City Readers Digital Historic Collections at the New York Society Library
Sons of Liberty
The Sons of Liberty was an organization of American colonists that was created in the Thirteen American Colonies. The secret society was formed to protect the rights of the colonists and to fight taxation by the British government. They are best known for undertaking the Boston Tea Party in 1773 in reaction to new taxes. Britain responded with the Intolerable Acts, leading to a counter-mobilization by the Patriots.
In the popular imagination, the Sons of Liberty was a formal underground organization with recognized members and leaders. More likely, the name was an underground term for any men resisting new Crown taxes and laws. The well-known label allowed organizers to issue anonymous summons to a Liberty Tree, "Liberty Pole", or other public meeting-place. Furthermore, a unifying name helped to promote inter-Colonial efforts against Parliament and the Crown's actions. Their motto became, "No taxation without representation."