Thursday, September 14, 2017

Tarring and Feathering by R. S.

Tar, Feathers, and the Enemies of American Liberties, 1768-1776
1. The article is a chronological account of the origins of tarring and feathering and its significance during the 1700s in the New England colonies. The author illustrates how the shocking act became commonplace and how it evolved from rowdy sailors tarring and feathering unwanted stowaways to quaint young women tarring and feathering young men they deemed rude. The author uses historical accounts to convey this argument.

2. The author, Benjamin H. Irvin is a historian speaking about events that happened 400 years ago. The author wrote the article in in a third person omniscient point of view, knowing exactly what happened and when it happened. The author’s purpose in writing the article was to educate the reader of the significance of tarring and feathering in the New England colonies during the 1700’s. Because it is a historical account, and there is no way of communicating with people that lived 400 years ago, we are missing the voice of the people that lived during that time who were subjected to the act or engaged in committing the act, and how they might have felt about tarring and feathering.
3. In class we talked about how such a gruesome act became so commonplace. We discussed how the people of that time used tarring and feathering as an intimidation tactic to scare others from straying away from public opinion. With what we learned in class, I was able to conclude how tarring and feathering was used to silence opposing views with intimidation rather than violence. Although the act of tarring and feathering someone is violent, it was a much more pleasant than hangings, and the burning of “witches”.
4. In class we discussed the how the people used tarring feathering to combat the British, by scaring away British tax collectors and how they used tarring and feathering to scare off loyalists and enemies of the revolution. We also discussed how tarring and feathering became a way for people to punish other people with differing opinions, and those that didn't fit into society. We also talked about how women took an active role in tarring and feathering.
5. What I was left curious about was why people were able to take law into their own hands and offer such harsh and deadly punishment without any intervention from the real law. I was also left wondering how people were treated by the rest of society after they were tarred and feathered. Were they now treated as lesser by the rest of society? Was there any opposition to the act from those who sympathized with those that were punished? Was there always justice, or were some people wrongly punished for crimes they didn't commit?