Caucus Club of Boston

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Caucus Club of Boston

CAUCUS CLUB OF BOSTON. Boston politics was dominated after 1719 by a group of local leaders whose economic and social interests often conflicted with the royally appointed officials who led the province. The Caucus was led by Elisha Cook Jr. and included among its active members Deacon Samuel Adams, father of the politician Samuel Adams. Drawing its support from the artisans, small shopkeepers, mechanics (tradesmen), and shipyard workers of Boston's North End, the Caucus was America's first political machine. (The name "caucus" may be a corruption of "caulkers," the shipyard workers who lent their meeting place to Cooke's faction.) The younger Adams, already fascinated by politics, in 1747 helped found a group to debate and write about public affairs that its opponents nicknamed the Whipping Post Club. By 1763 he was a leader of the Caucus. Believing that the imperial government's restructuring of the empire after the final French and Indian war posed a mortal danger to the divinely sanctioned local government of Massachusetts, Adams rapidly became a significant figure in the resistance. As the imperial dispute merged with local politics, several groups grew out of the Caucus, including the Loyal Nine and the Boston Sons of Liberty. The Caucus met at the Green Dragon Tavern on Union Street, Boston, a building that has been called "Headquarters of the Revolution."

SEE ALSO Adams, Samuel; Loyal Nine; Sons of Liberty.


Fowler, William M., Jr. Samuel Adams: Radical Puritan. New York: Longman, 1997.

Warden, G. B. Boston, 1689–1776. Boston: Little, Brown, 1970.

                            revised by Harold E. Selesky