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Desperate Sons
Book Discussion Guide -
Chapters 25 - 26

Chapters 25-26 bring our Desperate Sons Book Discussion Guide to a close! We hope you have enjoyed reading Desperate Sons with us as part of our American History Book Club. We have learned about the origins of the Sons of Liberty movement prior to the American Revolution, seen their ideals became the mainstream of political thought in the colonies and lead to the formation of a new nation. Thanks to author Les Standiford for making this book an easy and informative read!

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Chapters 25-26 follow the lives of each of the main Sons of Liberty leaders discussed in the book and look at longer term influences of the Sons of Liberty into our own day and age. General Gage issues an amnesty to any colonists who will lay down their arms, except for Samuel Adams and John Hancock. Both men will become governor of Massachusetts after the war.

James Otis loses his influence after he is assaulted by customs officer John Robinson in a coffee-house. Otis becomes distraught by the occurrence and gradually grows senile as he ages.

Christopher Gadsden, the Sam Adams of the south, served in the Continental Congress and became a general in the army. He later became lieutenant-governor of South Carolina and was captured and held prisoner by the British for more than three years.

Isaac Sears and John Lamb, the leaders of the New York Sons of Liberty, both serve in New York's militia after the war starts. Sears eventually flees New York and resumes his privateering business, while Lamb goes on to serve in the Continental Army, eventually becoming a brigadier general.

Paul Revere goes on to become a successful businessman, a manufacturer of church bells and the founder of America's first copper manufacturing company.

The Sons of Liberty have modern day movies made about them and groups as disparate as Civil War opponents and modern-day tea-partiers claim their ideals come from the Sons of Liberty.

If you have not yet ordered your copy of Desperate Sons, you can order a copy from Amazon here.

This page has Chapters 25-26 of our reading guide. You can also go to the first page and start reading with us from the beginning here - Desperate Sons Book Discussion Guide.

Find other book discussion guides on our American History Book Club page.

Desperate Sons by Les Standiford

Chapters 25 - 26:

Shade of Paradise and...
What Remains

Synopsis

  • General Gage offers a pardon to everyone who lays down his arms, except for Samuel Adams and John Hancock.
  • After the war, Samuel Adams becomes lieutenant-governor of Massachusetts under Governor John Hancock, and later serves 4 terms as governor himself.
  • Ben Franklin is chosen to attend the Second Continental Congress from Pennsylvania, the beginning of his most consequential contributions to the birth of the new nation.
  • James Otis goes insane and dies from a lightning strike.
  • Christopher Gadsden serves in the Second Continental Congress, as a general in the South Carolina army and becomes the state's lieutenant-governor. He is captured at the Battle of Charleston and spends 42 months in solitary confinement.
  • Isaac Sears continues as New York's militia leader after the outbreak of the Revolutionary War. He flees the town when the British occupy and resumes his career as a privateer. After the war, he returns to New York. He dies on a trading expedition to China in 1786.
  • John Lamb served as an artillery captain in the war and was eventually promoted to brigadier general. He became the US government's first customs collector at the port of New York City and served in this position until 1797, four years before his death.
  • Paul Revere becomes a successful businessman, a manufacturer of church bells and ships' outfittings and founds the United States' first copper manufacturing company.
  • Retribution is dealt to remaining Loyalists in New York after the war through large taxes, removal of the right to vote, violence and other means.
  • The book and film Johnny Tremain, the film Sons of Liberty and the craft beer Sam Adams bring the Sons of Liberty to a modern audience.
  • Modern day "tea partiers" align themselves with the Sons of Liberty's demands for less taxation and less oppressive government.

Discussion Questions

  • George Washington is often called the "Father of his Country." After reading this book, do you think the title is more appropriately awarded to Samuel Adams? Why or why not?
  • What do you think of the idea that the victors of a war and the leaders of a new regime control the published history of the events that led to their rise?
  • After reading about the great changes effected by the organizational efforts and communication efforts of the Sons of Liberty, in what ways could you drive changes today in causes that are close to your heart?
  • Do you think it was right for Loyalists to be punished after the war through high taxes, removal of the right to vote, confiscation of property and public humiliation? After all, they had just fought a war trying to conquer their neighbors.
  • What do you think of Sam Adams' statement that disobedience to a monarchy is justifiable, but disobedience to the laws of a republic is not? Are they the same?

Things That Caught Our Eye

  • How hilarious! The two most hated men by the British later BOTH become "lawfully elected leaders" of Massachusetts!
  • Isn't it interesting that most of the leaders of the Sons of Liberty, who had such a strong influence in the years leading up to the Revolution and in causing the Revolution, did not have much to do with politics after the war. They were skilled at bringing down the old regime, but it was not the same skill set needed to build a new one in its place.
  • Did you know Paul Revere was a manufacturer of church bells? Some of them still exist in New England today.
  • Sam Adams' assertion that disobedience to a republic cannot be justified might not sit so well with modern day Americans.

Quotes

  • "I avail myself of the last effort within the bounds of my duty, to spare the effusion of blood, to offer, and I do hereby in his Majesty's name, offer and promise, his most gracious pardon in all who shall forthwith lay down their arms, and return to the duties of peaceable subjects, excepting only from the benefit of such pardon, Samuel Adams and John Hancock, whose offences are of too flagitious a nature."
  • "Otis, by then adjudged 'harmlessly insane,' was standing in the doorway of his caretaker friend's house in Andover on an otherwise bright May afternoon in 1783 when a bolt from a lone dark cloud passing overhead struck him dead."
  • "They legitimized the very notion of resistance and, in organizing as they did, provided a means by which momentous change might be implemented."
  • "In monarchies, the crime of treason and rebellion may admit of being pardoned or lightly punished, but the man who dares to rebel against the laws of a republic ought to suffer death."
  • "That old Son labored long and hard to create a government in which every man owned a voice and no man bowed before another."

Comment on this chapter

Desperate Sons Book Discussion Guide Chapters

Chapters 1 - 3 Chapters 4 - 6 Chapters 7 - 9
Chapters 10 - 12 Chapters 13 - 15 Chapters 16 - 18
Chapters 19 - 21 Chapters 22 - 24 Chapters 25 - 26

Thanks for reading Desperate Sons with us. If you have not yet ordered the book and would like to, you can order from Amazon here.

Find other book discussion guides on our American History Book Club page.


Published 1/25/13

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