Case Study



Boston Tea Party Historical Society

Thomas Young, the Most Enthusiastic Patriot

Thomas Young was a familty physician of John Adams and also one of the most enthusiastic and radical leaders of the patriots. He was actively involed in all major revolutionary activities in Boston between 1766 and 1774, except … the Boston Tea Party. His inclusion in the most comonly used lists of participants is arguably an error. According to a report by a British government informant that described the what was happening at the Old South Meeting-House during the time when the destruction of tea occurred, Mr. Young was addressing the crowd with a speech about the medicinal risks of drinking tea.

It is likely that this speech was a distraction meant to help the Tea Party organizers by keeping the crowd in the Meeting-House while the tea was being destroyed. So even though Mr. Young did not empty the tea chests himself he is considered to be one of the active organizers of the Boston Tea Party.

Despite his role in the American Revoution, participation in the Continental Congress and the political work after the revolution, Mr. Young place in history books is less prominent. Perhaps one of the reasons is that he was not a native of Massachusets and arrived to Boston in 1765 after the Stamp Act protests. In 1774 he left Boston in fear that his family would be targeted by British soldiers. The other possibility is that his role was downplayed because of his views on religion which did not fit a profile of a typical patriot.

Mr. Young was not an atheist as some sources indicate, but a deist, a person whose worldview embraces a philosophy of natural religion, denying interference by a Creator with the laws of the universe.

He was one of the close associates of Samuel Adams. Adams himself a deeply religious man, nevertheless defended Young’s right unorthodox opinions and stated that it was his politics, not his religious opinions, that mattered. And his political views were one of the most radical among the pack. Young was known to peruse his ideas with great optimism and enthusiasm. One of such ideas was that legislatures should meet in buildings like theaters so popular audiences could give them immediate feedback on their decisions.

Young was involved in the post revolution nation-building and successfully suggested names for several cities in New York state and even the state of Vermont that have been previously named New Connecticut. His idea was to name the state to honor the Green Mountan Boys, Vermont’s first militia by combinging two words “vert” (green) and “mont” (mountain).

< Other participants of the Boston Tea Party



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