Although patriotic in their intentions, the Sons of Liberty were terrorists by definition. According to dictionary.com, a terrorist is a person who uses or advocates the use of violence or threats to intimidate for a political purpose. For the Sons of Liberty, violence such as tar and feathering was used mainly to force people into doing things for the Revolutionary cause, or to intimidate royal governors and tax officials into refusing to carry out the will of parliament. For the most part, their violent actions worked. For instance, the actions of the Sons of Liberty forced almost all the royal governors into hiding during the early months of 1766. They couldn’t even unlock weapons for their own protection, because they were worried about the consequences of the Sons of Liberty getting them. As author Thomas Kidding of www.ushistory.org said, “No one dared respond to such a violent force [the Sons of Liberty].” This quote illustrates the fact that violence was being used to frighten people into doing what the Sons of Liberty wanted them to. Using fear for political gain is the exact definition of a terrorist. Other examples of the violent actions of the Songs of Liberty include the hanging and burning of effigies, arson, vandalism, and breaking and entering. A great paradigm of this was the event that took place on August 14, 1765. On this date, members of the Sons of Liberty hung an effigy of Andrew Oliver, a royal tax collector. Throughout the day, Oliver’s property was burned, his house was stoned, and his effigy was beheaded and set on fire. Additionally, it’s important to remember that a true patriot would use violence only as a last resort. A real patriot would uphold all moral standards throughout their fight for independence, because otherwise they’d be just as bad as the enemy. The Sons of Liberty were a huge asset to the American Revolution without a doubt. However, their actions weren’t acceptable and they were more of a terrorist organization then a political group.
Sons of Liberty?
November 16, 2009