The Charter Oak—a Symbol of Peace and Freedom

Updated on December 26, 2016
RGraf profile image

Rebecca Graf is a seasoned writer with nearly a decade of experience and degrees in accounting, history, and creative writing.

Symbolic sites do more to inspire patriotism than any word or action. It can be a flag, an effigy, a grave, a bell, or even a rock (Plymouth). These sites remind those that look upon them of their past and what the future could be. They show the world the pride and heart of a nation that can be hard to put into words.

The Charter Oak was one of the symbolic sites that helped push forward the American Revolution.

The Beginnings

This oak tree that grew in Hartford, Connecticut, greeted the first of the settlers in the area. It was already an old tree with a symbolic past.

Before any European took up residence in the Connecticut area, the Native Americans called it their home. The group that lived around the Charter Oak planted the tree as a sign of peace.

Much lore surrounds this tree regarding the peace it brought to the tribes and what it did to grow the Indian nations. So, before it was known as the Charter Oak, it was a symbol of peace for the natives.

Natives' Plea

When the Wyllys family purchased the land that the Charter Oak grew on, the tribes who lived in that area asked that the old tree not be cut down in order to expand the family farm. They asked that it be left alone to continue promoting peace.

The Wyllys family acquiesced.

The Start of Connecticut

It was in 1662 that the colonist of Connecticut received their official charter to form a colony from King Charles II. As with all governments, a chance in power means a change in all policies of former leaders. The same was said of England. James II took the throne and decided to cancel all the charters and get the colonies further under the Crown’s control. The king looked to Sir Edmund Andros to acquire all charters and return them to England.

By taking the charters back, the colonists would lose what independence they had and would be controlled directly by the king. Needless to say, this was not received warmly by any of the colonists.

Protecting the Charter

When Sir Andros arrived in Connecticut, he asked for the charter. Since the colonists refused to give in, there was quite a bit of debate as each side went back and forth. The colonists were much smarter than Andros gave them credit for. They knew that Andros was not trustworthy and had already formulated a plan to keep the precious charter safe.

The charter lay on the table between Andros the representatives of the colonists. As the discussions went on, Andros crept his hand toward the charter in an attempt to snatch it. The colonists were already on guard so this was no surprise to them.

All of a sudden, the candles were extinguished. Captain Joseph Wadsworth grabbed the much sought after charter and left the room. When Andros could see again, the charter he was so close to having was gone.

Tradition holds that he secreted the charter in a hole located in the ancient oak. There it stayed where Andros would never find it. A symbol of rebellion and pride.

Source

The Revolution

As the fires of the American Revolution were igniting, many looked to the Charter Oak as a symbol of their struggle. Just as it had been almost a hundred years earlier, the colonists were fighting for their freedom that was being taken away by the same Crown. Some accounts even have George Washington displaying Betsy Ross’s flag under the Charter Oak.

Moving Forward

In August 1856, the Charter Oak passed the torch as a standing symbol of peace and freedom. Mother Nature called the old tree home. In honor of what it meant to the country and those in Connecticut, every piece of it was used to make furniture that can still be seen today in some of Connecticut’s museums.

Though few today know of the Charter Oak, it played a huge role in shaping America. The natives respected it and saw it as a symbol of peace between the tribes. To the settlers, it was a symbol of strength and freedom as they fought to keep what was given to them. A simple tree that influenced more than most men would ever do in a hundred lifetimes.

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      No comments yet.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, owlcation.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://owlcation.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)