Boston's Faneuil Hall during the Revolution Research Paper by sinkopayshun

Boston's Faneuil Hall during the Revolution
Explores Boston's Faneuil Hall as a contested performance space during the Revolutionary era, 1765 to 1776
# 152363 | 5,740 words | 24 sources | APA | 2011 | CA

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This paper details the way rebelling colonists used Faneuil Hall as a place for protest and other paratheatrical performances thereby 'rehearsing' the American Revolution before the formal outbreak of the war. After the British takeover of Boston in 1775, the author further expands that the Faneuil Hall then served as a place in which the occupying British army used drama to satirize the rebels and reestablish their dominance over the city. This paper concludes that performance was an important way in which Faneuil Hall was negotiated as a space, and, within this context, that Faneuil Hall reveals itself as a significant monument in American theater history. Footnotes, a picture of the theater and many quotations are included,

From the Paper:

"Certainly Faneuil Hall was not the only place where the rebelling colonists engaged in these political theatrics. To a large degree, the entire city was a performative space for Samuel Adams, John Hancock and their Sons of Liberty, including Faneuil Hall. The most famous of these paratheatrical acts was the Boston Tea Party of December 16, 1773, in which around two hundred Sons dumped 342 chests of British tea into Boston Harbor in protest against the British Parliament's Tea Act. A few qualities of the event constituted this act as a performative one: first, the sons were costumed, either in blackface or as Mohawk natives. This was done partly in order to disguise themselves; however, the rebels were also self-consciously playing the roles of the Mohawks, as they used their disguises as a way of evoking the symbolic link at the time between Mohawks and the concept of freedom. (Whether this symbolism was known to the British as well or only to certain patriots is unknown, yet it is clear that the patriots understood the semiotic link between costume and meaning.)
"Second, and more importantly, there was a clear separation between the 'watching crowd' and the 'actors': Russell Bourne notes that "so many torches lit the scene that it was easy for the watching crowd to see the uplifting of the chests from the three vessels.""

Sample of Sources Used:

  • The Blockheads: Or, the Affrighted Officers. Boston: Printed in Queen-Street, 1776. Evans Early American Imprints 15213.
  • Boston Post-Boy 12 Mar. 1770, 3. America's Historical Newspapers.
  • Bourne, Russell. Cradle of Violence: How Boston's Waterfront Mobs Ignited the American Revolution. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2006.
  • Brown, Abram English. Faneuil Hall and Faneuil Hall Market. Boston: Lee and Shepard, 1900.
  • Brown, Jared. The Theatre in America During the Revolution. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.

Cite this Research Paper:

APA Format

Boston's Faneuil Hall during the Revolution (2013, February 01) Retrieved March 29, 2023, from

MLA Format

"Boston's Faneuil Hall during the Revolution" 01 February 2013. Web. 29 March. 2023. <>