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This Day in Boston History

July 7th, 1840

Daniel Webster on the Stump

On this day Daniel Webster, the famous Massachusetts Senator, went north to Stratton Mountain, Vermont to campaign for William Henry Harrison and his Vice Presidential candidate John Tyler.

A Baltimore newspaper had suggested that Harrison would gladly retire from politics to live in a cabin on the Ohio river if he were given cash and a large enough barrel of cider. Webster seized on the remark, and painted his candidate as a common man with simple needs running against aristocrats. They enthusiastically produced hats, placards, floats and even a transportable log cabin with cider barrels, and successfully shifted the political debate into a referendum on the candidates' images.

Harrison won the election, but died early in his administration. Webster joined the Tyler administration as Secretary of State, where he distinguished himself as the only cabinet official not to take part in a politically motivated mass resignation.


England's Prime Minister never expected this tea tax to cause an outcry, let alone revolution. In 1767, England reduced its property taxes at home. To balance the national budget they needed to find a mechanism for the American colonies to pay for the expense of stationing officials in them. The officials would generate their own revenue by collecting taxes on all imported goods, and once paid affixing stamps on them. This Stamp Tax generated more in the way of protests and smuggling than added revenue.

Religion. Politics. Rebellion. Boston’s pedigree was forged back in England in the midst of religious dissension, where Puritans and Pilgrims sought religious reform, and Cavaliers and Roundheads vied for political power. The question isn't where did Boston get its name – but how.

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