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Scholars In Action presents case studies that demonstrate how scholars
interpret different kinds of historical evidence. This newspaper article was published in the Patriot press in 1775 and describes a political demonstration in Providence, Rhode Island, where protesters burned tea and loyalist newspapers. As opposition to British rule grew in the years leading up to the American Revolution, many people in the colonies were forced to take sides. Popular movements such as the "Sons of Liberty" attracted artisans and laborers who sought broad social and political change. Street actions against the British and their economic interests brought ordinary citizens, including women and youth, into the political arena and often spurred greater militancy and radicalism. By 1775, a number of major political protests and clashes with the British had occurred, including the Stamp Act riots, the Boston Massacre, and the Boston Tea Party.

Before you move to the next page, read this newspaper article. How does the article describe the event? Can you tell who participated in the protest? Are the political issues and tensions clear? What is puzzling or unclear?

Published online February 2003. Cite as: Barbara Clark Smith, "Analyzing Colonial Newspapers," History Matters: The U.S. Survey Course on the Web, http://historymatters.gmu.edu/mse/sia/newspaper.htm, February 2003.

"Providence, RI, March 4, 1775. On Thursday last, the 2nd instant, about twelve o'clock at noon, the Town Crier gave the following notice through the Town..."
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