Committees of Correspondence: the Founders’ forgotten blueprint for political organization
Committees of Correspondence: a step-by-step guide for reviving the patriot network
Reviving the Founders’ Patriot Network
On the surface, two places can’t be more different than Boston in the 1770s and Thousand Oaks of today, separated by 250 years and existing on opposite coasts. In this pandemic, it is becoming easier to imagine what life was like when subjected to the absolute rule of an elite. If you squint hard enough and look at the two cities from a lens of patriotic activity, similarities start to appear.
1: Both cities are hotbeds of patriotism in their area
With ideological encouragement from a pastor, patriots in Boston were at the forefront of protesting British imperial policy. In Thousand Oaks, a patriotic pastor is at the forefront of protesting pandemic lockdowns, and the city attracted high profile political protests and national attention.
2: Both cities existed under uniquely oppressive governments, exacerbating political protests
British Parliament had little regard for the rights of colonists and focused its repression squarely on Massachusetts, ruling it through a royal governor. Thousand Oaks is in California, in the most aggressive state in the union at curbing individual rights ruled by a governor with ruling-class pedigree and little regard for liberty, especially during pandemic-related lockdowns. The residents of both cities are perhaps more inspired than in other areas because the oppression is more intense where they live.
3: Residents of both cities protested the policies of their home governments 2,800 miles to the east
We tend to think of colonists protesting foreign rule by the British, but the colonists were British, and their home government was located in London, 2,800 miles to the east of Boston. Likewise, some Thousand Oaks residents are protesting policy from the United States government, which is centered 2,800 miles away in Washington, D.C.
4: Both cities were locked down by their governments
On March 25, 1774, Parliament passed the Boston Port Act, closing the port of Boston and shutting down commercial activity. On March 15, 2020, Ventura County declared a state of emergency and shut down virtually all commercial and social activity.
5: Both cities had a strong sense of community after enduring a high-profile mass shooting, but divided again along political lines
Thousand Oaks residents are scarred by the Borderline shooting in 2018. While the circumstances are completely different, the Boston Massacre in 1770 also deeply affected the surrounding community. The unity was short-lived, by 1772 Tories remained steadfastly loyal to the king, with patriots organizing to protest British policy. Just a few years after Borderline, some motorists make obscene gestures to and shout at flag-waving patriots and their families on street corners in Thousand Oaks.
One way Thousand Oaks would be forever linked with Boston
Patriots in Boston created a system for organizing politically that ultimately spread liberty throughout the land. The system was called the Committees of Correspondence, and without it, there wouldn’t have been a Boston Tea Party, a Continental Congress, and probably not even a Constitution or a notion of Founding Fathers. The Committees of Correspondence system is by no means an 18th century relic. After it did its job, the system was no longer necessary until another group of people found themselves in similar circumstances.