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Revolu/onary Voices:   James’s  Colonial  Journal   By  Charles  


March 27,  1765:     Taxa/on  with  a  Dose  of  Suffering  

Home Sweet  Home  

The Prin/ng  Press  


March 27,  1765   The  anger  caused  by  the  Bri/sh  blockheads  is  beyond  my  comprehension.  Mother  and  Father  were   arguing  once  again  about  the  stamp  act  imposed  by  the  Bri/sh.  The  Bri9sh  Parliament  wants  us  to  buy   stamps  on  our  documents,  to  make  them  “official”.  This  nonsense  was  passed  by  Parliament  with  out   our  consent,  and  it  is  being  enforced  with  ruthlessness.  Almost  anything  in  the  form  of  paper  has  to  be   stamped  and  taxed.  This  includes  newspapers,  documents,  patent  medicines;  even  playing  cards  need   to  be  taxed.  This  was  bad  news  for  Father’s  newspaper  business,  as  every  single  newspaper  has  to  be   stamped  with  a  stamp.  We  are  one  of  the  only  newspaper  businesses  in  the  colonies,  and  business  is   not  great.  Think  about  the  money  that  our  family  has  to  lose  paying  for  tax!  We  already  have  a  low   income,  but  with  this  tax,  how  does  the  Bri/sh  government  expect  us  to  keep  living?  We  will  have  to   struggle  just  to  keep  mee/ng  ends.  In  addi/on,  the  money  that  is  used  to  buy  these  stamps  will  not  go   to  fix  our  roads  and  help  our  community,  but  instead  to  help  widen  the  pockets  of  King  George  the   Third.  Rumor  has  it  that  he  will  impose  heavier  taxes  a  few  years  down  the  road.     This  blasphemy  was  all  spawned  due  to  the  Seven  Years  War  that  Father  fought  in.  He  fought  for  the   first  year,  and  then  the  Red  coats  arrived.  A[erwards,  he  was  not  needed.  Father  and  the  other   colonists  worked  together  with  the  Red  Coats  to  fight  for  our  safety.  I  remember  when  I  was  a  young   boy  at  the  age  of  6.  Father  would  tell  me  stories  of  the  Ba\lefront.  He  would  put  me  on  his  lap  and  talk   about  the  /mes  that  he  saw  men  kill  each  other  in  endless  slaughter,  and  how  the  Bri/sh  Redcoats   advanced  and  destroyed  everything  in  their  way.  He  recounted  the  countless  ba\les  they  had  fought.   “The  Bri/sh  Redcoats  moved  quickly  and  efficiently,  as  if  they  were  one  huge  army  controlled  by  God.  I   remember  when  we  fought  in  the  Ba\le  of  Quebec.  The  Brits  moved  in  quickly,  wiping  out  everything  in   sight.  They  swept  hell  across  the  land,  wrecking  havoc  among  the  enemies.”              


With the  enormous  victory  of  the  war,  there  was  also  a  massive  cost  to  it.  40  million  pounds  was  the   accumulated  cost  of  the  war,  and  King  George  expects  us  to  pay  off  the  whole  cost.  He  simply  does  not   know  what  life  is  like  here  in  colonies.  First,  King  George  introduces  the  “Tea  Act”  to  tax  the  tea  that  we   drink.  Then,  he  taxes  the  molasses  that  we  use  for  our  rum.  What  will  the  King  tax  next?  The  air  we   breathe?  The  water  that  we  drink?  Our  freedom?  We  cannot  afford  to  be  taxed  over  such  miniscule   things  for  great  prices.  I  am  just  a  seventeen-­‐year-­‐old  boy  named  James,  an  appren/ce  to  a   shopkeeper,  but  I  know  that  this  treatment  is  cruel.  While  the  rest  of  us  are  struggling,  there  are   “Tories”,  people  who  are  loyal  to  the  people  in  Britain.  They  claim  that  that  the  Bri/sh  government  is   helping  us.  These  people  need  to  take  a  walk  outside  and  look  around  them.    They  need  to  see  the   crumbling  brick  houses  and  walk  on  the  worn  out  brick  roads.  It  is  raining  here,  but  some  people  choose   to  ignore  it.  


