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  • The Liberty Boys: America's Teenage Rebellion Phase

    The Liberty Boys and the signers of the Declaration of Independence knew that their resistance to the government of Great Britain and the Stamp Act could result in their hanging. Colonial historian professor Harvey Jackson and Wormsloe Plantation ranger Joe Thompson compare America’s break up with Great Britain to a parent-child relationship that eventually changes dramatically when the child grows up.

    Support Materials

    Discuss

    1. Explain the difference between a Patriot and a Tory or Loyalist.

    2. What was the mercantile system and why did the colonies, especially Georgia, benefit from it?

    3. Who were the Liberty Boys and what is their relationship with the Sons of Liberty?

    4. Why did the two generations of colonists differ so strongly over the role of England in Georgia’s economy?

    Expansion

    1.Using a T-Chart, labeling one side Tory and the other side Patriot, have students write all the reasons they can think of for being one or the other.

    2. Write a play with two characters: James Habersham and Joseph Habersham, father and son. They should talk with each other explaining why they take the positions they do (one loyal to the King; the other a protester and wanting independence).

    Vocabulary

    Tory: colonist who was loyal to the King of England and his representatives
    Patriot: colonist who protested against taxation without representation in Parliament; wanted to break with Great Britain
    Liberty Boys: a citizens militia group that carried out protests in Georgia against the Stamp Act; were against taxation without representation
    Sons of Liberty: a citizens militia group begun by Samuel Adams in Massachusetts to protest the Stamp Act and other misuses of power by Parliament without giving the colonies representation
    drawn and quartered: a very painful method of execution used until the early 19th century as punishment for treason and other crimes considered heinous by the King

    For Teachers

    Discussion Guide

    1. Explain the difference between a Patriot and a Tory or Loyalist.
    Patriots were rebels who favored independence. A Tory was loyal to England, the mother country, because of the mercantile system, nationalism, etc. 

    2. What was the mercantile system and why did the colonies, especially Georgia, benefit from it?
    The mercantile system provided subsidies for growing certain crops and markets for their exports. They also provided military protection. Georgia was such a young colony that it needed as much help as possible so they could get their economy prospering. In the meantime, there was no army or militia available in sufficient numbers to protect them from the Indians and other dangers they faced. Many Georgians, including the royal governor, James Wright, became wealthy as a result of this trade system.

    3. Who were the Liberty Boys, and what is their relationship with the Sons of Liberty?
    They were the colonists who opposed being taxed by a Parliament that did not give them a representative to speak for their interests (“taxation without representation”). England was imposing taxes and a system of trade (mercantilism) that did not seem fair to this growing country. The Stamp Act was the last straw for these Patriots. They began meeting secretly and uniting to protest against the King and Great Britain for these injustices. (They were a part of the same group called “The Sons of Liberty” formed by Samuel Adams in Massachusetts.)

    4. Why did the two generations of colonists differ so strongly over the role of England in Georgia’s economy?
    One of the main reasons they had such radical differences was that the older generation had known and understood what England had done to help the colony get its start. The younger generation had never been to England; had never known religious persecution or hardships. They had always lived in the colonies – and usually in fairly comfortable surroundings. The first generation had endured most of the hardships. In some cases, they had struggled to make a life for themselves and their families, facing danger from the Indians to the south and the Spaniards. The younger generation had not known such hardships or put much stock in the fact that England had supplied the protection for the early colonists. When England wanted to dictate what the colonists would produce, insist that they sell it to England alone, and that the colonists would, in turn, buy the finished goods produced in England’s factories (mercantilism), it seemed unfair to this young offspring. The sons of the first colonists realized that at some point, they were going to have to “grow up” and spread their wings. Do things on their own. They did not understand why England always had to be the “daddy” – telling them what and how to do things economically or politically. The rebellion grew until it resulted in war.

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