The Shoemaker and the Tea Party by Alfred Young

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The Shoemaker and the Tea Party by Alfred Young

            The Shoemaker and the Tea Party tells the story of a minor figure in American Revolution and discusses Americans collective memory of the revolutionary era. Alfred Young is a historian who seeks to light up the life of an ordinary Bostonian; George Robert Twelve Hewes. This book is interesting because it looks at the developments that led to American Revolution all the way through the life of an ordinary man who is caught up in larger events. The book also helps the readers to understand how the American society begun to change before and after the Revolutionary period.  Hewes was among the participants who got the chance for participating in key events of  American Revolution such as the Boston Massacre as well as, Tea Party, and also during the war he served as militiaman. The book also looks at the life of Huwes; that is, it looks at the ways in which people remember the past as well as, hoping to shape memories of the past. In summary, this paper reviews a book, The Shoemaker and the Tea Party by Alfred Young.

Alfred Young’s book The Shoemaker and the Tea Party takes readers to the story of American Revolution. The book describes various events, which shaped beginning of American Revolution as it is today in the United States. The story narrated is about the life of a Bostonian shoemaker by the name Hewes, whose dreams for preceding Revolution are overshadowed by more “appropriate” figures such as John Hancock and Samuel Adams. As a shoemaker, Hewes’ actions towards his work proved him as an honest and dignified man. Hewes was born in 1742, in Boston city, while passed in 1840 in Richfield Springs, New York. He was nobody who became somebody in the Revolution, as well as, a hero before he passed on in 1840. Despite the fact that he grew up poor and remained a poor man all his life, his meager possessions enabled him to learn how to deal with tough situations.

Much has been written in regards to the heroes of the American Revolution; Thomas Jefferson and John Hancock. However, Young provide his readers with opportunity to view the coming of American Revolution through Boston shoemaker; Hewes, who once repaired a shoe for John Hancock and delivered it to him at his uncle Thomas Hancock’s store. Hancock was pleased with Hewes where he invited him for New Year’s Eve to bid him a happy New-Year (Young, pg.560). During the demolition or destruction of the tea, Hewes worked alongside great people such as Hancock and Adams, doing what he thought was fair and righteous.

Throughout the book, Hewes worked under others, but at the end of the story, he turned out to be leading a larger groups by taking over a ship as well as, facilitating the dumping of the tea into Griffin’s Wharf. However, at some point Hewes had risked his life by saving a boy beaten by John Malcolm that resulted in Malcolm’s feathering. In spite of being struck on the head by Malcolm as well as, becoming unsuccessful, Hewes did not get tired of rescuing the boy, instead he continued saving him from the mob.

Alfred Young’s book is two stories linked together. For instance, the first story is about Hewes; nobody who at the end becomes a hero. At the beginning, Young searches the life of Hewes to find out why it had to take Americans a full generation .............


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