December 18,  1773   Taxless  Tea  for  Two  

Benjamin’s drawing  of  the  Tea  Party  based  on  his  father’s  telling.  


December 18,  1773   The  first  fight  for  change  has  finally  happened!  A  few  colonists  have  dressed  up  as  American  Indians   have  destroyed  taxed  crates  of  Tea  in  protest  of  the  Tea  Act!  They’re  calling  this  event  the  Boston  Tea   Party!  This  started  when  The  Bri9sh  East  India  Trading  Company  decided  to  start  selling  us  taxed  tea.   Tea  merchants  from  all  over  Boston  complained  about  how  the  King  could  and  probably  would  impose   more  taxes  on  the  merchants,  resul/ng  in  more  money  lost.  Us  Bostonians  asked  peacefully  for  the  tea   to  be  returned  to  Britain,  but  our  request  was  shutdown  by  Thomas  Hutchinson.  People  were  angered   by  how  their  request  was  shutdown  without  a  second  thought,  and  they  decided  it  was  /me  to  act.   Benjamin  Willis,  who  works  as  a  tea  merchant,  was  one  of  the  people  that  raided  the  tea.  Benjamin   wrote  down  what  his  father  said,  and  relayed  his  story  to  me.   “The  sun  was  sehng  when  we  le[  for  the  docks.  There  were  around  seventy  of  us,  and  we  all  had   dressed  up  as  Na9ve  Americans.  All  of  us  were  ordinary  people  that  wanted  to  be  free  of  this   disgus/ng  tax.  We  moved  silently  and  quickly  through  the  evening,  no  one  there  to  catch  us.  We  took   the  crew  by  surprise  and  seized  the  three  vessels.  We  quickly  went  to  work,  dumping  out  tea  as  quickly   and  as  efficiently  as  possible.  There  was  so  much  tea,  and  it  seemed  like  it  was  endless.  It  ended  up   taking  three  hours  to  dump  out  the  en/re  shipment  of  tea,  but  it  was  the  best  three  hours  I  had  ever   spent.  Us  commoners  were  determined  to  keep  the  money  that  we  had  earned  righjully.  When  we   were  finished  dumping  our  tea,  every  single  man  was  celebra/ng  our  combined  victory.  I  looked  out  to   the  sunset,  proud  of  everything  that  was  happening.”  In  my  honest  opinion,  I  think  that  the  Boston   Massacre  that  happened  a  few  years  ago  caused  the  destruc/on  of  this  Tea.  It  was  just  three  years  ago,   but  it  has  had  a  las/ng  impact.  The  bloody  killing  of  five  people  has  truly  made  us  Bostonians  more  and   more  aware  of  the  atroci/es.  We’ve  opened  our  eyes  and  seen  the  pain  and  suffering  that  the  Bri/sh   have  imposed  on  us.  Did  the  Redcoats  care  about  the  people  that  they  killed?  Did  they  look  at   themselves  in  the  mirror  and  think  about  the  people  killed?        


Did they  think  about  the  families  of  those  people?  No.  Those  red  coats  just  con/nued  killing  people  and   enforcing  the  law.  The  anger  against  the  Bri/sh  has  been  amoun/ng,  and  the  dumping  of  the  tea  was   retalia/on  for  those  lives  lost.  In  other  news,  I  may  need  to  take  up  prin/ng.  Over  the  past  few  years,  Father  as   grown  older  and  aged  a  lot  faster.  All  the  stress  from  living  in  such  turmoil  has  effected  his  age.  His  health  is   suffering,  and  I  may  need  to  help  him  with  his  prin/ng  press  so  that  we  can  have  enough  money  to  support  the   family.  I  will  miss  all  the  shop  keeping.  In  shop  keeping,  I  got  to  meet  people.  I  could  experience  what   socializing  felt  like.  In  this  lonely  prin/ng  job,  I  have  no  one.  How  I  yearn  someone  to  talk  to!    


