George Hewes: Growing Up Poor In The 1700's

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Growing up poor in the 1700's meant being subjected to the harsh inequalities amongst people and their rank. For George Hewes who was forced into the occupation of being a shoemaker, life did not treat him well. No matter how hard he tried, Hewes was never able to move up on the social ladder. "Where you ended up in life depended much on where one started out" (15). As a common man, the effect of the Revolution helped George Hewes and others transform society's views on equality among everyone. One of the first instances in which Hewes was brought to action was the fateful night of the Boston Massacre. Already aware of "how irritating it was to be challenged by British sentries after dark" (36), Hewes saw the crowd as being defensive against…show more content…
After standing up for a defenseless child and being called a ‘vagabond', Hewes requited to the insults with the fact that although he was a poor man, at least he was in good credit with the town and had not been tarred and feathered (48). Upon hearing Hewes' comments, Malcolm struck him on the head with his cane. After going to the courts and swearing a warrant, Hewes was told that the law would have its course with Malcolm. Not liking that answer, a crowd dragged Malcolm from his home and proceeded to tar and feather him. "What was lost to the public was that Hewes was at odds with the crowd. He wants justice from the courts, not a mob; after all, he had sworn out a warrant against Malcolm" (50). All in all, the people won that day and not the courts. The brutality, however, meant nothing to Hewes. He did not want to be the source of anyone's pain. He knew what it was like to be treated unjustly and that was not the course that he wanted to take. However, after encountering Malcolm after several weeks, there was a change of attitude and manner in him as Malcolm humbly acknowledged Hewes. "Hewes' mood was one of triumph as Malcolm had been taught a lesson. The issue for Hewes was respect for the poor, honest citizen who was standing up for a child…show more content…
While privateering with others just like him, there was a change in authority. Although he was cheated out of his wages and money, "what Hewes remembered was that the captain deferred to him and his mates, not the other way around" (64). All Hewes wanted in his life was equality and respect. While on board, he received just that. "Life at sea left a memory of rights asserted as well as respected by the captains and crew who worked together. There was a memory of respect from his betters such as George Washington, his captains, and even John Hancock. For a moment, it was as if everyone worked and fit together was one"

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