Tag: John Hancock

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The Secrets of Samuel Dyer

As recounted in a previous article, in October 1774 a sailor named Samuel Dyer returned to Boston, accusing high officers of the British army of holding him captive, interrogating him about the Boston Tea Party, and shipping him off to London in irons. Unable to file a lawsuit for damages, Dyer attacked two army officers […]

by J. L. Bell
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The Frankford Advice: “Place Virginia at the Head of Everything”

Since James Thomas Flexner’s 1974 Pulitzer recognition for his biography of George Washington, one of the axioms of the American founding is that the general, George Washington, was the “indispensable man.”[1] The selection, therefore, of Washington as the commander of the Continental Army was undoubtedly among the most critical decisions in the history of the […]

by Richard Gardiner
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“That a General be Appointed to command”

After the events at Lexington and Concord on April 19, it appeared that military force of some sort might be warranted in dealing with Great Britain. There was a mass of militiamen and volunteers outside of Boston but there were many questions about their purpose, organization, and leadership. When George Washington set off for the […]

by Jeff Dacus
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The First Efforts to Limit the African Slave Trade Arise in the American Revolution: Part 1 of 3, The New England Colonies

The American Revolution changed the way Americans viewed one of the world’s great tragedies: the African slave trade. The long march to end the slave trade and then slavery itself had to start somewhere, and a strong argument can be made that it started with the thirteen American colonies gaining independence from Great Britain, then […]

by Christian McBurney
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The Tragedy of Henry Laurens

It wasn’t really their fault, they said. Slavery, men of the founding generation liked to argue, was brought to the colonies by Britain. It came via Barbados and the other sugar islands of the Caribbean. Thomas Jefferson and Henry Laurens both blamed Britain and wished the colonies could free themselves of the practice. It was […]

by Gabriel Neville
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The Declaration of Independence: Did John Hancock Really Say That about his Signature?—and Other Signing Stories

When we picture the Declaration of Independence, most of us immediately think of the document handwritten on parchment and signed at the bottom by fifty-six members of the Second Continental Congress. Few individuals from the first two generations of Americans shared that view, however. The vast majority of those citizens never saw the Congress’s document, […]

by J. L. Bell
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How John Adams Won the Hancock Trial

Historian Oliver Morton Dickerson was studying American colonial newspapers when he noticed identical articles appearing in newspapers in New York, Pennsylvania, Boston, elsewhere in the colonies and in England. It was an anonymous column called A Journal of the Times.   The Journal covered daily events in Boston from September of 1768 through August of 1769 […]

by Neal Nusholtz
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Most Overrated Revolutionary?

John Paul Jones. A good ship captain and tenacious fighter but an abysmally bad squadron commander and a tireless self-promoter and schemer, who was deservedly disliked by subordinates and peers and who certainly does not warrant the title “Father of the United States Navy.” –Dennis M. Conrad   Tough question—most of the characters are forgotten, […]

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