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]


Communication and the American Crisis

This introduction describes the pivotal role of communication within the political crisis that culminated in Revolution. On the day after the Boston Massacre, the Boston town meeting used certain techniques to compel the royal governor to remove troops from the town: an emergency town meeting, a resolve or "vote" of the town that was delivered by a committee, expresses to nearby towns that precipitated a mass mobilization, and, in subsequent days, an elaborate machinery of publicity. On that day, Britain’s project of imperial reform, which had been carefully developed by the ministry and Parliament after 1763, confronted the constituents of Boston’s independent economic and political power, as it had developed since first settlement. Instead of telling the Revolution through founders, ‘the people,’ or the history of ideas, this book understands the Revolution as mediated by a new associational practice (the committees of correspondence), a new genre (the popular declarations), a communication infrastructure (the newspaper distributed by post) that was open and public, and the protocols that regulate each of these. This account allows us to grasp the Revolution as an event in the history of communication.


The Vortex of the Revolution -- An Animation

LINK: Boston Committee's Correspondence with the Towns of Massachusett -- An Animation
"The Bloody Massacre" by Paul Revere

The Bloody Massacre, Paul Revere

This is the most famous of the group of images Revere printed in response to what came to be called the Boston Massacre. It was apparently copied from a drawing by Henry Pelham, the half brother of John Singleton Copley, and was hand colored by Christian Remick, who cleverly uses the color red to link soldiers and victims. Much discussion of this print, published on the 26th of March 1770, has focused on its character as ‘propaganda’: the composition emphasizes the intentional firing by the troops and transforms the mostly young victims, apprentices and sailors, into Boston gentlemen, full grown men with hats and waistcoats and stockings. But this metamorphosis coincides with the sense of the town meeting of March 6th and its coverage in the The Boston Gazette, which complains of "the blood of our fellow citizens flowing like water through King Street." (BG, 12 March 1770) The poem appended to Revere's print emphasizes that Whig protest in the wake of the Massacre depended upon the town meeting's enthusiastic adoption of the not entirely respectable apprentices and seamen who started the trouble on King Street: "Unhappy Boston! see they Sons deplore,/ Thy hallow'd Walks besmear'd with guitless Gore."
The Bloody Massacre by Paul Revere
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