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The Child Independence Is Born: James Otis And Writs Of Assistance, James M. Farrell Jan 2014

The Child Independence Is Born: James Otis And Writs Of Assistance, James M. Farrell

Communication Scholarship

This chapter is a reexamination of the Writs of Assistance speech by James Otis. In particular, it is a reconsideration of the evidence upon which rests the historical reputation of Otis’s address. Are the claims by historians who credit Otis with sparking the Revolutionary movement in colonial America warranted or not? That reassessment begins with a detailed review of the nature and function of writs of assistance within the political, legal, and economic environment of colonial Massachusetts. It then turns to an analysis of the legal dispute over writs of assistance in the 1761 trial. From there we will ...