Communication and the American Crisis

William B. Warner

in Protocols of Liberty

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print September 2013 | ISBN: 9780226061375
Published online January 2014 | e-ISBN: 9780226061405 | DOI:
Communication and the American Crisis

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  • Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)


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The introduction describes the pivotal role of communication within the political crisis that culminated in Revolution. On the day after the Boston Massacre, the Boston town meeting used certain techniques to compel the royal governor to remove troops from the town: an emergency town meeting, a resolve of the town that was delivered by a committee, mass mobilization, and an elaborate machinery of publicity. On that day, Britain’s project of imperial reform, which had been carefully developed by the ministry and Parliament after 1763, confronted the constituents of Boston’s independent economic and political power, as it had developed since first settlement. Instead of telling the Revolution through founders, “the people,” or the history of ideas, this book understands the Revolution as mediated by a new associational practice (the committees of correspondence), a new genre (popular declarations), and their protocols. This account allows us to grasp the Revolution as an event in the history of communication.

Keywords: Boston; town meeting; committee; communication; protocols; American Revolution; liberty

Chapter.  12503 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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