When thinking of the Revolutionary War and our nation's founding hero's, names such as George Washington, John Hancock, James Madison, and Samuel Adams tend to come to mind. Although these men were great contributors, they were also of high rank, high education, and high society. Many of the commonplace individuals that also took part tend to be overlooked. In The Shoemaker and the Tea Party, Alfred F. Young tells the story of one of these "ordinary" individuals- George Twelve Hewes, and explores his involvement in the Boston Tea Party and the Revolution.
Between the years 1768 and 1775 Hewes became an active Boston participant in the events that led to the Revolution. Several important factors led to his involvement. First, "The presence of British troops in Boston beginning in the summer of 1768- four thousand soldiers in a town of fewer than sixteen thousand inhabitants- touched Hewes personally." (36) These soldiers occupied civilian buildings near Hewes shop, and bullied the townspeople after curfew. Hewes was also personally cheated by a soldier, and witnessed a soldier raping a Boston woman. This in and of itself left a bitter mind-set towards the British troops existence in Boston, with more infuriating events to come.
"From Hawkes and Thatcher three (additional) causes can be pieced together."(37) On February 23, a "large crowd of schoolboys and apprentices were picketing the shop of Theophilus Lilly."(37) Eleven-year-old Christopher Seider was shot and killed by a customs informer, Ebenezer Richardson. This event outraged the people of Boston. Second, Hewes called attention to the bitter fight two days before the Massacre between soldiers and workers down the block from Hewes's shop. During this fight, the soldiers were beaten and wanted revenge. Third, "the precipitating events on the night of the Massacre, by Hewes's account, were an attempt by a barb…