Dozens of historical reenactors gather in Newport Saturday to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the Stamp Act Riots. The events were some of the first rumblings of the Revolutionary War.
In 1765, a group of Newporters, taking their lead from rebels in Massachusetts, rioted against the Stamp Act. The legislation would have levied a new tax on the colonists. It was approved in England, over the colony’s objections.
Elizabeth Sulock of the Newport Historical Society said the protesters went after prominent Newporters who supported the act including a loyalist named Martin Howard.
“They targeted his house, and they broke down the door, they tried to tear down the chimney, they stole his furniture and his books, so we’re recreating that but on a less violent scale.”
Sulock said about 40 re-enactors from across New England will relive the Stamp Act protests, marching through the streets of Newport in period costumes.
“We’ve got people who are representing upper class ladies, we’ve got craftspeople, we’ve got a printer, we’ve got sailors,” said Sulock. “So visitors can come, they can talk to the interpreters, they can learn about how the stamp act and the relating tax would have effected their lives.”
Sulock said it’s an important reminder of Newport’s role in the founding of the country.
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