Episode 049: The Provinicial Congress of Massachusetts

June 17, 2018
Gen. Gage retreats with his regulars into Boston in the summer of 1774. Patriots take control of all of the rest of Massachusetts. They form their own government, independent of royal authority. The Provincial Congress organizes a militia army, develops minutemen as a rapid reaction force, and names generals, led by Artemas Ward, for its independent army.
 
The Congress also organizes logistics and creates a civilian Committee of Safety to run its military. One of the Committee members, Benjamin Church turns out to be a spy for General Gage, giving Gage an open window into all the Patriot planning and preparation for war.
 

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Episode 048: The First Continental Congress

June 10, 2018
Parliament closed the Port of Boston following the Boston Tea Party. In response, colonial leaders met in Philadelphia in a "Grand Congress." Tories supported the Congress as a way of putting off local talk of boycotts. They hoped emotions would cool after a few months. The Patriots hoped to use the Congress to enact a continent-wide boycott and present a united front in opposition to Parliament.
 
The summer of 1774, brought news of more of London's Coercive Acts. When Congress convened in September, public opinion favored the radicals. Congress issued the Declaration of Rights and Grievances, petitioned the King for repeal of the Coercive Acts, and agreed to a boycott of almost all trade until London met colonial demands.
 
 

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Episode 047: The Suffolk Resolves

June 3, 2018

Gov. Gage decides he does not have a large enough army to control the Massachusetts Bay Colony.  The armed colonists who confronted his regulars in the summer of 1774 are too numerous.  Gage barricades his army in Boston and sends frantic letters to London calling for reinforcements.

With that, royal authority over the colony is limited to Boston itself.  Patriots control everything else.  The Suffolk Meeting under Joseph Warren produces a series of resolves on how to handle the current crisis.  The Resolves essentially announce that the Patriots have taken control of the colony and would only return control to London after repeal of the Coercive Acts.

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Episode 046: The Powder Alarm

May 27, 2018

On September 1, 1774, Gen. Gage sends a regiment to secure gunpowder stored at a powder house several miles from Boston.  The regulars also seize several cannons, returning to Boston with the guns and ammunition.

Rumors spread that the regulars had shot and killed several colonists during the raid.  By the following day, thousands of armed militiamen have gathered outside Boston demanding answers.  The militia eventually go home after learning that no one was killed.  But the event reinforces Gen. Gage's belief that the colonists are ready to start a war at a moment's notice.  The colonists learn they needed a better early warning system to get militia into the field faster.  Both sides continue efforts to secure more arms and ammunition for the coming fight.

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Episode 045: Governing from Salem

May 20, 2018

Governor Gage moves the colonial government to Salem and begins enforcing his policy of firmness, ignoring colonial protests and implementing the Coercive Acts.  When the colonists refuse to obey, he attempts to use regulars to shut down a town meeting Salem.   He arrests several leaders who held an illegal town meeting anyway.  When the militia takes up arms to release those arrested, Gage realizes his soldiers could be overwhelmed by the shear numbers of armed militia.  He is shocked by the colonists' refusal to back down in the face of armed regulars.

Gage decides he cannot enforce the law unless London sends him a larger army.  He retreats to Boston and begins writing letters calling for reinforcements.  Meanwhile, patriots shut down the courts and force government officials to resign.  Royal authority in Massachusetts is limited to the isolated town of Boston.

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Episode 044: Lord Dunmore’s War

May 13, 2018

In late 1774 Governor of Virginia, Lord Dunmore leads militia into Western Virginia.  He hopes to stop local tribes who are attacking colonists.  Tribes are upset that colonists are moving into their lands in violation of the King's Proclamation of 1763.

After the Battle of Point Pleasant, Gov. Dunmore forces Chief Cornstalk to sign the Treaty of Camp Charlotte, giving up all claims to land east of the Ohio River.

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Episode 043: Colonies React to the Coercive Acts

May 6, 2018

Gen. Gage travels to Boston to replace Hutchinson as the new Governor of Massachusetts.  The tough talking Gage had assured officials in London he could use firmness to enforce colonial compliance with the Coercive Acts, most of which were still under debate when he left London.  Gage soon discovers that the threat of force only goads the heavily armed colonsits to threaten force of their own.  Gage soon finds himself behind barricades in Boston, having lost control of the rest of the colony.  The Port of Boston is closed, but other changes mandated by London cannot be enforced outside of Boston.

Over the summer and fall of 1774, Massachusetts and the other colonies only hear more news of intolerable acts passed in London.  Calls for cutting off all trade with England entirely leads to the call for a Continental Congress to discuss colonial options in developing a united response.

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Episode 042: The Coercive Acts

April 29, 2018

In response to the Boston Tea Party, Parliament gets tough by passing several acts designed to punish Massachusetts. The Boston Port Act closes Boston Harbor until the city compensates everyone for damages related to the destruction of tea.  The Government Act gives power to the Crown appointed Governor to fill most government positions and bans town meetings to discuss issues.  The Administration of Justice Acts takes away the colony's right to try soldiers or other officials for murder.  The Quartering Act permits soldiers to take over colonial buildings for their use.  Parliament also passes the Quebec Act, giving Canada control over all disputed lands in the Ohio Valley.

Parliament hopes these laws will show the colonists that they cannot get away with flouting the authority of the King and Parliament.  Colonists must accept Parliament's control or suffer serious economic and political consequences.

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Episode 041: Tea Party Aftermath

April 22, 2018

Despite the open destruction of private property, the colonies generally seem to approve of Boston's reaction to the tea ships.  When another tea ship arrives a few months later, locals dump its chests in Boston Harbor as well.  Other towns up and down the coast destroy or force the removal of tea.  Soon, even drinking untaxed tea becomes unacceptable.  Colonists hold tea burnings and refuse to allow anyone to sell or possess tea. 

The immediate reaction in London is that this is completely unacceptable.  It requires more than a criminal investigation.  Rather, the entire colony needs to be punished.  In a stroke of bad timing, London learns of Franklin's release of private letters to Boston radicals months earlier.  The Privy Council summons him and attacks him relentlessly for hours, destroying his reputation in England.

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Episode 040: The Boston Tea Party

April 15, 2018

Parliament tries to win the fight over tariffs by greatly reducing the cost of tea, and maintaining only a nominal three pence per pound tax on tea.  Officials hope the lower prices will end the tea boycott. Radical colonial leaders see this, correctly, as London's attempt to establish that tariffs on imports to raise revenue are legal.

Patriots are caught off guard as the tea arrives only weeks after they learn about the terms. Officials think they have beaten the protesters. Once the ships enter the harbor, the tax must be paid. Otherwise, customs can seize the tea 20 days. On Dec. 16, 1773, the day before the tax is due, colonists dressed as Indians storm the three ships, break open the crates, and dump the tea into the harbor. A crowd of thousands, along with the British army and navy, stand by and watch.

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