"Revolutionary America! 1763-1789 April 20-November 3, 2002

Early Troublemakers:

Sam Adams, John Hancock, John Adams, Paul Revere, Patrick Henry and Ben Franklin
photo of exhibit section
In this photo:
ORIGINAL LETTER to John Hancock, from distributors of East India tea, November 18, 1773. A city committee headed by Hancock had sent an official demand to these merchants to stop selling the tea. This response is the committee's refusal that precipitated the Boston Tea Party.
  On loan from the collection of:
    --Salisbury House Foundation, Des Moines IA
PORTRAIT (Reproduction) of Samuel Adams (top left)
PORTRAIT (reproduction) of John Hancock (top center)
PORTRAIT (reproduction) of John Adams, early 1780s (cutout figure on right)
PORTRAIT (reproduction)of Paul Revere (bottom left)
LAND SURVEY (reproduction) for Patrick Henry for the purchase of land in Kentucky, 1774, and the transfer of the same land in 1780
PORTRAIT (reproduction) of Patrick Henry (cutout figure on left)
PORTRAIT (reproduction) of Benjamin Franklin (bottom right)

Boston Rebels, a Virginia Attorney, and an Ambassador

SAMUEL ADAMS was such an effective political agitator that the Revolution might not have begun without him. Adams organized the underground group called Sons of Liberty, was the most likely instigator of the Boston Tea Party, and spread propaganda through broadsides and pamphlets that called for unified resistance.

After JOHN HANCOCK inherited a fortune in his mid-20s, this elegant dandy nearly single-handedly bankrolled the early protests in Boston. In the late 1760s, he was accused of smuggling and although certainly guilty, his attorney was able to get Hancock relieved of all charges. The lawyer was Sam's cousin, John Adams.

JOHN ADAMS was a brilliant 35-year-old attorney and a passionate defender of individual rights. Some of the evidence that he collected (and concealed) for the successful defense of Boston Massacre soldiers could have led Sam Adams and the Sons of Liberty to be arrested for treason.

PAUL REVERE was a leader of Boston's skilled craftsmen who spied on Redcoat activity. A talented silversmith, printer and engraver, Revere's rebellious view of political events appeared in newspapers, almanacs and broadsides that spread patriotic messages throughout the colonies.

PATRICK HENRY was an attorney from Virginia whose defiant oratory was essential to the early patriotic cause. In 1775 he offered these famous words: "Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!"

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN served as a colonial ambassador to London for nearly 20 years, and considered himself first an Englishman, then an American. Nevertheless, he staunchly defended American rights. Ben Franklin came from Philadelphia where he had published Poor Richard's Almanack, and his shrewd wit and wisdom had made him famous throughout the world through such observations as: "God helps those who help themselves;" "No gains without pains;" and "Nothing in this world is certain but death and taxes."


Territory and Taxes
  Tax Stamp
  Bullets Fired During the Boston Massacre
  Original Tea Leaves From the Boston Tea Party
Early Troublemakers (You are here)
  Broadside, Silver Urn and "Poor Richard's Almanac"


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