The “American Political Society” to be serialized on Twitter starting July 1st
The American Political Society was established in 1773 in Worcester, Massachusetts, by Col. Timothy Bigelow (1739-1790) as an extension of the Committee of Correspondence. It was a secret society of 71 Worcester Whigs who organized for the purpose of debating “upon … our rights and liberties” and determining “methods to be pursued” in securing them. The Society held monthly meetings at a public house, usually the inn of Asa Ward (1748-1818), and eventually assumed control of town meetings and instructed the moderator and the representative to the General Court. The organization became a potent means of defeating the influence of Worcester Loyalists. The Society apparently disbanded due to internal frictions and the more immediate demands of revolutionary resistance.
The series from the records of the American Political Society for the period 27 December 1773 to 20 May 1776, now in the collection of the American Antiquarian Society, include a statement of purpose, rules and regulations, a list of members, and minutes of each meeting. The minutes detail such activities as boycott agreements following enactment of the Boston Port Bill in 1774; the provision of two pounds of gunpowder for each member; the assumption of fines levied by the British against any member for his “resistance” activities; and organized protest against Peter Oliver (1713-1791) as Chief Justice of the Superior Court.
This is an opportunity to read the minutes of one of the most radical groups in Colonial America to see how it affected both the Town Governments of central Massachusetts as well as the Worcester Revolution and our seperation from Great Britian.