July 6,  1776   Freedom  From  the  Fools  

A facsimile  of  the   document.  

A pain/ng  that  was  produced  right  a[er   the  signing.  


July 6,  1776   The  United  States  of  America  has  been  born.  Over  the  past  month,  Thomas  Jefferson  has  been   collabora/ng  with  the  congress  to  construct  a  document  declaring  independence  from  the  Bri/sh.  They   called  this  document  the  Declara9on  of  Independence.  Due  to  the  fact  that  Father  is  deathly  ill,  I  had   to  print  all  the  newspapers.  When  I  was  done  prin/ng,  it  was  around  mid-­‐day.  The  day  was  a  bright  as  a   flame,  and  I  shielded  myself  from  the  sunrays  with  my  arm.  I  placed  down  the  newspapers  by  the  curb   and  tried  to  sell  them  off.  There  had  been  many  celebra/ons  the  past  few  days,  and  everyone  was  in  a   bright  mood.  A[er  a  dull  few  hours,    a  few  drunken  men  walked  down  the  street,  ran/ng  about  their   opinions  of  America  being  free.  They  bought  off  all  the  newspapers  that  I  had  spent  the  morning   making,  and  I  made  more  money  there  then  I  had  in  the  past  weeks.  At  first  I  thought  that  those   drunken  blockheads  were  patriots,  but  then  they  started  crying  that  Britain  would  triumph  and  quash   us  li\le  colonies.  They  a\racted  quite  a  crowd.  They  took  all  my  newspapers  and  burned  them.  They   turned  to  me  and  mocked  me.  “You  print  these  ideologies,  but  they  will  burn  like  America!  Who  would   dare  to  read  this  trash?”  I  felt  my  face  turn  red.  How  dare  they  mock  my  opinions?  I  stood  up  there  and   gave  them  a  piece  of  my  mind.   “You  Tories  know  nothing  about  why  America  wants  freedom.  America  wants  freedom  from  the  Bri9sh   tyrants  for  the  sake  of  the  people.  The  people  of  these  colonies  voice  their  anger,  yet  no  one  in  the   Parliament  reacts.  There  is  no  voice  in  the  decision-­‐making  back  in  Britain.  Us  Americans  are  /red  of   being  pushed  around  and  reduced  to  secondary  class.  The  taxes  that  were  being  induced  on  us   impacted  us  heavily.  Those  taxes  may  have  worked  for  the  Brits  back  in  England,  but  we’re  different   lads  from  them.  We  have  different  needs  and  wants.”  The  miniscule  crowd  that  had  gathered  to  listen   to  the  ran/ng  of  the  drunks  had  their  a\en/on  now  on  me.  A  few  of  them  were  nodding  in  agreement.   I  had  not  been  the  only  one  that  felt  that  the  Brits  were  harsh.  “You  drunks  claim  that  the  Brits  will  raze   our  homes  to  the  ground.  Do  you  not  remember  the  Ba\le  of  Concord  that  happened  last  year?  Our   brave  minutemen  beat  back  you  Devils.  We  didn’t  need  help  from  anyone  else.  Passion  and   determina/on  helped  the  minutemen  win  that  ba\le.      


The redcoat,  the  strongest  army,  was  beaten  back  by  rag  tag  soldiers.  Where  are  we  now?  The  small   colonies  that  used  to  be  controlled  by  the  Brits  have  now  declared  independence.  The  United  States  of   America  cannot  be  /ed  down!  We  demand  to  be  free!  To  be  heard!  We  don’t  need  to  be  ruled  by  King!   We  rule  ourselves!  This  Declara/on  of  Independence  is  the  first  step!  With  this  document,  the  colonists   of  the  United  States  of  America  are  changing  the  lives  of  its  people!”  The  crowd  cheered,  agreeing  with   everything  that  I  had  just  said.  The  drunks  stumbled  off,  beaten  back  by  everything  I  had  just  said.  The   signing  of  this  document  had  separated  people.  You  were  either  with  us,  or  against  us.  There  was  no   middle  ground  anymore.    


