Sons of Liberty

The Sons of Liberty was a loosely organized clandestine political organization active in the Thirteen American Colonies founded to advance the rights of the colonists and to fight taxation by the British government. It played a major role in most colonies in battling the Stamp Act in 1765.[1] The group disbanded after the Stamp Act was repealed. However, the name was applied to other local separatist groups during the years preceding the American Revolution.[2]

Sons of Liberty
LeadersSee below
MotivesBefore 1766:
Opposition to the Stamp Act
After 1766:
Independence of the United Colonies from Great Britain
Active regionsProvince of Massachusetts Bay
Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations
Province of New Hampshire
Province of New Jersey
Province of New York
Province of Maryland
Province of Virginia
IdeologyInitial phase:
Rights of Englishmen
"No taxation without representation"
Later phase:
American Independence
Major actionsPublic demonstrations, Direct action, Destruction of Crown goods and property, Boycotts, Tar and feathering, Pamphleteering
Notable attacksGaspee Affair, Boston Tea Party, Attack on John Malcolm
Allies Patriot revolutionaries
Opponents Great Britain
Royal Colonial Governments
A 1765 broadside, regarding the "Sons of Liberty" organizations and their principles

In popular thought, the Sons of Liberty was a formal underground organization with recognized members and leaders. More likely, the name was an underground term for any men resisting new Crown taxes and laws.[3] The well-known label allowed organizers to make or create anonymous summons to a Liberty Tree, "Liberty Pole", or other public meeting-place. Furthermore, a unifying name helped to promote inter-Colonial efforts against Parliament and the Crown's actions. Their motto became "No taxation without representation."[4]