A Selective Listing of American Colonial Riots 1641-1759
Richard Maxwell Brown

Writing recently of the directed and semilegitimate character of eighteenth-century American rioters, Pauline Maier has noted that "not all eighteenth-century mobs simply defied the law: some used extralegal means to implement official demands to enforce laws not otherwise enforceable, others in effect extended the law in urgent situations beyond technical limits. Since leading eighteenth century Americans had known many occasions on which mobs took on the defense of public welfare, which was, after all, the stated purpose of government, they were less likely to deny popular upheavals all legitimacy than are modern leaders. While not advocating popular uprisings, they could still grant such incidents an established and necessary role in free societies, one that made them an integral and even respected element of the political order." - Pauline Maier, "Popular Uprisings", quoted by Richard Maxwell Brown, page 89, see below.

Year(s)ColonyLocalityRiot or Riot producing event
1641Rhode IslandProvidenceLiberty of conscience riot
1641Rhode IslandProvidenceLiberty of conscience riot
1654MarylandSevern River"Battle of the Severn"
1654-1655Rhode Island Political factionalism
1663-1750Rhode Island Boundary riots
1663-1750Connecticut Boundary riots
1663-1750Massachusetts Boundary riots
1682Virginia Tobacco plant cutters' riots
1690North Carolina Capt Gibbs gubernatorial claim
1699New HampshirePortsmouthSailors' riot
1699-1700New Jersey Land riots and mob assaults on courts
1703South CarolinaCharlestonPolitical factionalism
1703-1710New YorkJamaicaNonconformist disturbances
1704PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaRiot of young gentry
1705New YorkNew York CityPrivateersman's riot
1710MassachusettsBostonFood riot
1711New YorkFlatbushDutch church riot
1711New YorkNew York CityAnti-impressment riot
1713MassachusettsBostonFood riot
1718New York-Connecticut Boundary riot
1718North Carolina Riotous seizure of records
1719-1764New York-New Jersey Boundary riots
1719Rhode IslandNewportAnti-customs riot
1721-1737Pennsylvania-Maryland Boundary riots
1722ConnecticutHartfordJailbreak riot
1724ConnecticutHartford CountyRiot against ship seizure
1734New HampshireExeterMast-tree riot
1737MassachusettsBostonAntiprostitution riot
1737MassachusettsBostonAntimarkethouse riot
1737North Carolina Antiquitrent riot
1738PennsylvaniaSchuykill RiverFish-dam riot
1742PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaElection riot
1745-1754New Jersey Land riots
1747MassachusettsBostonAnti-impressment riot
1750PennsylvaniaYork CountyElection riot
1751-1757New YorkLivingston ManorAntirent riots by tenants
1751-1757New York-Massachusetts Boundary riots
1754New HampshireExeterRiot against surveyor of woods
1757New HampshireBrentwoodsRiot against recruiting for royal troops
1757New HampshirePortsmouthMob seizes longboat of HMS Enterprise
1759North Carolina Anti-land-tax riot


Violence and the American Revolution by Richard Maxwell Brown
Essays on the American Revolution edited by Stephen G. Kurtz and James H. Hutson, pages 117-118
University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, 1973