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How the Sons of Liberty Began

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By Samuel Phineas Upham

The Sons of Liberty was a group of American colonists who acted in secret to try and protect the rights of those living on American soil. Their best-known fight was to pick up the torch against taxation by the British, with many contemporary grade school students (and hopefully most adults) quite familiar with the line “no taxation without representation.”

The origins of this secret society can be traced back to the French and Indian War, which was the North American front in the Seven Years War. It was fought primarily between the British and French, but both sides had allies in the Native American groups that were on the ground. Fighting was bloody, and costly, but the Brits had secured New York and had a solid foothold in America.

They had hoped to continue the work of the Dutch, using the rich American land as a vehicle for production and exports, but they needed money. The British levied many taxes against the American colonists, some of which people refused to pay. They felt they had been underrepresented in these matters and were unfairly excluded from the debate, the infamous Stamp Act being of particular concern.

And so the group, made primarily of loosely connected members spread across several East coast states, began circulating letters of disgust with suggestions of unrest. The group began in Boston, Massachusetts, but quickly spread to New York and New Jersey. The Boston Tea Party, in which a group of the Sons of Liberty dressed as natives to toss British tea into the waters of the Boston Harbor, was the group’s most famous act of protect. It also led directly to the creation of the Intolerable Acts.

About the Author: Samuel Phineas Upham is an investor at a family office/ hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phin Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media and Telecom group. You may contact Phin on his LinkedIn.