Episode 129: John Bell, The Road to Concord, 1775

How did the colonists of Massachusetts go from public protests meant to shame government officials and destroy offending property, to armed conflict with British Regulars in Lexington and Concord?

John Bell, the prolific blogger behind Boston1775.net and the author of The Road to Concord: How Four Stolen Cannon Ignited the Revolutionary War, leads us on an investigation of what brought colonists and redcoats to the Battles of Lexington and Concord.

About the Show

Ben Franklin’s World is a podcast about early American history.

It is a show for people who love history and for those who want to know more about the historical people and events that have impacted and shaped our present-day world.

Each episode features a conversation with a historian who helps us shed light on important people and events in early American history.

Episode Summary

John Bell, the proprietor and blogger of Boston1775.net and author of The Road to Concord: How Four Stolen Cannon Ignited the Revolutionary War, joins us to investigate how the American Revolution ignited into war.

During our investigation, John reveals details about the aftermath of the Boston Tea Party of 1773; What the Massachusetts Government Act was and how the people of Massachusetts responded to this punitive measure; And information and clues about the Boston Artillery Company’s four cannon and how they may have been stolen.

What You’ll Discover

  • Parliament’s response to the Boston Tea Party of 1773
  • The Massachusetts Government Act
  • How Massachusetts responded to the Massachusetts Government Act
  • Anti-imperial protests in rural Massachusetts
  • The Powder Alarm of 1774
  • How the people of Massachusetts moved from protest to war between 1774 and 1775
  • The New England militia system
  • The Boston Artillery Company and its field pieces
  • They mystery of Boston’s missing artillery pieces
  • Revolutionary sentiment in Boston
  • William Dawes, cannon smuggler
  • Why Thomas Gage ordered his soldiers to march on Concord, Massachusetts
  • The Battles of Lexington and Concord
  • Whether Thomas Gage intended to arrest John Hancock and Samuel Adams in Lexington
  • What became of Boston’s cannon during the War for Independence
  • Microhistory and how we can use it to learn more about the past


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Time Warp PlainTime Warp Question

In your opinion, what might have happened if General Thomas Gage and his men had secured Boston’s four cannon? Would anything about the course of the Battles of Lexington and Concord or the larger War for Independence have been different? 

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