American Archives

Mobilizing the Populace

Documents that uncover ways the Whig patriots persuaded colonists to join their cause, through such means as boycotts, loyalty oaths, and conventions.

  • Common Sense: impact of the publication of Common Sense on the readiness of Congress and the populace to declare independence.
  • Dunmore's proclamation: Reactions to Dunmore's Proclamation of 1775, which offered male slaves freedom in return for fighting the rebels.
  • Elections and dissemination of convention proceedings: news about elections, activities of committees of correspondence and safety, conventions of the people, and the Continental Congress (ordinary proceedings count, if their circulation appears probable).

  • Military depravation/fear of attack: use of or reports of fear of invasion, violence, and destruction of property and the political uses of such events.

  • Oaths, confessions, trials, clearing, censuring: reports of forced (and seemingly voluntary) oaths and confessions of Tories and those who broke the Continental Association; trials before committees; reports of clearing individuals or of censuring and shunning them.

  • Petitioning: petitions meant mostly to mobilize the populace rather than gain a redress of grievances.

  • Relief of Boston/Boston as example: campaigns to relieve Boston after the Port of Boston bill closed the port; attempts to starve Boston out, when occupied; reports of families prevented from leaving with their property, during the occupation; Boston as an example of what would happen over the colonies, if the British got their way.

  • Trade boycotts: use of boycotts of imports locally implemented or of the Continental Association mandated by the Continental Congress.