October 21,  1781   Final  Bloodshed    

Washington giving  orders.  

All the  figh/ng  going  on.  


October 21,  1781   The  annihila/on  is  finally  complete.  Us  Americans  have  taken  over  Yorktown  with  ease,  and  it  may   seem  like  this  war  is  close  to  being  over.  I’ve  been  part  of  this  army  for  years  now,  and  we’ve  been   trained  to  become  a  strong  figh/ng  force.  We’ve  trekked  over  lands  and  seas  as  brother  in  arms.  All  the   harsh  weather  and  figh/ng  has  weeded  out  the  weak  from  our  ranks,  forming  a  strong  army.  Under  the   command  of  George  Washington,  we’ve  been  a\acking  the  Bri/sh  for  days.    Twelve  days  ago,  we   started  bombarding  the  forts  of  Bri/sh  general  Cornwallis.  The  guns  fired  all  throughout  the  dark  night,   destroying  everything  in  their  path.  Washington  did  not  allow  the  guns  to  stop  during  the  night,  as  the   Bri/sh  would  probably  a\empt  to  make  repairs  at  that  /me.  The  bombardment  was  fierce,  and  the   Bri/sh  could  not  hold  their  posi/on  for  much  longer.  A[er  the  defenses  were  weakened,  General   Washington  commanded  us  men  to  a\ack.  All  the  men  around  me  had  their  bayonets  a\ached  to  their   guns,  ready  to  charge.  We  ran  forward  like  one  unified  army.  With  our  axes,  we  hacked  away  at  the  wall   of  the  fort.  It  was  the  only  that  that  was  standing  between  the  Bri/sh  and  us.  The  Bri/sh  a\empted  to   ward  us  off  with  their  guns,  but  our  sheer  numbers  overwhelmed  the  fort  in  minutes.  We  charged  with   our  bayonets,  crossing  over  ditches  and  holes  created  by  ar/llery.  I  found  myself  figh/ng  next  to   Benjamin.  We  had  become  /ght  friends  over  the  past  few  years,  having  fought  next  to  each  other  ba\le   a[er  ba\le.  He  was  always  there  for  me,  even  when  Father  died.  When  Father  died,  it  was  as  if  the  light   in  my  life  had  just  been  ex/nguished.  He  listened  to  my  pains  and  sorrows,  and  was  the  friend  that  I   always  needed.  There  we  were,  advancing  as  brothers,  figh/ng  for  each  other.  


The corpses  were  stacked  like  mountains  on  top  of  each  other.  We  had  to  cross  over  these  piles,  and   some  men  were  added  to  the  piles  when  they  were  gunned  down.  Eventually  our  sheer  numbers   overwhelmed  them.  Washington  moved  the  guns  to  the  base  of  Cornwallis,  and  the  bombardment   ensued.  Hours  a[er  hours  the  guns  hammered  the  base  with  relentless  force.  Finally,  a  white   handkerchief  was  waved.  We  were  victorious.  A  cheer  went  up  around  our  men,  and  it  truly  had  been   our  victory.   All  the  miniature  victories  that  us  Americans  had  won  had  led  to  this  victory.  Washington  rallied  our   armies  with  strict  discipline  and  guerilla  tac9cs.  Washington  used  his  skilled  tac/cs  and  bravery  to  lead   us  men  to  a\ack  the  Bri/sh.  I  remember  in  the  ba\le  of  Delaware,  he  had  us  men  ambush  the  Bri/sh.   In  a  normal  ba\le,  we  would  have  lost.  Using  skill  and  illusion,  we  beat  back  the  Bri/sh.  He  even  hired   Baron  Friedrich  Von  Steuben  to  train  us  into  a  figh/ng  army.    The  Baron  drilled  us  day  and  night,   through  storm  and  snow.  We’ve  transformed  from  a  weak  ragtag  army  into  an  army  that  rivaled  the   strongest  army  in  the  world.  I’ve  realized  that  the  people  that  fought  with  me  were  my  brothers  in   arms,  and  I  could  turn  to  them  for  the  support  I  needed.    


