In the UK, perhaps unsurprisingly, we’re not taught that much about the events leading up to American independence. Before visiting Boston, I think I knew only that the puritans arrived in that area and colonised the coastline and something about the Boston Tea Party. Of course, American children have a much deeper knowledge of the events and come to Boston to see where those events happened. But for us, pretty much the whole thing was an education.
Go City had gifted us a couple of passes for Boston attractions, and we used them to do two historical tours. Firstly, we did the Freedom Trail Walk into History Tour. Hosted by a lady in 18th century costume, we walked along the Freedom Trail stopping at key points to hear the stories. We learnt of Paul Revere and his ride to warn patriots guarding their gunpowder cache of the army’s approach. And Samuel Adams’ use of political rhetoric to turn an unfortunate and unseemly scuffle between soldiers and patriots into a rallying cry for the revolution. I’m not here to write a book about the War of Independence (phew, I hear you say), suffice to say that our guide skillfully brought the protagonists to life and applied just the right amount of ribbing to the Brits that she had identified in her group.
The tour ended near the Old State House and we used our pass to visit. The building served as the seat of power in Boston, with the Governor being the King’s representative. Local representation existed, but ultimately, the King was sovereign. The system worked reasonably well until the mid 18th century when the British parliament started imposing import taxes on the likes paper, paint, glass and tea. But the colonists had no say in these taxes and this encouraged the uprising. ‘Taxation without representation is a form of tyranny.’
This passage of history was transacted in the State House and the surrounding streets. And it was fascinating to learn how the new nation was born.
Boston is a great city to visit for a few days. It’s buzzy, characterful and has a huge amount of history to dive into. And for us modern-day Brits – expect to get a small dose of good-natured teasing.
In the interest of disclosure, we received a complimentary Go City Explorer Pass on the promise of writing about the city. If we had had criticisms about any aspect of the pass, we would have written about it. For more on our disclosure policy, read here.