• David Joyce

Historic Events: The Signing of the Leedstown Resolves

Updated: Jan 2


The American Revolution, inspired by cries for political and ecclesiastical freedom, has a deep-seeded and complicated history. From unfair taxation, lack of representation in the British government, and the desire to finally establish religious freedom, these are but a few examples. However, there is another reason for the flames of the American Revolution that is largely unknown. Like all historic events, there is often a domino effect, and in the case of the War for Independence, the Leedstown Resolves played a crucial role.


On February 27, 1766 in Westmoreland County, Virginia, one of the most important documents in Virginia was signed.1 Created by concerned British subjects, they felt their “Constitutional rights and liberty” as Englishmen were being violated.2 Although, they pledged their allegiance to King George the Third, they feared “the free and happy constitution of Government” was being threatened.3 Outraged at the Stamp Act where they were being taxed without representation in British Parliament, they banded together. Vowing to “support, maintain and defend each other,”4 they proposed yet another revolutionary idea.


Besides rejecting the Stamp act, these Patriots also vowed to preserve another law, the right to be judged by one’s peers in a court of law. Worried that the British Government was depriving “the British American Subject of his Right to Tyral by Jury,”5 they bound themselves to this pact. Declaring without fear of “Danger or to Death,”6 they risked their “Lives & Fortunes” by signing this document.7 Little did they know how this would influence the future of the United States.


Predating the American Revolution, the Leedstown Resolves helped inspire one of the most important events in American History, the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Just like the Patriots in Westmoreland County, the American forefathers risked their lives in pursuit of freedom. Like one domino knocking over another one, it can be said that the Leedstown Resolves was crucial in the birth of the United States.


Documentation:


1. "Resolutions, 1766 February 27, [Leedstown, Westmoreland County, Va.], against the enforcement of the Stamp Act in Virginia; Virginia Historical Society, Richmond, Virginia.

2. "Resolutions, 1766 February 27, [Leedstown, Westmoreland County, Va.], against the enforcement of the Stamp Act in Virginia.”

3. Richard Barksdale Harwell, The Committees of Safety of Westmoreland and Fincastle (Richmond, Virginia : The Virginia State Library, 1956), 99-100.

4. Harwell, The Committees of Safety of Westmoreland and Fincastle, 99.

5. Harwell, The Committees of Safety of Westmoreland and Fincastle, 100.

6. "Resolutions, 1766 February 27, [Leedstown, Westmoreland County, Va.], against the enforcement of the Stamp Act in Virginia.”

7. Harwell, The Committees of Safety of Westmoreland and Fincastle, 100.

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