Skip to comments.First American Revolution - The Worcester Revolution of 1774
Posted on 07/04/2010 8:25:52 PM PDT by smokingfrog
The American Revolution did not start on the morning of April 19, 1775. When the British fired upon a small group of hastily assembled patriots on the Lexington Green, they were attempting to regain control of a colony they had already lost. The real Revolution, the transfer of political authority to the American patriots, occurred more than half a year before, when thousands upon thousands of farmers and artisans deposed every Crown-appointed official in Massachusetts outside of Boston.
During the late summer of 1774, each time a court was slated to meet under British authority in some Massachusetts town, great numbers of angry citizens made sure it did not. These patriots were furious because they had just been disenfranchised by the Massachusetts Government Act. Having lost control of the governmental apparatus, and in particular of the courts, they feared that arbitrary rulers might soon seize their tools, their livestock, or even their farms.
Worcester was at the center of this massive uprising. It was the patriots of Worcester who first called for a meeting of several counties to coordinate the resistance. It was at Worcester, on September 6, 1774, that the British conceded control of the countryside. For the preceding month, General Thomas Gage had proclaimed he would hold the line at Worcester by sending troops to protect the court, but on the appointed day he backed down. When British troops failed to show, 4,722 militiamen from 37 towns in Worcester County lined both sides of Main Street and forced every official and every prominent Tory in town to resign or recant thirty times over, hats in hand, as they made their way through the gauntlet from Heywood¹s Tavern (at Exchange Street) to the County Court House. (This was by far the greatest assembly of people ever to convene in the town of Worcester, which had fewer than 250 voters. Some towns, having armed and trained for a month, sent virtually every adult male.) Shortly thereafter, the town of Worcester was the first to urge that a new government be formed "as from the Ashes of the Phenix."
Through it all, the revolutionaries engaged in a participatory democracy so thorough it is difficult for us to fathom today. At every turn, all decisions were made by the full body of the people. No action could be taken without running the matter through the entire rank-and-file.
According to the Random House Dictionary, a "revolution" is "a forcible overthrow of an established government or political system by the people governed." There can be no doubt that the people of Worcester County staged a full-scale revolution, long before Lexington and Concord. This Revolution has been obscured for many reasons: it was bloodless, it had no famous leaders, it was basically middle-class, it was far from the media center in Boston, it has been overwhelmed by the repeated telling of Paul Revere¹s ride. But we should not be misled: the patriots of 1774 staged a very potent Revolution precisely because they were nameless yet ubiquitous, aggressive yet bloodless. The staggering power of "the body of the people" precluded serious resistance. Local Tories, overwhelmingly outnumbered, had no choice but to acquiesce. Officers of the British army looked on helplessly, not knowing where, when, or how to deal with an uprising of such breadth and magnitude. All British troops withdrew to Boston, and General Gage reported back to London that "the flames of sedition" had "spread universally throughout the country, beyond conception." For seven months the patriots reigned supreme in rural Massachusetts, unchallenged until the counter-revolution of April 19, 1775.
Thanks for posting this!
That is very interesting, thanks for posting.
Plenty of Scottish Americans around Worcester. I bet they were in the middle of it.
I heard the author on the radio this morning and found it very interesting as well.
Woodrow Wilson Fellow
Masters in Political Philosophy from Cal Berkeley
"Ray Raphael, born in 1943 and raised in New York City, headed west the day after graduating Fieldston high school. During the 1960s he was active in the civil rights movement, spending two summers in the South and working on community organization in the North. In the 1970s he homesteaded in the hills of Northwest California, where he and his wife Marie raised their two sons, Nick and Neil. He taught a comprehensive one-room high school in his remote home as well as evening courses at the local community college, and he began writing about local history and contemporary issues. "
He's a Commie. Caveat emptor.
This scene could easily be repeated today in Washington DC (albeit with millions more patriots), should the people be sparked to do so. The result would also be the same. The government would concede and stand down on that very day.
“These patriots were furious because they had just been disenfranchised by the Massachusetts Government Act. Having lost control of the governmental apparatus, AND IN PARTICULAR OF THE COURTS(all caps mine), they feared that arbitrary rulers might soon seize their tools, their livestock, or even their farms. “
Hmmm. Agreed. History should repeat itself.
My only question is, how did the N.E. get so screwed up when they were the ones fighting for our freedom from the beginning?
We're only *this* far away from it doing so again. I keep wondering how long that dry prairie grass will hold out against the heat of tyranny.
I don't think there's any mystery to that. The wicked are naturally attracted to the seat of power in any country.
Academia, business, government, media - all have their core base in the Northeast.
I always wondered about that myself. Especially when they have all that history around to remind them.
Well...I lived in Worcester for many years and never guessed that “Wormtown” had such a great past. It’s hard to imagine, given what the city is NOW...
From Drudge this morning - God has given us a short respite until we get back to our roots - the Roberts Court.
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