November 7,  1783   Peace  At  Last  

Jolly celebra/ons  throughout   the  colonies.  


November 7,  1783   The  streets  have  exploded  with  news.  News  has  reached  us  that  a  treaty  has  been  signed  in  Paris   allowing  us  to  be  free!  John  Adams  and  Benjamin  Franklin,  followed  by  two  other  American  delegates   with  two  Bri/sh  delegates,  have  signed  the  treaty.  The  treaty,  dubbed  Treaty  of  Paris,  allows  us   Americans  to  have  our  freedom,  and  fish  in  the  waters  of  the  North.  To  commemorate  such  a  victory,  I   went  out  with  Benjamin  to  get  a  few  drinks  in  the  tavern  next  door.  As  we  entered  the  tavern,  the  jolly   atmosphere  greeted  us  warmly.  The  tables  were  all  full,  and  drunken  men  were  singing  turns  of  victory.   The  tavern  shook  as  the  men  roared,  and  the  sounds  were  deafening.  Benjamin  and  I  quickly  spo\ed  a   table  and  sat  down.  The  waitress  brought  over  two  bo\les  of  beer,  and  we  clinked  the  bo\les  and   began  drinking.  The  lowly  lit  tavern  provided  enough  light  for  Benjamin  and  I  to  talk.  We  discussed  what   life  would  be  like  without  having  to  pay  tax,  and  what  we  would  do  in  our  /me.  “I  might  use  my   Father’s  connec/ons  of  become  a  trader.  What  about  you  James?”  asked  Benjamin.  I  was  unsure  of   what  I  wanted  to  do.  I  could  go  back  to  my  old  job  as  a  newspaper  printer,  but  I  could  try  something   else.  I  was  free  as  a  sparrow,  and  I  was  available  to  do  whatever  I  pleased.  What  would  my  Father  do?   He  would  want  me  to  con/nue  the  prin/ng  press.  He  devoted  his  /me  to  print  the  newspapers,  and  he   would’ve  hated  to  see  all  the  work  gone  to  waste.  I  looked  at  the  bo\le,  hoping  that  the  answer  would   be  inscribed  somewhere.  I  told  Benjamin  that  I  would  go  back  to  the  prin/ng  press,  and  that  we  could   go  out  drinking  every  once  in  a  while.  We  con/nued  to  talk  about  other  memories  from  the  war,  and   how  we  were  finally  free.   This  victorious  revolu/on  revolved  around  a  lot  of  luck.  I  heard  that  the  Red  Coats  were  receiving   informa/on  from  back  home  in  Britain.  The  informa/on  o[en  took  weeks  to  arrive,  so  the  Brits  were   o[en  basing  their  moves  on  old  informa/on.  Their  armies  were  figh/ng  alone,  while  General   Washington  consulted  with  his  other  allies  to  coordinate  the  a\acks.  This  is  exactly  what  happened  at   the  Ba\le  of  Yorktown.  The  French  were  entering  from  behind,  while  we  were  bombarding  them  from   the  front.  There  was  no  way  they  could’ve  go\en  away.      


If there  had  been  be\er  communica/on  between  the  Bri/sh  army,  we  would’ve  been  annihilated.   There  was  also  lots  of  disrupt  in  the  parliament  during  the  war.  Many  people  were  against  the  figh/ng,   and  they  con/nued  to  cri/cize  the  figh/ng  during  the  war.  There  was  not  enough  unity  between  the   Bri/sh,  while  us  Americans  were  ready  to  defend  everything  that  we  had.      


Works Cited   "Boston  Tea  Party."  Wikipedia.com.  Wikimedia  Founda/on,  n.d.  Web.     "United  States  Declara/on  of  Independence."  Www.wikipedia.com.  Wikimedia   Founda/on,  n.d.  Web.     "American  Revolu/on  War."  American  Revolu/on  :  The  Ba\le  of  Yorktown.  Chalfont   Web  Design,  n.d.  Web.     "Treaty  of  Paris."  H\p://www.loc.gov/.  The  Library  of  Congress,  n.d.  Web.      

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