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The Sons of Liberty

Today in Masonic History we discuss the Sons of Liberty.

The Sons of Liberty was an organization formed in the years before the American Revolution.

In 1765 the British government, who were unhappy supporting the 10,000 troops stationed in the American colonies, decided to levy a tax. This was called the Stamp Act of 1765. In the act anything printed in the colonies, whether a legal document, playing cards or anything in between, was required by law to be printed on paper created in London and embossed with a revenue stamp. This caused a series of legislative actions in various colonies in opposition, starting in Virginia. The motto for this resistance became "No taxation without Representation." This caused groups to form in all of the colonies who violently opposed the Stamp Act and other levied taxes.

In August of 1765, the Sons of Liberty formed in Boston, Massachusetts. Soon a committee was formed in New York to communicate with other colonies and to coordinate efforts in opposing the taxes. Some of the violence led to tar and featherings. This was meant to injure and humiliate the tax collectors.

On December 16th, 1773 the Sons of Liberty in Boston held their most famous act of rebellion against the tax acts. The Boston Tea Party had the members of the Sons of Liberty climbing on board British merchant ships and dumping taxed tea into Boston harbor. This action led directly to the American Revolution.

The Sons of Liberty in Boston was largely made of Freemasons from the area. Although it was not a Masonic organization and did not have an exclusive masonic membership, many of the leaders of the organization were Freemasons. A masonic legend holds the night of the Boston Tea Party, St. Andrew's Lodge of Boston, which owned the Green Dragon tavern meeting place of both the lodge and the Sons of Liberty, had their regular meeting. In the minutes it allegedly stated the meeting was canceled due to lack of quorum. Presumably all the members were off dumping tea in Boston Harbor.

While most associate the Sons of Liberty with Boston, it wasn't their only chapter. The Sons of Liberty had groups in almost all of the colonies. While Committees of correspondence were used for more formal communication between the colonies, the Sons of liberty leaned more toward action.

Throughout the world, non-masonic organizations like the Sons of Liberty have sprung up during times of revolution in those countries. This includes in the Philippines, Ecuador and Mexico. Despite being non-masonic, many in their ranks are members in the fraternity.

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