Commentary on the Suffolk Resolves

The final version of the Suffolk Resolves was written by Dr. Joseph Warren with input and unanimous approval of delegates to the Suffolk County Massachusetts Convention. Boston was the largest town in Suffolk County, so its resolves held special significance. It was the geographic focus of repressive British measures following the destruction of the Tea Party. Leading Massachusetts Patriots were away attending the First Continental Congress, so Warren’s work on the Suffolk Resolves  meant stepping out into the national spotlight from the shadows of his political mentor Samuel Adams.

The document is notable for memorable phrasing, distinguishing loyalty to the British Crown from subverting its Tory administration, specifying concrete measures toward establishing an independent revolutionary government, purging the militia of Loyalists, and laying out grounds for defensive military action. Joseph Warren orchestrated presentation of the Suffolk Resolves, via a dramatic ride to Philadelphia by Paul Revere, to the Continental Congress, where it was adopted word for word. This is regarded as a critical step toward them deciding to declare independence.

A step toward the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, authorship of the Suffolk Resolves provides the rationale for regarding Joseph Warren as an American Founder. He was Militia General for the area, and fell at the Battle of Bunker Hill (actually Breed's Hill). Had Warren survived, many think it likely that he would have been a signatory of one or both of the founding documents of the United States of America.