• Weird History

The History Channel's 'Sons of Liberty' Is Flat-Out Lying To You

Television series depicting real events don't always get the facts right, and the historical inaccuracies in Sons of Liberty make that all too clear. Shows like The Vikings and Sons of Liberty give viewers insights about certain time periods, but they focus mostly on entertainment. Specifically, in the History Channel's revolutionary-era miniseries, flagrant lies make the formative time in American history look much more glamorous than it was.

Moreover, the program's romantic depictions of the Founding Fathers make it seem like Sons of Liberty is less about fact and more about fiction.

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  • A Few Facts About Sam Adams Are Totally Wrong

    Samuel Adams was 43 in 1765. But in the show, he's portrayed by 34-year-old British actor Ben Barnes. Adams is also depicted as poor. In reality, the man was from a well-off family. Adams struggled while working at the family brewery, but he eventually took over in 1748 and became increasingly politically active.

    Additionally, Sons of Liberty shows Adams as a bit of a player; he even flirts with his cousin's wife. In reality, though, he was a twice-married man.

  • General Thomas Gage Wasn't In Boston In 1765

    The antagonist on the show, British General Thomas Gage, is depicted as an authoritative brute. In reality, though, he wasn't in Boston, MA, in 1765. Gage served during the French and Indian War in the 1750's and was made governor of Montreal in 1760.

    In 1763, he became commander of all British forces in North America, but was headquartered in New York. Gage visited Boston in 1768, but he didn't spend much time there until becoming military governor of Massachusetts in 1774.

  • Thomas Hutchinson Wasn't Actually The Governor Until 1771

    Sons of Liberty suggests Thomas Hutchinson was governor of Massachusetts when his mansion was sacked in 1765. Research proves, however, the man was the lieutenant governor at the time. He didn't officially become governor until 1771.

    As for the attack on Hutchinson's house, it wasn't the result of a warrant for Samuel Adams's arrest, although Adams did owe money from his failed stint as a tax collector. Rather, in reaction to the Stamp Act of 1765, colonists rose up against what they perceived as oppression.

  • The Show Leaves Out Several Key Victories

    In September 1764, almost 5,000 militia men marched through the streets of Worcester, MA, ready for a fight. They were expecting to find Thomas Gage and his men waiting, because the British leader said he'd be there. The Massachusetts town had become the center of a major uprising. Citizens were outraged about being mistreated, but Gage's forces never showed up.

    In fact, Gage backed down, and the populace won a victory at Worcester. The Worcester Revolution of 1774, as it has been called, was one of several key early victories for groups like the Sons of Liberty. This battle goes unmentioned in the History Channel series. The establishment of a provisional government and the Committee of Correspondence in 1773, both huge revolutionary moments, were also omitted