates
Committees of Correspondence - · Adams organized Committees of Correspondence throughout New
England and made up a system of communication between patriot leaders
in each town and eventually throughout the colonies. Committees
of Correspondence provided the political organization necessary
to unite the colonies against Britain.
Country Party - · The political organization formed by the Adamses as
an early forerunner of the Sons of Liberty.
General Court - · Massachusetts's second-highest governing body. The
General Court was the colonial equivalent of the House of Commons.
Great Awakening - · A Protestant religious revival in the mid-1740s that
saw the rise of evangelicalism throughout the colonies.
Intolerable Acts - · The Intolerable Acts of 1774 were the combination of
the four "Coercive Acts" enacted by Parliament in retaliation for
the 1773 Boston Tea Party. The announcement of the Intolerable Acts
helped spur the convening of the First Continental Congress.
Liberty Tree - · A large elm tree, at the corner of Essex Street and
Orange Street in Boston, that served as the rallying point for
the Sons of Liberty in their protests against the Stamp Act.
Agreement - · An agreement, pushed by Adams in the wake of the Stamp
Act whereby colonies agreed not to import English goods.
Sons of Liberty - · A secret patriotic society organized in Boston by Adams
to oppose the Stamp Act. Other chapters soon followed around the colonies.
The Sons of Liberty served as the primary means of communication
and organization for the patriotic movement before the war. The
Sons of Liberty also served as Adams's enforcers, ensuring adherence
to the nonimportation agreements, harassing Royal appointees, and
participating in the Boston Tea Party.
Stamp Act - · The Stamp Act required colonists to buy special watermarked paper
for newspapers and all legal documents. The Act marked a departure
from Britain's previous policy of not taxing the colonies internally.
Stamp Act Congress - · In response to the Stamp Actrepresentatives of nine
colonial assemblies met in New York City on October 7, 1765. While
the colonies reached only broad agreements, it marked the first intercolonial
Sugar Act - · The Sugar Act lowered the duty on foreign-produced
molasses from six pence per gallon to three pence per gallon. However,
the tax would now be enforced, whereas prior to the act customs officers
largely ignored the duty. The act further stipulated that Americans
could only export many commodities to foreign countries if they
passed through British ports first.
Tory - · A British sympathizer or supporter
Townshend Acts - · The work of Chancellor of the Exchequer Charles Townshend, Parliament
passed the Revenue Act of 1767 on July 2, 1767. It established
taxes on glass, lead, paint, paper, and tea entering the colonies–marking
a departure from earlier taxation schemes that had been primarily
for regulating trade. The Townshend Acts were unmistakably revenue-generating
Adams's cousin and a strong patriot. John Adams worked with his
cousin to organize Boston patriots and wrote most of the Massachusetts Constitution.
He helped negotiate the peace treaty ending the Revolutionary War
and later served as the second president of the United States.
- Royally-appointed governor of Massachusetts in the
early days of Adams's protests. Sided with Thomas Hutchinson early
in his term but was forced out of his post by Adams's men after
the Stamp Act crisis.
friend of Adams's and a strong patriot. Adams and Hancock split
over Adams's reluctant backing of George Washington as army commander. They
later reunited to fight against the adoption of the Constitution.
- Adam's long-time opponent in Boston politics and
one of the strongest Tories in the colony. Hutchinson served as
chief justice of the supreme judicial court, as lieutenant governor
of Massachusetts during the Stamp Act crisis, and finally, as the
royal governor of Massachusetts.
close friend and legislative ally of Adams's. Otis was a strong
patriot, but as the Stamp Act crisis passed, Otis fell out of favor
with the patriots.
governor of Massachusetts. Pownall urged Britain to reconcile with
- Townshend was the Chancellor of the Exchequer under
Prime Minister William Pitt and was best known for his controversial
Townshend Acts, also known as the Revenue Acts of 1767.
Boston Massacre - The Boston Massacre began innocently with boys throwing snowballs
at a British sentry on March 5, 1770. However, thanks to much agitation
by Adams's men in the days prior to the incident, a large crowd
soon formed outside the guardhouse, and more British soldiers reinforced
the sentry. When a British officer tried to disperse the crowd,
he and his men were bombarded with rocks and dared to shoot by
the unruly mob. After being knocked to the ground, one soldier finally
did shoot, and others followed. Five civilians were killed in the
gunfire. All but two of the soldiers were later acquitted of any
Boston Tea Party - In protest of the Tea Act–which would allow Britain to
use the profits from selling tea to pay the salaries of royal governors–Adams
orchestrated a stalemate where several tea ships were stalled in
Boston harbor, unable to offload their tea because of threats by
the Sons of Liberty. However, the ships could not return to England
without paying duty on the shipment. On December 16, 1773, the
night before customs agents were to seize the tea, Adams gathered
Boston residents and warned them of the consequences of the Tea
Act. After the meeting, several hundred Sons of Liberty dressed
as Native Americans boarded the ships and dumped nearly three-hundred
boxes of high-quality tea into the harbor–thereby ending the stalemate
and enraging the British.