These days I continue to be amazed at the lack of understanding of the American public, in general, regarding the causes and reasons for the American Revolution. Ask anyone you meet, “Why did we seek independence for England in the American Revolution?” And invariably you will get one of two answers; 1) taxation or 2) taxation without representation. While it is true that taxation played a role, it is necessary to review history to determine if it was the sole, or even a major contributing factor. Yes, we find the various Tea Parties in the historical record, Boston and Charleston being two of the most notable. These have been the motivational impetus behind the modern “Tea Party” movement, and with the lack of knowledge of history most people see these groups as focused upon modern taxation.
First, why were the taxes imposed upon the colonies in the early 1760′s and 1770′s? Do you know? Can you tell me before reading further? This is a very important fact which must be considered, and we often overlook it. The French and Indian War was fought, variously cited, between 1754 and 1763. The battles and war fought on the North American continent was the American theater of the Seven Years War fought simultaneously in Europe between England and France. As a result of this war England incurred a very large debt and needed a means to pay it off. The reasoning of King George III and Parliament was since a large portion of the debt was as a result of having to defend the colonies and to send a large army to the colonies, at great expense, the colonies should share in the burden of paying for this effort. In actuality the colonists had no problem with this. What they had a problem with was Parliament, in England, without representatives from the people in the English colonies in the House of Commons, enacted these taxes without the British subjects in the colonies having a voice in the matter. The representative bodies of government in each of the colonies were not consulted, or even asked to provide their assent to the taxes. Parliament and the Crown simply passed the laws for the taxes and began enforcing them. Often the colonists found out about the tax at the same time they had to pay it for the first time.
So, you see, it was not so much the taxes which were repulsive, it was the lack of having any voice in the matters which was most repugnant. The majority of the educated leaders had received their education in England. They knew British Law. They knew the English Bill of Rights of 1689. They knew the basis of the English Constitution and the basic framework within which the Crown and Parliament were supposed to act. AND they observed how the actions of the Crown and Parliament violated these.
When the colonies finally decided to seek independence from England they drafted, and accepted a document to declare their grievances against England. It is very important to note how this document, the Declaration of Independence, so closely follows the aforementioned English Bill of Rights declaring the King, and by extension the Parliament to have abrogated the majority of requirements of that document.
The Declaration lists 27 charges against the King, but immediately before the listing it states:
The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world. (Emphasis added)
How compelling. Then come the charges, which become even more revealing in contemporary America (the actual charges will be in bold, in their original language from the Declaration):
He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good. (Sound familiar? Haven’t the DIC (Dictator in Chief) and many other recent Presidents failed to enforce laws legally passed by the Congress and signed into law by a different President? This would be called a usurpation and the establishment of tyranny by the founders.)
He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them. (Haven’t Congress, Presidents and the Federal Judiciary undertaken similar efforts? This would be called a usurpation and the establishment of tyranny by the founders.)
He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only. (Don’t we witness similar heavy handed tactics from the Federal government on a continuing basis over a long period of recent history? This would be called a usurpation and the establishment of tyranny by the founders.)
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures. (Hasn’t the DIC done this recently to attempt to force either the House or the Senate to vote “his” way? This would be called a usurpation and the establishment of tyranny by the founders.)
He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people. (Well, at least they haven’t tried this one, YET.)
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within. (Again, for the most part this one hasn’t been attempted, BUT the severe partisanship in Washington, DC have caused the nation to be “exposed to all the dangers of… convulsions within,” has it not?)
He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands. (In a sense the Federal government as accomplished just the opposite by encouraging the MASS migration of large numbers of ILLEGAL aliens to come to these States without punishment by REFUSING to enforce existing federal immigration laws. This would be called a usurpation and the establishment of tyranny by the founders.)
He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers. (As stated above the Legislative AND Executive Branches through multiple Congresses and Administrations have done, and continue to do this to suit their fancy and political ends. This would be called a usurpation and the establishment of tyranny by the founders.)
He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries. (Don’t Presidents attempt to establish their will upon the Judiciary, AND isn’t the current DIC guilty of trying to use a heavy hand to force the Supreme Court to rule in his favor? This would be called a usurpation and the establishment of tyranny by the founders.)
He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance. (Don’t we witness and experience the tentacles of Federal government reaching into every aspect of our lives, harassing us and consuming our substance today? This would be called a usurpation and the establishment of tyranny by the founders.)
He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature. (This is another which doesn’t apply, but rumors circulate on how the modern US military is being prepared to act against the population.)
He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power. (Again, not attempted, yet.)
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation: (Administrations and the Senate are assenting to treaties from the UN which do these (the Treaty of the Sea is a good example and is being considered at this time), and they are encouraging the Judiciary to rule in cases based on foreign law, rather than US Law. This would be called a usurpation and the establishment of tyranny by the founders.)
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us: (Again, not yet.)
For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states: (In truth the government has undertaken just the opposite, they have tried some members of our military for mock and supposed violations of laws based on false accusations. This would be called a usurpation and the establishment of tyranny by the founders.)
For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world: (Not all parts, but they have been very, very selective with whom we may and may not trade, establishing trade treaties and agreements which favor one and punish another. This would be called a usurpation and the establishment of tyranny by the founders.)
For imposing taxes on us without our consent: (In the midst of protestations, petitions and loud calls from the public Congress and the current DIC and others before him, have accomplished this in a continuing manner since the 1940′s. This would be called a usurpation and the establishment of tyranny by the founders.)
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury: (The Tax Court is one without a jury, as is Traffic Court, Stoplight cameras, and many more. This would be called a usurpation and the establishment of tyranny by the founders.)
For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses: (Again, not yet, as written.)
For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these colonies: (Oh, the things I could say about the establishment of civil government in the Southern States after the Civil War, a shining example of forced arbitrary government. This would be called a usurpation and the establishment of tyranny by the founders.)
For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments: (Didn’t the current DIC state that he was going to “fundamentally transform America” after he was elected? This would be called a usurpation and the establishment of tyranny by the founders.)
For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever. (Haven’t, and don’t our Presidents circumvent the Congress through the use of “Executive Orders”, thus investing in that office a “power to legislate” (enact law)? This would be called a usurpation and the establishment of tyranny by the founders.)
He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us. (Nor actually accomplished, yet.)
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people. (Not, yet.)
He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation. (Not that we know of at this time. Although, our military is subjected to random inspections and treaty validations by foreign armies and navies. This would be called a usurpation and the establishment of tyranny by the founders.)
He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands. (This is not occurring at this time.)
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions. (The Democrats are exciting anarchist movements — read “Occupy Wall Street” — and insurrections in our midst, and the Federal government in general has done this for a number of years by failing to listen to the voices of all sides within these united States. This would be called a usurpation and the establishment of tyranny by the founders.)
Notice, only one of the above charges against the King involved taxation, a mere 4%, that would make taxation a very small part of the reason for independence. Yet, I can count 19 of these same violations as being able to be leveled against our current government, or 70%.
We must learn the lessons of our founding to truly develop our language and actions in the present. It is time for us to follow the admonitions of Thomas Jefferson and conduct a new revolution at the ballot box, to overthrow the current corrupt system and replace it with one of integrity, virtue and honor; one that will adhere to the principles upon which this great Republic was established.
See “Missing the Mark… WHY?” for more.