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™.

Washington’s courage thrilled his men. But he was not an enlisted man’s general. He did not interact personally with them, and would not let his officers do so either. Officers under his command who supped or slept in enlisted men’s headquarters were routinely punished. To Washington’s mind, discipline and hierarchy were central to maintaining unit cohesion and integrity. No warm, outgoing person, notes one historian, Washington bound men to him by his own sense of justice and dedication. Yet how his troops viewed him, and in what ways their opinions may have changed over time, is uncertain. Although nineteenth-century history books and old soldiers’ memoirs resonate with references to the commander-in-chief’s inspirational presence, diaries and other accounts written in wartime rarely mention him.

Edward G. Lengel
General George Washington: A Military Life (2005)