On July 4, 2026, the U.S. turns 250 years old. A lot has happened in that time; we won’t get into it. What’s important, is that various cities spanning the United States have started dedicating Liberty Trees in honor of the American Revolution.
Revolutionary War groups planted one such tree in Ann Arbor, Michigan‘s Veteran’s Park; the tree not only honors the founding of the United States, but the original Liberty Tree itself. According to MLive out of Michigan, revolutionaries used the original Liberty Tree as a meeting place for protesting the British Stamp Act.
From then on, many Americans heralded the tree as a symbol of freedom. The British eventually cut it down during the war, but its spirit lives on in other Liberty Trees around the U.S. The local Sons of the American Revolution in Ann Arbor met with other Revolutionary War groups to dedicate the tree.
A Look Into the History of the Liberty Tree
On January 14, 1766, John Adams met with the Sons of Liberty to discuss the British Stamp Act. According to Smithsonian Magazine, Adams wrote later, “Spent the Evening with the Sons of Liberty, at their own Apartment in Hanover Square, near the Tree of Liberty.”
Bostonians planted the tree 16 years after Boston’s founding; it was over 120 by the time John Adams met with the Sons of Liberty. Smithsonian Magazine claims the tree represents the more radical side of the Revolutionary War, and therefore people forget about it; but, it’s important that those moments aren’t forgotten when we consider where we come from.
On August 14, 1765, Bostonians found an effigy in the Liberty Tree. It represented Andrew Oliver, a Boston resident who collected the stamp tax. Hanging from the effigy was the note, “What Greater Joy did ever New England see, than a Stampman hanging on a Tree!” Bostonians gathered and partied under the effigy, and didn’t allow the sheriff to cut it down.
“This tree was consecrated for an Idol for the Mob to Worship,” Peter Oliver, brother of the “stampman,” said at one point. That didn’t deter Bostonians from including the tree in all their revolutionary goings-on. When the British repealed the Stamp Act, Bostonians met at the tree and hung lanterns in its branches to celebrate.
The British eventually cut down the tree, and since then it has almost faded from memory. “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants,” Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1787. Still, there’s only a ground-level bronze plaque commemorating the original location of the tree in Boston today.
Many a violent act happened at the Liberty Tree; that doesn’t mean it’s not worthy of being a symbol of freedom. Rebellion basically built America, after all.