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Making America: A History of the United States, Brief Second Edition
Carol Berkin, Christopher L. Miller, Robert W. Cherny, James L. Gormly, W. Thomas Mainwaring
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Introduction | Questions to Consider | Source | Related Links

Charleston, SC Sons of Liberty

This document stresses the role played by nonelite activists who supported the initiatives of popular party leaders in the years preceding the Revolutionary war.

Questions to Consider
  1. Count the number of persons on the list who fall into the following classes:
    1. Farmers
    2. Commerce
      1. Artisans
      2. Merchants and Shopkeepers
      3. Miscellaneous innkeepers, seamen, etc.
    3. Professions
      1. Lawyers
      2. Teachers and professors
      3. Doctors
      4. Anglican clerics
      5. Other clerics
      6. Miscellaneous
    4. Officeholders

  2. What occupations do not appear on the list?

  3. What makes assigning some individuals to a particular group difficult?

  4. Make a table in which you note the percentage of the total number in each category. (To obtain the percentage, divide the total number (N=26) into the smaller number.) Would you characterize these men as working- or middle-class people?

  5. Why would the largest group in your table be more likely to support revolutionary ideology? Charleston was a noted Loyalist stronghold. Who do you think allied themselves with the Loyalist cause? Why?

  6. Write a paragraph in which you do the following:
    1. Generalize about the social and economic composition of the Sons of Liberty
    2. Address the significance of such organizations in the movement toward rebellion
    3. Discuss briefly the Sons of Liberty's relationship to urban crowds and pre-Revolutionary popular violence


  1. Christopher Gadsden, merchant.

  2. William Johnson, blacksmith.

  3. Joseph Veree, carpenter.

  4. John Fullerton, carpenter.

  5. James Brown, carpenter.

  6. Nath[anie]l Libby, ship carpenter.

  7. George Flagg, painter and glazier.

  8. Tho[ma]s Coleman, upholsterer.

  9. John Hall, coachmaker.

  10. W[illia]m Field, carver.

  11. Robert Jones, sadler.

  12. John Loughton, coachmaker.

  13. "W." Roger, wheelwright.

  14. John Calvert, "Clerk in some office."

  15. H[enry] Bookless, wheelwright.

  16. J. Barlow , sadler.

  17. Tunis Teabout, blacksmith.

  18. Peter Munclean, clerk.

  19. W[illia]m Trusler, butcher.

  20. Robert Howard, carpenter.

  21. Alexander Alexander, schoolmaster.

  22. Ed[ward] Weyman, clerk of St. Philip's Church, and glass grinder.

  23. Tho[ma]s Swarle, painter.

  24. W[illia]m Laughton, tailor.

  25. Daniel Cannon, carpenter.

  26. Benjamin Hawes, painter.

Source: Charleston, South Carolina, Sons of Liberty, 1766 Charleston, S.C., Sons of Liberty Membership List, 1766, Robert W. Gibbes, ed., Documentary History of the American Revolution, South Carolina, 1764-1776 (New York, 1855), pp. 10-11.


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