great elm liberty tree
Photo: Wikipedia

The Liberty Tree was a great elm that was planted in 1646 and stood about one block east of the Boston Common.

Prior to the American Revolution, dissenters of British rule, known as the Sons of Liberty, used the tree to hang effigies of men who supported the hated Stamp Act and also hung lanterns on its branches to symbolize unity.

As news of the Liberty Tree spread, local patriots in all 13 colonies formed their own Sons of Liberty groups and chose a large tree or erected a pole to be used as a meeting place. During the siege of Boston in August 1775, Loyalists cut the tree down and used it for firewood.

This act further united the colonists and flags with the Liberty Tree emblem were often displayed at many of the battles of the American Revolution. The Liberty Tree became a symbol for liberty and resistance to tyranny.

Even Thomas Jefferson wrote, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”