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The Washington Elm Tradition

Samuel F. Batchelder Cambridge Historical Society Volume 18, Page 26 27 October 1925 The famous Washington Elm, standing in the middle of Garden Street at its junction with Mason Street, was the first of a line of six magnificent elms…

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1775 Almanac: Diary of the Revolution

History Detective Special Investigations A man in Dennis Massachusetts inherited a 1775 Almanac from his grandfather. Judging from notes in the margins, this document is far more than a dusty reference manual. Someone has used it as a diary. The…

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The Beautifully Illustrated Family Records of Revolutionary War Soldiers

Families of Revolutionary War veterans applying for government pensions had to prove their relationship to the soldier in question. Many of them included illustrated family records in their petitions for payment, which are now kept at the National Archives. (Here are a few pages with more examples of this kind of record.)

The range of types of family records shows the diversity of visual traditions in the young United States. The first image below is hand-illustrated and lettered in German. It’s part of the tradition of fraktur, a Pennsylvania German

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Invitation to Revolutionary Reenactors, Interpreters, Sutlers

The American Political Society was established in 1773 in Worcester, Massachusetts, by Col. Timothy Bigelow (1739-1790) as an extension of the Committee of Correspondence. It was a secret society of 71 Worcester Whigs who organized for the purpose of debating "upon ... our rights and liberties" and determining "methods to be pursued" in securing them. The Society held monthly meetings at a public house, usually the inn of Asa Ward (1748-1818), and eventually assumed control of town meetings and instructed the moderator and the representative to the General Court. The organization became a potent means of defeating

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A Final Blow: The Massachusetts Government Act

The Massachusetts Government Act was passed by the Parliament of Great Britain, receiving the royal assent on 20 May 1774. The act effectively abrogated the existing colonial charter of the Province of Massachusetts Bay, and gave its royally-appointed governor wide-ranging powers. The Act is one of the Intolerable Acts (also known as Repressive Acts and Coercive Acts), designed to suppress dissent and restore order in Massachusetts. In the wake of the Boston Tea Party, Parliament launched a legislative offensive against Massachusetts to control its errant behavior. British officials believed that their inability to control Massachusetts was rooted in part in the highly independent nature of its local government.
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