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The Liberty Boys

Is there a cause so great you would sign a document knowing if the cause did not prevail, you could be hung? The Liberty Boys in the thirteen colonies thought so, and the signers of the Declaration of Independence did just that. Professor Harvey Jackson, a colonial historian explains the mercantile system as a way of introducing James Habersham, a colonial merchant who was loyal to the king and an advisor to royal governor James Wright. His son Joseph was another story. His loyalties were with the patriots fighting for freedom. The senior Habersham lamented the split between father and son writing it was “dreadful to think on much less to experience.” A ranger at Wormsloe Plantation, Joe Thompson, explains what the Stamp Act meant to the colonists and how the Liberty Boys meeting at Tondee’s Tavern reacted. They hung the stamp collector in effigy but not in actuality. They kept their identities secret because anyone rebelling against the crown could be hung, drawn, and quartered. Professor Jackson laughingly wonders what fathers and sons on opposite sides like the Habershams talked about at the dinner table. He compares America’s break up with Great Britain to a parent-child relationship that eventually changes dramatically when the child grows up.

Teacher tip: Rename this episode using the father-son story line that is shown. Focus on either the Habershams or the analogy Professor Jackson makes between the colonies and Great Britain.