J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Cambridge Discovery Days, 4 and 11 Aug 2012

On 4 and 11 August, the city of Cambridge will once again celebrate Cambridge Discovery Days with free walking tours, house tours, and other events at historic sites. This year’s theme is “Power and Politics,” inspired by the centennial of Cambridge’s own Tip O’Neill.

For that theme, I’m once again breaking out this tour of Tory Row:

The Powder Alarm of 1774 and the End of British Power in Massachusetts

On September 2, 1774, Cambridge was the site of a massive confrontation between the friends and foes of the royal government of Massachusetts, fueled by anger over new laws passed in Parliament. Thousands of New England farmers massed on Cambridge Common and used their numbers to intimidate royal appointees into resigning their posts. That protest precipitated a seismic shift in Massachusetts politics, bringing on independence and war. This tour will visit several sites linked to the confrontation, including the homes of the province’s attorney general and lieutenant governor, and the militia general who started it all.
The meeting-point is outside 42 Brattle Street, one of the buildings of the Cambridge Center for Adult Education. There’s a fair amount of walking, and those August days can be hot!

I’m leading this tour on only one Saturday this year: 11 August, starting at 3:00 P.M. But there’s plenty of colonial history from other folks, as well as insights into politics and power from the 17th through the late 20th centuries. Download a brochure for all the possibilities.

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