History Channel’s Sons of Liberty Miniseries

If you haven’t watched this series, I would highly recommend you give it a chance.  I will warn that it takes some dramatic license and condenses the time frame in order to present a tight, three 2-hour miniseries rather than a more drawn out season-long series centered on the men who became known as the Sons of Liberty.

The series is focused on the events leading up to the arrival of General Gates of the British and the formal Declaration of Independence.  Many of the men that would go on to become our nation’s Founding Fathers have prominent roles in this miniseries.  For all of the series’ faults, it does an excellent job conveying the tone and the overarching themes and threats of the time.  It showed the British soldiers more as an occupying army than anything else, but it also showed the patriots as drunks, thugs, and rioters.

During the lead up to the Boston Massacre on screen, you can understand the motivations of either side.  The British, outnumbered and in the midst of an unruly crowd on the verge of violence, had justification in defending themselves.  The Colonists were likewise shocked when they did just that despite their own provocations just moments before.

Where the series has it’s faults are in the details.  Phrases and quotes were spoken by the wrong person, and the series falls short of providing the full discourse and philosophical thoughts that the HBO John Adams’ series so perfectly nailed.  The History Channel’s production though succeeded in showing the events in total and how each side kept escalating the situation until violence between the two was inevitable.

What I want to mention though is that the miniseries did one amazing thing.  It showed that the rebellious Sons of Liberty would have been rounded up and hanged pretty soon after General Gates’ arrival if not for their willingness to fight and their ability to fight on equal terms of the British regulars who marched to Lexington and Concord.  The British had numbers and experience.  The farmers, millers, and minutemen assembled on Lexington Green and at Concord Bridge had neither, but they had weapons with which to oppose and turn away the British Army that day.

What is so often forgotten in the present age is how the colonists were as well armed as the British regulars with privately held muskets, pioneer long rifles, and cannons.  Yes, cannons.  The American colonists were able to defend their right to free speech, their right to assemble, and to be secure in their papers and property, etc etc etc BECAUSE they had arms.  They had weapons, modern military weapons including weapons of such destruction as heavy cannons, and they were equal to those of their oppressors, not weakened civilian grade versions or likenesses.

At one point George Washington at the Contintental Congress was asked what the Massachusetts men could do with General Gage pressing martial law in Boston.  He said to resist.  I don’t know if Ole George ever gave that advice, but if he did, he had to have known that the only means of resistance when your oppressor means to bring arms to bear against you is to take arms up in defense and for that one must OWN, KEEP, and HAVE those arms and ammunition at your immediate disposal.

That is the foundation principle behind the Second Amendment to the American Constitution.

Thank you History Channel for really highlighting that, whether you meant to do so or not, because without those privately held arms, Samuel Adams, John Hancock, Joseph Warren, and the others would be only footnotes in history as traitors to the Crown and the troubles in Boston would have been quashed by the full might of the British Empire before they became full blown rebellion.

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  1. Review: The ‘Sons of Liberty’ Confirms that the History Channel No Longer Cares About History | History Chick in AZ

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