James Otis

James Otis

Picture of James Otis

This article on  the biography and life of James Otis provides facts and information about:

  • Who was James Otis?
  • What was his involvement in the American Revolutionary War?
  • Life and Biography of James Otis Jr.
  • Interesting facts and fast information
  • James Otis opposes the Writs of Assistance
  • British difficulty in enforcing the Navigation Laws
  • Paxton's Case
  • Educational resource for teachers and kids
Writs of Assistance
James Otis Speech Against the Writs of Assistance
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Interesting facts about the life of James Otis, the patriotic lawyer in colonial Massachusetts

Short Biography about James Otis Jr.
James Otis was famous as lawyer in colonial Massachusetts who argued that Writs of Assistance (Search Warrants) were a form of tyranny.
John Adams said that the role of James Otis in contesting the law and power of the British was:

 ď...the spark in which originated the American Revolution .... breathed into the nation the breath of lifeĒ.

This article contains a short biography and fast facts and information about James Otis. Who was James Otis and why was he famous?

Facts about James Otis

James Otis Fact 1James Otis was the son of a highly successful lawyer and militia officer Colonel James Otis Sr.
James Otis Fact 2James Otis was born on February 5, 1725 in Barnstable, Province of Massachusetts Bay in Colonial America
James Otis Fact 3His family became prominent patriots including his sister Mercy Otis Warren, and his brothers Joseph and Samuel Allyne Otis and his nephew Harrison Gray Otis.
James Otis Fact 4Prior to the events that led to the American Revolution the family supported the British monarchy and were Loyalists
James Otis Fact 5James Otis had an excellent education and graduated from Harvard in 1743
James Otis Fact 6He was admitted to the bar in 1748 and opened a law practice in Boston in 1750
James Otis Fact 7In 1755 he married "the beautiful Ruth Cunningham" who was and heiress and the daughter of an extremely wealthy a merchant. They had 3 children
James Otis Fact 8He was a talented lawyer and a brilliant speaker and writer
James Otis Fact 9In 1756 he was appointed Advocate General. of the Boston vice-admiralty court. The role of Advocate General. was the highest official post for a lawyer in the colony of Massachusetts and it was part of his job to prosecute smugglers
James Otis Fact 10His father, Colonel James Otis had been promised the position of Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, but in 1761 the position was given to Thomas Hutchinson
James Otis Fact 11The family were offended by this action and James Otis Jr. resigned from his position of Advocate General..
James Otis Fact 12His resignation enabled him to opposed the granting of the Writs of Assistance were issued to Custom Officers upon request and enabled British Custom Officers to enter any colonist's home at anytime without giving any warning, any cause and any reason

Facts about James Otis

Facts about James Otis
The following facts about James Otis provide interesting facts and an overview and description of the life and times and his involvement in the American Revolutionary War.

Facts about James Otis

James Otis Fact 13The search and seizure powers given by the Writs of Assistance were challenged by a group of 53 Boston merchants
James Otis Fact 14A countersuit was filed by a British customs agent called James Paxton
James Otis Fact 15James Otis represented the 53 merchants in the trial that became known as "Paxtonís case".
James Otis Fact 16He lost the case, but made a brilliant speech which was heard by the young John Adams - read the James Otis Speech Against the Writs of Assistance
James Otis Fact 17In the content of the speech James Otis argued that the Writs of Assistance were a form of tyranny and unconstitutional under British law.
James Otis Fact 18A famous quote from his speech is still used on a daily basis in modern times - "...one of the most essential branches of English liberty is the freedom of oneís house. A manís house is his castle..."
James Otis Fact 19In May 1761 he was elected to the General Court of Massachusetts.
James Otis Fact 20James Otis became political activist, pamphleteer and legislator working with the patriots and contributing work to Massachusetts Committee of Correspondence
James Otis Fact 21His political ideas became a part of the 1765 address that the Stamp Act Congress sent to the House of Commons protesting taxation of the colonies.
James Otis Fact 22The health of James Otis declined due to alcoholism.
James Otis Fact 23

In 1769 he was struck in the head by a customs officer called John Robinson who opposed his views. The injury left him mentally incapacitated and he was unable to continue in public life.

James Otis Fact 24

James Otis died, at the age of 58 years old, on May 23, 1783, in Andover, Massachusetts, after being struck by lightning.

James Otis Fact 25During his life he wrote many books including Rights of the British Colonies in 1764 which detailed his ideas on racial equality

Facts about James Otis

James Otis

The life and biography of James Otis is presented in a short, easy fact file format that is highly suitable for kids. The facts about  are a fast and accurate way to gain a good understanding of the life of this famous man who played a major role in the American Revolutionary War. The facts include the major events in the life of this famous man together with important dates and details of his family.

The James Otis

  • Life and Biography of the famous American Patriot and the Writs of Assistance

  • History Biography of the James Otis

  • Fast Facts and info about the Writs of Assistance

  • The biography is a great history resource for kids

  • Social Studies Homework help for kids on this famous American patriot

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