Chapter 5 Sources of Freedom

This chapter concentrates on the events leading up to the American Revolution and the war itself. Beginning with the dramatic events against lieutenant governor of Massachusetts, Thomas Hutchinson, by an angry mob in response to the Stamp Act, the chapter explains how a crisis against British rule grew from taxation policies.

The chapter explains the consequences of the Seven Years' War and the Crown's need for increased revenue from its colonies. Believing that the Stamp Act was a direct infringement upon their liberty, the colonists reacted with indignation and violence. The ensuing decade was fraught with similar calls for the British "enslavement" of the colonists to cease and the rise of opposition groups such as the "Sons of Liberty." When war broke out in 1775, independence was not a clear goal of the Continental Congress.

Thomas Paine's Common Sense was crucial in educating the common people about their natural right to freedom and liberties that Britain denied. So central is Common Sense to the coming of independence that it is featured as the Voice of Freedom for this chapter.

The Declaration of Independence, signed six months after the publication of Common Sense, forever changed the meaning of American freedom by proclaiming "unalienable rights,"—rights that no government could ever take away. The chapter concludes by chronicling the major battles and strategies of the war, highlighting the treaty that brought France into the war on the American side.

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