Cory B. Rayfield — Honors in History

A Hellish Crew? Terrorism and the Sons of Liberty
In the twenty-first century terrorism is one of the most talked about and yet most sensitive subjects in America. Ever since September 11, 2001, Americans have been forced to reexamine their role in the world. With a close examination of American history, it can be noted that we have committed terrorist acts. One of the first terrorists groups was the Sons of Liberty. Through their use of the mob they lead many riots and violent protest during the years just before the American Revolution. Despite their use of terrorism, the Sons of Liberty do play a role in America’s independence, and many of their actions seemed justified to Americans. The purpose of this study though is not to call Americans terrorists, but to force us to look at the bigger picture, and in light of our own history, reexamine the way we think. Terrorism is a sensitive subject in America, and many people would be appalled if Americans were called terrorist. However, with intense research and insight, the Sons of Liberty can be seen as terrorists. The Sons of Liberty as a whole can be considered terrorists, but the Sons of Liberty was a distinct group that had many different chapters, each one different from the other. By doing case studies of the Sons of Liberty in Boston, Virginia, and New York, we can see how each group is distinct, and how each one fits into the framework of terrorism.