Faneuil Hall


Samuel Adams stands in front of Faneuil Hall. Faneuil Hall is where the Boston town meetings happen, and Samuel Adams, from the 1760s through
the 1770s, dominated the town meeting through his
caucus club, organized political activity, and leading the town of Boston in opposition to the
policies of the British Crown. Faneuil Hall, where the meetings happen, was a gift to
the town of Boston from Peter Faneuil, a very successful
merchant of French descent, French huguenots, that
is French protestants who had gone into exile in the 16th century and found themselves in New Rochelle in New York. Peter Faneuil came here, was a very successful merchant. One thing
he saw that Boston could use was a central marketplace, so he offered to build
one at his own expense. Other merchants were
very wary; why is Faneuil going to build a marketplace? He is going to control it.
Faneuil threw in something to sweeten the deal, he’d also build a meeting place, a place
for the town meeting to happen. So, the first floor
would be a marketplace the second floor would be a meeting
house. By a vote of 618 to 601, the town allowed Peter Faneuil to build them
a marketplace and a meeting house, Faneuil Hall. Its
first public function actually was Peter Faneuil’s funeral. After the Revolution, Faneuil Hall was too small to accommodate
the town meeting, so it was expanded. Charles Bulfinch,
who happened to be chairman of the board of selectmen, was awarded the contract to oversee the
expansion of Faneuil Hall, doubling its size. And in the 19th century, even as the Boston town government moved out, Faneuil Hall remained a meeting place. William Lloyd Garrison spoke here,
Frederick Douglass, John Quincy Adams, Lucy Stone spoke here. In the 20th century, John McCain spoke
here, John F Kennedy has spoken here. Many political figures have spoken in Faneuil Hall, still dedicated to the
ideas of free speech, free expression. You too can
speak in Faneuil Hall if you’ll pay the city of Boston a two hundred dollar fee for its use, and also you cannot
have a meeting that will advocate the overthrow of the government of the
United States. There’s experience in Faneuil Hall with
meetings advocating the overthrow of government, and we learned our lesson
from that.

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