Representation of a County Convention

Date: 1788
Publisher: Bickerstaff's Boston Almanack
About this artifact

County conventions gathered in rural Massachusetts throughout 1786-87 to protest the fiscal policies of the General Court, as well as the Massachusetts Constitution that had been ratified in 1780. As in the years before the American Revolution, these conventions mobilized public opinion and expressed popular grievances. During the 1780s, supporters of the Massachusetts government and the state constitution condemned county conventions as illegal forums dominated by foolish rustics and demagogues. That perspective dominates this woodcut from Bickerstaff's Boston Almanack for 1788 parodying a county convention. The picture depicts a robed figure sitting at the head of a table. Behind him, a convention delegate displays a resolution demanding "No Courts nor Lawyers." The other members of the gathering seem to be more interested in socializing and enjoying the contents of the punch bowls.

text transcription icon

Courtesy American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, MA