September 1, 2014

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Getting cultured, talking politics: Boston

Chief Wahoo isn’t the only costumed Indian trying to start a rally.

Way back in 1773, a group of Bostonians dressed as Mohawk Indians snuck aboard a British import ship and pitched a boatload of tea into the Boston Harbor. This protest of British rule was a major stepping stone towards the inevitable Revolutionary War — and a key moment in the quest for American independence.

Politics in America don’t go too much farther back than Boston. Alternately called “The Cradle of Liberty,” and “The Athens of America,” Boston has always been a key player in political history and has had its fair share of colorful moments and personalities.

After Boston shrugged off its British overlords, it became a hub of cultural and political thought. The list of famous Bostonian authors (even limited to the early 19th century) is longer than the Cavs’ Larry Hughes’ medical history. When author Bret Harte visited Boston, he said that “it was impossible to fire a revolver without bringing down the author of a two-volume work.”

Boston continued its political and social dominance through the years. The mid- to late-1800s saw Mary Baker Eddy founding the Church of Christian Science, Harriet Beecher Stowe publishing “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” and Roger Clemens beginning his long and storied pitching career (just kidding, Rocket).

But times were not all sugary sweet for Bostonians. Where Cleveland had its burning river in the 1960s, 1919 brought the Boston Molasses Disaster. A huge wave of molasses rolled through the North End of Boston, killing 21 people and injuring 150. It was reported to move twice as fast as David Ortiz.

Just two years earlier and a few miles away, future president John F. Kennedy was born. As the first (and thus far, only) Catholic president, Kennedy bolstered the predominantly Irish Catholic population of the city. His younger brother Ted still serves as Boston’s senior senator.

No matter how you slice it, Boston is a strong part of America’s political and cultural backbone. They have had prominent writers, artists, politicians, and philosophers.

But they could use just one more reliever.

Contact Michael Baker at 329-7155 or mbaker@chroniclet.com.