The Pursuit of Liberty 1765
Pine Tar, Goose Feathers, canvas and Pine
78.5" x 5" x 52"
After the conclusion of the French and Indian War the English monarchy levied a series of stringent taxes on the American Colonies to pay the debt accrued from 9 years of war and to pay for a standing military to protect English economic interests in the Americas. The taxes were widely unpopular in the colonies, who responded by organizing into loosely affiliated vigilante-political groups. The most infamous of these was the Sons of Liberty. The Sons of Liberty practiced several dramatic gestures of political defiance including the burning of effigies, printing and distributing incendiary literatures, the burning of the HMS Gaspee, and the Boston Tea Party. But no practice was as unique to the American unrest as the tarring and feathering of local tax collectors and loyalists. While the American Declaration of Independence and Constitution would eventually be drafted by an educated elite, the conflict preceding the war was waged by vigilantes who utilized the more brutal and dire tactics of political unrest of that era.