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The first germs of political extra-constitutional organization in the American Republic are to be found in the clubs of the colonial period, which flourished mostly in Boston. These clubs represented groups of men generally bound by professional ties (Merchants' Club, Mechanics' Club) or by ties of friendship, and meeting regularly in taverns or in private houses. Towards the sixties, when the relations between the government of the mother-country and the colonies began to get strained, the clubs naturally became a centre of political discussion, and very soon, reinforced by patriotic societies such as those of the “Sons of Liberty,” they supplied the impulse for resistance to the arbitrary acts of the British Parliament. Among these Boston clubs a conspicuous place was taken by the Caucus club, which included the élite of the patriotic party. In the more or less secret meetings that bore this odd name, which had such an extraordinary future before it, and the origin of which is still a moot point for the learned, public affairs had long been a subject of discussion, whether current business before the colonial Assembly, or, and especially, local elections. The first mention of such gatherings relates to a period preceding the American Revolution by more than half a century. Gordon, the English author of the history of the American Revolution, refers to the Caucus as follows: "The word is not of a novel invention. More than fifty years ago, Mr. Samuel Adams' father and twenty others, one or two from the north end of the town, where all the ship business is carried on, used to meet, make a caucus, and lay their plans for introducing certain persons into places of trust

1 See above, Vol. I, p. 120.

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