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From gentleman's pistol to everyman's rifle : guns, honor, and society in revolutionary Boston Public Deposited

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  • During the unrest in revolutionary Boston, Massachusetts, social distinctions were often blurred, as Old World ideals were challenged in a New World context. Boston’s gun culture constituted one such example. As the colony of Massachusetts Bay moved ever closer toward a war with Great Britain, the use of firearms constituted a military necessity in the defense of the people. At the same time, cultural perceptions of honor colored the practice of personal armament, allowing those of the better sort to carry a weapon to defend their honor, and condemning those of the lower sort who carried a weapon as criminals. The colony’s attempted balancing of these two competing forces provides a unique view of the tumult of colonial life during the early stages of the American Revolution. The result of this competition can be viewed through the creation of a new definition of honor in individual armament.
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