As much of an economic burden that British tyranny imposed on the merchant and wealthy classes in colonial America, the lower classes were subjected to even more distress. Whereas the merchant could often pass the additional expense of British duties on to their customers or rely on their own means of credit, people from the lower classes who plunged into debt risked imprisonment. Therefore, for many, the choice between defying the British and acquiescing to higher taxes carried the severest of consequences: "[C]onsidering the present scarcity of money . . . the execution of that [stamp] act for a short space of time would dreign the Country of Cash, strip multitudes of the poorer people of all their property and Reduce them to absolute beggary" (Hoerder 91). The common people, therefore, were not fighting for economic gain as a result of the American Revolution, they fought for the economic survival of themselves and their families.
Cognizant of the burden placed on the lower class by British tyranny, middle class groups sought ways to harness the resultant discontent. One such group was the Loyal Nine, one of many social and political clubs in Boston. The Loyal Nine was comprised of small businessmen with connections to town leadership: "The Loyal Nine became a kind of clearing house between top