The Stamp Act Riot To-Do List

Posted by on May 13, 2012 in All Posts | No Comments

Written as a to-do list, below is a summary of the riot and resignation that took place in Newport, Rhode Island, August 27-29, 1765.

DAY ONE (morning):

  • Assemble and erect gallows in middle of town
  • Make effigies to represent stamp master, two hated loyalists
  • Cart effigies through town to gallows
  • Hoist effigies by neck 15 feet high
  • Make fire under gallows
  • Burn effigies to ashes
  • Choose deputies of town
  • Choose committee to instruct deputies on Stamp Act

DAY TWO (evening):

  • Gather crowd, march to house of hated loyalist No. 1
  • Shatter windows
  • Break doors to pieces
  • Damage partitions of house
  • Ruin furniture
  • March to home of hated loyalist No. 2
  • Tear house to pieces
  • Demolish furniture
  • Ravage cellar
  • Destroy all provisions, wine, etc.
  • March to home of stamp master
  • Threaten his home if he doesn’t resign
  • Receive promise of resignation
  • Return to first two homes to continue destruction

DAY THREE (morning):

  • Listen to stamp master’s public resignation
  • Wait for loyalists to sail to England, advertise land/home for sale

These events were reported in detail (not as a to-do list) in the Supplement to the Boston News-Letter on September 5, 1765 (see photo excerpt), and shed light on the terror campaign that colonists launched to fight the Stamp Act. I converted the report to a to-do list to emphasize the devastation and because, well, everyone loves lists. Newspapers spread the word of mobs, violence and boycott, which effectively prevented enforcement of the Stamp Act and lead to its repeal. More on the Stamp Act crisis and its newspaper coverage in chapter one of Reporting the Revolutionary War.

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