The "Flames of Sedition" had already spread throughout the countryside where 95% of Massachusetts residents lived after a series of episodes, including the Tea Party and Stamp Act had led to tension and rage. The port of Boston was still controlled by the Crown's military forces and many of the educated elite had assembled in Philadelphia to decide whether they should wrest control away from the Crown. But at meeting houses and taverns across the Bay Colony, the farmers and shopkeepers were preparing and reacting in a determined rage to the loss of representation and oversight they once had to assure fairness in the Courts.
Most farmers and craftsmen were concerned with local issues - the struggle of daily life trying to grow crops on rocky soils or tend to church or local Town Meeting duties. Yet the contrasts of wealth between the educated elite and yeoman farmers was growing significantly while the rise of the "strolling poor" and landless was starting to increase as generations split up original land holdings again and again. Debts for farmers were growing steadily and historians have found that up to 22% of the farmers were facing litigation for unpaid debt. Courts had tremendous power to seize a farmer's property, so this was a growing concern in the years leading up to the Revolution.