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]

Boston Port Bill as the Trigger of Revolution

LINK: Economics -- The Boston Port Bill and Bringing Economic Death -- America's Imports from and Exports to Britain

After the destruction of the tea in Boston Harbor on the 16th of December 1773, American Whigs held their collective breath. Early reports from London sent by Americans like Benjamin Franklin and Arthur Lee detected a new tone in British political leadership: anger, determination, and secrecy. But nothing in the back-channel reports from London or the newspapers prepared American Whigs for the astounding news that arrived from England in the first weeks of May, 1774. On the 31st of March, 1773, after a unanimous vote in a closed session of Parliament, the King had signed the Boston Port Bill (see on right). The bill provided for the punitive closing of Boston harbor to all trade and the movement of British government (the Governor. the Council, the House and the Commissioners of the Custom) to another port town in Massachusetts (Salem was chosen). A large naval force and several regiments of British troops were dispatched with the new Governor, Thomas Gage, so that he could immediately assume authority and prepare for the enforcment of this law starting June 1, 1774. The only way Boston could avoid a punishment that assured its economic death was by providing full financial restitution for the destroyed tea. American Whigs were surprised by the decisiveness, severity, and legal finality of this bill; but the real shock came from the way it paired overwhelming military force with law so as to demonstrate the comprehensive sovereignty that of Parliament claimed over the American colonies.

Here is the way Richard Henry Lee, one of the leaders of the Virginia Whigs, described his response to the news of the Port Bill to his brother, Arthur Lee, who resided in London:

"We had been sitting in Assembly near three weeks, when a quick arrival from London brought us the Tyrannic Boston Port Bill, no shock of Electricity could more suddenly and universally move—Astonishment, indignation, and concern seized on all. The shallow Ministerial device was seen thro instantly, and every one declared it the commencement of a most wicked System for destroying the liberty of America, and that it demanded a firm and determined union of all the Colonies to repel the common danger." -- Richard Henry Lee to Arthur Lee, June 26, 1774

The Boston Port Bill, and the other Coercisve Acts that were passed in the weeks to follow, did more than any American Whig had been able to do so far to produce "a firm and determined union of all the Colonies."

Port Bill
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