Commonplace Book #103

These radicalized common New Jerseyans linked themselves to a much broader imperial crisis going on around them.  Although the colony had not suffered as much as others from the Navigation Acts and Townshend duties, it did not, as some earlier historians have argued, simply follow its neighbors into war.  The riots of the late 1760s and early 1770s show a healthy anti-imperial attitude growing before revolution. The rioters used Lockean ideas of liberty and tyranny to reimagine the defense of property, even calling themselves “Sons of Liberty” and “liberty boys .”  They learned from the Whig pamphlet literature from neighboring New York to articulate their feelings of oppression by the king’s apparent indifference to their economic plight and the gentry’s link to the imperial government.

James Gigantino II, William Livingston’s American Revolution38.