Betsy Ross Flag - Network Design

Protocols of Liberty: Communication, Innovation, and teh American Revolution [Book Banner from Title Page Image] Betsy Ross Flag - Network Design
William Warner [Author Name]
The University of Chicago Press [Publisher Name]
Overview [Link]
Introduction [Link]
Chapter 1 [Link]
Chapter 2 [Link]
Chapter 3 [Link]
Chapter 4 [Link]
Chapter 5 [Link]
Chapter 6 [Link]
Conclusion [Link]

The Complex Five-Part Structure of The Votes and Proceedings of the Town of Boston

LINK: Structure -- The Votes and Proceedings of the Town of Boston -- The Declaration of Independence

There are telling temporal displacements evident in the presentation, by the text of The Votes and Proceedings, of actioins taken by the Boston town meeting. All the complex maneuvering of the town meeting with the Governor are displaced into the Appendix, where they provide documentary evidence of the 'reasonable' attempts of the town to resolve the political crisis with the Governor. Placed at the very beginning of the text are the legally correct formal actions undertaken by the town meeting as a result of the failure of communications with the Governor: first, on 2 November (the appointment of a committee to write a pamphlet to the other towns), and then, on 20 November, a formal reading of that pamphlet. The pamphlet which contains the conceptual content to be communicated --- a statement of rights, a list of grievances, and a letter of correspondence with the other towns -- is placed at the center of The Votes and Proceedings. The embedded "letter" offers the liveliest part of the pamphlet--an informal and highly passionate defense of the need to act decisviely in this dangerous moment for American liberty. The fourth section of The Votes and Proceedings records the last and most consequential action of the town meeting: a legal vote to publish that text and send it to the other towns and districts of the Province of Massachusetts.


2 Nov 1772 Record of the appointment of the Boston committee of Correspondence, with names (p. iii-iv)

20 Nov 1772 Minutes of the meeting: the purpose of the meeting from words of the warrant, the appointment of John Hancock as Moderator, the reading of the pamphlet (v-vi)


The embedded pamphlet (read aloud twice in the 20 November Boston town meeting):
I. The Rights of the Colonists as men, as Christians and as Subjects (2-12);  
II. The List of Infringements and Violations of Rights (13-29);
III. Letter of Correspondence, to the Other Towns (30-35): a ‘cover letter,’ describing the provenance of The Votes and Proceedings; asking that the towns “lay it before” their meeting; and “earnestly” soliciting “a free communication of your sentiments”


20 Nov 1772 Action of the Town Meeting (36): the report is amended and accepted, and a motion is passed to print 600 copies, have each attested by the Clerk, and direct the committee to distribute it to the towns and districts of the Province.

Appendix (36-41) from 28 Oct – 2 Nov 1772

No. I: MESSAGE of the Town of BOSTON to the GOVERNOR

No. II: The GOVERNOR’S   ANSWER to the foregoing MESSAGE

No. III: The Petition of the Town to the GOVERNOR à

No. IV: The GOVERNOR’S ANSWER to the foregoing PETITION

No. V: Town’s unanimous vote that the Governor’s answer is not “satisfactory;” the town asserts their right to petition as well as their right to communicate their sentiments to other towns. Attested to by William Cooper, Town-Clerk

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