One of two secret societies involved in the early stages of the American Revolution, the Sons of Liberty were founded in Boston and New York City in 1765 to oppose the stamp tax recently imposed on the colonies by the British Parliament. The impetus that started them seems to have come from the Committees of Correspondence, a network of leading colonial citizens formed in the early 1760s to coordinate opposition to British policies. The Sons of Liberty quickly spread to the other colonies and became a major force in the movement toward revolution.
Where the Committees worked within the law, the Sons of Liberty engaged in terrorist activities ranging from destruction of property to mob violence against British officials and loyalists. Their most famous exploit took place in Boston in 1773, when members boarded three British ships and dumped 342 chests of tea into the harbour to protest the Tea Act. In the months before war broke out, local chapters of the Sons of Liberty formed armed bands that became the nucleus of the revolutionary army. In 1783, on the signing of the Treaty of Paris granting American independence, the Sons of Liberty dissolved.
The Element Encyclopedia of Secret Societies : the ultimate a-z of ancient mysteries, lost civilizations and forgotten wisdom written by John Michael Greer – © John Michael Greer 2006