James Otis, Jr. (February 5, 1725 – May 23, 1783) was a lawyer in colonial Massachusetts, a member of the Massachusetts provincial assembly, and an early advocate of the Patriot views against British policy that led to the American Revolution. His catchphrase "Taxation without representation is tyranny" became the basic Patriot position.
He was born in West Barnstable, Massachusetts. He was the second of thirteen children and the first to survive infancy. His sister (Mercy Otis Warren), his brother Joseph Otis, and his youngest brother Samuel Allyne Otis became leaders of the Revolution, as did his nephew Harrison Gray Otis. His father, Colonel James Otis, Sr., was a prominent lawyer and militia officer.
In 1755 James married "the beautiful Ruth Cunningham", a merchant's daughter and heiress to a fortune worth 10,000 pounds. Their politics were quite different, yet they were attached to each other. Otis later "half-complained that she was a 'High Tory,'" yet in the same breath "she was a good Wife ['Ruthy'], and too good for him." The marriage produced three children (James, Elizabeth and Mary). Their son James died at the age of eighteen, and their daughter Elizabeth, a Loyalist like her mother, married Captain Brown of the British Army and lived in England for the rest of her life. Their youngest daughter, Mary, married Benjamin Lincoln, son of the distinguished Continental Army General Benjamin Lincoln...
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