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 Protocols of the Declarations and the Eclipse of Royal Power in Massachusetts in 1773

This chapter traces the effects of the two-way communication among the towns of Massachusetts during the winter of 1772-1773. Rather than connecting what was preexistent, communication changed those brought into communication, producing a distributed network of political actors. This chapter shows that this network required more than ideological consensus. Each town’s declaration observed the communication protocols that the Boston declaration had modeled: legal procedure, corporate action, public access, a systematic and general address to the people, which evidenced virtuous initiative. The end of the chapter describes the three events that exposed a tangible decrease in royal power in Massachusetts: the governor’s public debate with the House of Representatives on the momentous question of whether Parliament was sovereign in America; Benjamin Franklin’s leak of embarrassing private letters of Governor Thomas Hutchinson; and the inability of the Governor to prevent the destruction of the East India Tea in Boston harbour on the night of the 16th of December, 1773.


FLASH Animation of the Boston Committee's Correspondence with the Towns of Massashusetts (opens in separate window)
NOTE: Click PLAY botton to begin and to restart after pause.
Henry Pelham 1776 map of Boston Harbor
Did Samuel Adams give the signal for the start of the destruction of the tea?

Boston Harbor in 1776

After the beginning of the seige of Boston, Henry Pelham, the half brother of John Singleton Copley, prepared this map, entitled "A PLAN of BOSTON in New England and its Environs." It not only shows the fortifications that would force the Briitsh evacuation of Boston on March 17, 1776. It also allows a modern student of Boston to visualize several essential features of the eighteenth century geography of Boston. Boston was settled upon a fish-shaped peninsula connected to the mainland by a narrow "neck" (Boston is labeled in the center of this map); it was nested in an extensive harbor that allowed easy access to the Atlantic ocean; it's harbor was scatterd with islands that provided strong defenses against invasion by sea; and finally, Boston lies at the center of towns that were spread in an arc around it (from lower left to upper right): Milton, Dorchester, Roxbury, Brooklin, Cambridge, Medford, and Charlestown. Henry Pelham's map has been described as "This was the best printed plan of the city of Boston and its environs, to date." Here is a scalable version of this map from the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center, at the Boston Public Library.
Pelham Boston Harbor 1776
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