Does anyone know of the more radical political figures around the American Revolution?

Oct 2019
I've been trying to find info on the more extreme and out there political figures from the american revolution for a project I am working on. Examples would be proto-communists, people who wanted to have a more democratic election process and people like that. I know I've heard of some but I'm having trouble searching.


Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
Tom Payne. Also, the Pennsylvania Constitution was pretty radical, mainly because the elite there was almost all loyalist. The Republic of Vermont had universal sufferage and no slavery. Not sure if there were proto socialists.

In the English Civil War there were radical "diggers" and "levelers".
Jun 2017
The Loyal Nine of Boston; included Henry Bass, a cousin of Samuel Adams. This organization morphed into the Sons of Liberty whose founder, Samuel Adams was considered a radical.

James Otis: “taxation without representation is tyranny.”

The citizens of Machias, Maine who captured the British ship Margaretta.
  • Like
Reactions: Niobe
Feb 2019
Pennsylvania, US
The citizens of Machias, Maine who captured the British ship Margaretta.
I love this story... they basically chased down the Margaretta, using another captured ship and some of their own - had a bit of a high seas battle and took Margaretta.

I'm surprised there wasn't more of a retaliatory move by the British / Henry Mowat similar to what happened to Falmouth (Portland, ME)... but I think they could never get a good opportunity to attack Machias (the people of Machias wouldn't allow it :lol: ).
  • Like
Reactions: duncanness
Jul 2019
Pale Blue Dot - Moonshine Quadrant
Although he was apparently not much of an ideologue Ebenezer Mackintosh head of the South End Gang in Boston was a radical character. He named a son Paschal Paoli for the Corsican rebel who was at the time leading his ethnically Italian island in revolt against French rule.

Mackintosh was the street muscle for the Sam Adams and the Loyal Nine during the Stamp Act Riots. He and his gang pretty much owned the streets of Boston after dark in the back half of August 1765. At the time, the population of Boston was about 15,000 men, women and children. Mackintosh seems to have had between 2,000 and 3,000 people responding to his directives during the protests as they destroyed buildings, homes, and the personal papers of those who represented the Stamp Act infrastructure.

If you are looking for a theoretical radical, Sam Adams is probably your best bet.


Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
You might take a look at Button Gwinnett. He was head of the radical party in Georgia. They favored loosening the qualifications for voting (losing the property ownership requirement). He also favored a direct civilian control over the military, even to the extent of taking the field as the President of Georgia's Assembly and presiding over officer meetings and directing the campaign against Florida.
  • Like
Reactions: Futurist