Old State House

Boston
MA

Portrait by Artist to Come

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Built in 1713, the Old State House was the seat of Massachusetts government in the 18th century — until it was replaced by the new State House in 1798. It is the oldest surviving public building in Boston and one of the most important public buildings still standing from the original 13 colonies.

Led by Samuel Adams, the freely elected representatives frequently clashed with Royal Governor Thomas Hutchinson, whose Council Chamber was also on the second floor of the Old State House (as were the judicial courts). Men like James Otis, John Hancock, and John Adams debated there the future of the North American colonies.

Just outside the building, five men were killed by British soldiers in what would be known as the Boston Massacre.

Two floors of exhibitions tell the story that the Old State House, and Boston, played in the American Revolution.

Part of the Freedom Trail™.

Because democratic self-government requires a special kind of culture — one that fosters self-reliant selves — the Protestantism of the Founding Fathers also helped the Revolution succeed. Their Protestant worldview placed an intense value on the individual — his conscience, the state of his soul, his understanding of Scripture, his personal relation to God, his salvation. It was an easy step for them to assume that, as each man was endowed by his Creator with an immortal soul immediately related to God, so he was similarly endowed with rights that are not the donation of Law, as Constitution signer William Livingston put it, but prior to all political Institution and resulting in the Nature of Man.

Myron Magnet
The Founders at Home: The Building of America, 1735 - 1817 (2014)