If I were to ask you what led to the American Revolution, or our war for independence, could you answer with any accuracy; or would you just say that it began when the Founders issued the Declaration of Independence? Years after leaving public office John Adams once again began corresponding with Thomas Jefferson; having drifted apart from him when Jefferson openly opposed his Federalist leanings; particularly his signing of the Alien and Sedition Acts. In one of his letter to Jefferson he stated, “As to the history of the revolution, my ideas may be peculiar, perhaps singular. What do we mean by the Revolution? The war? That was no part of the revolution; it was only an effect and consequence of it. The revolution was in the minds of the people, and this was effected … before a drop of blood was shed.”
People seem to think that all revolutions are violent, but that is not always the case. In some instances revolutions come about simply because the mindset of the people changes and old beliefs and principles are found to be archaic and outdated – therefore they are abandoned and a change in thinking takes place which fundamentally changes the way a nation behaves. Violence erupts when that change in the mindset of people is resisted by one group of society, or those in power whose power is threatened by that change in the mindset of the people.
I think that is what Adams was talking about; the fact that the people living in the Colonies had begun to change their mindset as to whether or not they should continue living as subjects under British rule, and that the war was but a consequence of that change in mindset.
Therefore, to truly understand the revolution it behooves you to understand the events that took place which led to them changing their minds regarding a continuation of the status quo – meaning a complete and irrevocable separation of the Colonies from British rule.
I wonder how many people know of the history of events that preceded the American Revolution, and how far back in time they dated before the Colonies erupted into violence. In March 1733, almost half a century before the Colonies declared their independence, Parliament imposed a sixpence tax upon all molasses imported non English Colonies.
The Molasses Act was imposed, primarily, to appease the plantation owners in the British West Indies whose molasses was not being purchased by the British Colonies in America. Instead of British molasses, the Colonies were purchasing it from others, including Colonies under French rule; who Britain was in an almost perpetual state of war with.
Many in the Colonies opposed and resisted this tax; resorting to smuggling molasses to avoid paying the taxes due on it. It was not so much the tax itself that offended them, rather it was the idea that the Crown could tell them who they could openly trade with. In his Summary View of the Rights of British America, Thomas Jefferson mentions this as one of the encroachments upon the liberties of the Colonies by the Crown, “That the exercise of a free trade with all parts of the world, possessed by the American colonists, as of natural right, and which no law of their own had taken away or abridged, was next the object of unjust encroachment.”
I could bore you with every single act passed by Parliament which the Colonists felt violated their rights, but I won’t. Just let it be enough to read the words of Jefferson in his Summary View, “Single acts of tyranny may be ascribed to the accidental opinion of a day; but a series of oppressions, begun at a distinguished period, and pursued unalterably through every change of ministers, too plainly prove a deliberate and systematical plan of reducing us to slavery.”
I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but that sounds strikingly similar to the wording Jefferson chose when he drafted the Declaration of Independence, “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. 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.”
I know the attitude of some has changed regarding our Founders, but when I was growing up they were simply thought of as patriots; heroes from our past who fought for America’s independence. But is that all they were? Well, let’s take a look and see.
For one thing they were tax protestors; seeking any and all means to get out of paying the taxes their government said were owed the Crown for the defense and support of the Colonies. They were also smugglers; brining in contraband material their government had declared to be illegal. They were also quite keen at acts of civil disobedience – with the Boston Tea Party being a prime example. But they also hung tax collectors and the cronies loyal to the Crown in effigy; going so far as to ransack their homes – with the hanging of Andrew Oliver in effigy and the ransacking of Governor Thomas Hutchinson being prime examples. They tarred and feathered tax collectors and they assaulted officers of the law prior to these same officers opening fire into the crowd at the Boston Massacre. The openly resisted the Kings attempts to confiscate their arms, having the audacity to fire upon those sent to do that – as well as arrest troublemakers Samuel Adams and John Hancock.
My God, our Founders were a bunch of bloody criminals and hooligans. Hell, if the Son’s of Liberty were alive today they’d probably be on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list.
You couldn’t go anywhere in the Colonies in 1775, particularly in Boston, without hearing how the laws being enacted by their government was infringing upon their liberty. It was liberty this, liberty that, liberty everywhere. Patrick Henry declared, “Give me liberty or give me death” and he is applauded as a true patriot. Yet when someone like me proclaims the same I’m a radical and a threat to the public safety? What the hell is wrong with the people in this country?!?
Have we grown so soft that we will bend over and take whatever laws our government imposes upon us without the slightest resistance? Have we become so dependent upon government to provide for all our needs that we no longer even know what real liberty is?
In 1785, nine years after declaring their independence and just two short years after obtaining it, James Madison wrote his Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments, stating, “The freemen of America did not wait till usurped power had strengthened itself by exercise, and entangled the question in precedents. They saw all the consequences in the principle, and they avoided the consequences by denying the principle.”
That is the spirit that defined those we call our Founding Fathers; that spirit of resistance to tyranny. My question is, where has that spirit gone? What is it going to take for you people to see that your government is ten, no hundreds of times more oppressive than King George III was? What is it going to take for you to see that this oppression does not lessen under either the Republicans or the Democrats; that it continues steadily forward and can only culminate in the total loss of freedom in America?
When Patrick Henry gave his immortal Give Me Liberty speech he also said, “Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.”
I have taken that to be my personal motto; I am willing to know the whole truth, no matter how ugly or uncomfortable it may be, and to do my best to offset the effects of tyranny upon me and my family. If that makes me your enemy, then so be it – it only means that you side with tyranny over liberty – regardless of which political party is imposing that tyranny upon you.
You can’t do anything today without it being either taxed or regulated, and yet you call yourselves free. Your only concern is that those from your party gain the seats of power so that they can impose their brand of tyranny upon the people of this country. Honestly, if Stalin and Hitler were running for office today on opposing tickets I’m certain that people would vote for one of them simply because they had an R or a D next to their names.
I don’t expect to change anyone’s minds with the things I write; I believe that most people’s minds are too far gone to be capable of being changed. All that I can hope to do is leave a record of what happened; how Americans went astray, so that anyone in the future who loves liberty as much as I do does not make the same mistakes we made when we ended up losing it all.
That said, it does nothing to minimize the disgust and anger I feel towards a great many of my fellow countrymen for sitting back and allowing this to happen. As Samuel Adams said, “The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil constitution are worth defending at all hazards; and it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors: they purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure and blood, and transmitted them to us with care and diligence. It will bring an everlasting mark of infamy on the present generation, enlightened as it is, if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle, or be cheated out of them by the artifices of false and designing men.”
I don’t honestly care what my fellow countrymen think of me; whether I am ostracized and considered an outcast because I do not consent to our current system of enslavement – their opinions don’t matter to me. What I am concerned with is how historians will view me; whether I stood for liberty, or whether I bent over and let tyranny be rammed up my ass without a whimper of protest.
I may not be able to prevent the total loss of liberty in this country, but rest assured I won’t go into tyranny without a fight; without me raising my voice in protest. If things keep progressing as they have been, there will come a time when those who love liberty will either rise up and try to regain it, or we will be slaughtered and condemned by those who prefer the comfort of servitude; and may God have mercy upon you if we lose – for then there will be nobody left to defend your few remaining rights.
Sleep tight America, for liberty isn’t dead – not yet anyway – but it’s damned sure in intensive care.