Revolution of Minds and Hearts
“ . . . In every human breast, God has implanted a principle, which we call love of Freedom . . . ”
-– Phillis Wheatley, African American slave-poet, member of Old South Congregation
For more than a century before the first musket was fired in America’s War for Independence, Puritan-bred Bostonians embraced a strong heritage of community and a culture of freedom that was remarkable among colonial settlements. Boston Common and its surrounding sites illustrate this unusual past, and include places where townfolk attended America’s first public school, governed their own church congregations, assembled and drilled local militia for self protection and stood toe-to-toe to protect their Puritan church land from Anglican intrusion. “The Revolution effected before the war commenced,” observed John Adams. “The Revolution was in the minds and the hearts of the people . . . ”
Boston Common itself was a site for a wide array of colonial activities that ranged from grazing cows and hanging enemies to marching armies and staging public protests.