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The Sons of Liberty was a secret organization of landowners in the 13 American colonies. The society was formed to protect the rights of colonists and to fight taxation by the British government. Their motto was "No taxation without representation." Although others were used, in 1767 the Sons of Liberty adopted a flag called the rebellious stripes flag with 5 red and 4 white vertical stripes.

Meetings were held at a Liberty Tree, Liberty Pole, or other public place. One purpose of meetings was to decide which political canditates to support. Other actions resulted in written agreements by the colonies limiting trade with Britain and imposing a boycott against importation and sale of British goods. They are best known for the Boston Tea Party in 1773 in reaction to new taxes.

Members were mostly middle class citizens. But to add weight to their cause, the Sons of Liberty knew they needed to appeal to the masses that made up the lower classes. In many cases their public meetings turned violent. Though the lower classes often agreed with the ideas presented by the Sons of Liberty, they wanted more action than words and simple shows of numbers. As a result, the property of the gentry, customs officers and other British authorities often fell victim to actions of the mobs.

Notable Sons of Liberty members include:

  • John Adams
  • Samuel Adams
  • Benedict Arnold
  • Timothy Bigelow
  • John Crane
  • Benjamin Edes
  • Christopher Gadsden
  • John Hancock
  • Patrick Henry
  • John Holt
  • John Lamb
  • Alexander McDougall
  • James Otis
  • Charles Wilson Peale
  • Paul Revere
  • Benjamin Rush
  • Isaac Sears
  • Haym Salomon
  • James Swan
  • Isaiah Thomas
  • Charles Thomson
  • Joseph Warren
  • Thomas Young
  • Marinus Willett
  • Oliver Wolcott

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