Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution - Bill of Rights

"A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

Preservation and Proposition

Our mission is to document the pivotal Second Amendment events that occurred in Frontier Mercersburg, and its environs, and to heighten awareness of the importance of these events in the founding of our Nation.

We are dedicated to the preservation of the place where the Second Amendment was "born" and to the proposition that the Second Amendment (the "right to bear arms") is the keystone of our Liberty and the Republic.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Sons of the Revolution -- Liberty Poles

Liberty Poles
by JW Ross

As the colonists grew weary of the increasing efforts by the Crown to forcefully quell their independence, groups like the Sons of Liberty (sometimes later called Sons of the Revolution) began meeting in town squares in open definace of British authorities.

An organization started by Samuel Adams in 1765 to protest British taxes, their membership grew rapidly in the colonies. The gatherings were often held under a large tree, which were present in most village greens, and these came to be known as "Liberty Trees". However, in towns that lacked a tree big enough, the patriots would erect a tall pole (sometimes over 100 feet high) instead, as a symbol of a Liberty Tree, which naturally, was then called a "Liberty Pole".

Atop the pole flew a "Liberty Flag" which consisted of nine alternating vertical stripes of red and white --these stripes represented the nine protesting colonies that participated in the Stamp Act Congress of 1765. The nine colonies represented are: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and South Carolina.

The pole served as a central meeting place for townsfolk, and also served as a symbol of resistance to the British. As their opposition and open meetings became problematic for local authorities, the Sons of Liberty were forced underground and began creating acts of defiance.

These acts of defiance often consisted of erecting a pole, which the British would subsequently chop down. This symbolic exercise continued back and forth until Aug. 11, 1776, when things finally turned violent. British soldiers, angry with the colonists for not complying with the Quartering Act, attacked the pole and cut it down (The Quartering Act required colonists to house British soldiers in their private homes, which later led to the writing of the 3rd Amendment to the Constitution). Upon hearing of this, two to three thousand unhappy patriots rallied at the Commons, and British troops arrived to disperse them. The patriots started throwing pieces of brick at the British, which responded with a bayonet attack, wounding several Americans.

Liberty poles became a focal point for colonist's anger . . .In protest of British taxes, some stamp tax agents were tarred and feathered, and in at least one case, a tax agent was strung-up by the seat of his pants from a Liberty Pole. In Savannah, Georgia, in open defiance of British authority, British cannons assembled for the King's birthday were spiked and rolled into the river, a Liberty Pole erected, and a British sailor tarred, feathered and forced to kiss the pole.

The "Liberty Pole" was a durable symbol of the people's resolve to be free, and consequently, could be found throughout the United States long after the revolution was over.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the continued support. . .and interest. The Bill of Rights is underattack.