The American Revolution happened when a portion of the people in this country grew weary of their government enacting laws they felt violated their fundamental rights as freemen. America did not declare war against Great Britain; it merely declared that whatever authority Great Britain had once held over the Colonies had been severed, and that the Colonies were, and ought to be free and independent States.
Of course it is well known that war ensued, in fact, it had already begun before that fateful day in 1776 when 56 men pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to defend the principles they had just voted upon. The actual fighting began almost a year prior when agents acting under the authority of their government, the King of England, were dispatched to the towns of Lexington and Concord to confiscate their arms and arrest Samuel Adams and John Hancock; two leading troublemakers and rabble rousers who were a thorn in the Kings side.
I have seen and read many an article about the right of the King to send troops to uphold the law, and the right of the Colonists to fight for their freedom from tyranny, but I’ve yet to see any real discussion as to why the King simply didn’t let the Colonies go.
Over the course of the past weekend I have given this question much thought, and I have come to a couple of conclusions. First off, the Colonies were highly profitable enterprises for Great Britain, and if the King had allowed them to leave in peace he would have lost that income stream. Secondly, and this is maybe more important, I think it is simply the nature of governments, in whatever form they may take, that once they obtain power over a people they are reluctant to surrender it.
When one talks about the American Revolution they often think of the men like Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, Samuel Adams, Thomas Paine, and John Hancock. But what about the countless men who left their homes and families to go off and fight against the British, suffering disease, lack of supplies, and harsh conditions; just to defend the cause they felt was just?
Our revolution was unique in that not only did we have a group of wise and knowledgeable men who shaped the thoughts of a great many people, we also had a great many brave men who were willing to risk their all to defend the things those men spoke about in their writings and speeches. The American Revolution would not have happened had we had both; we needed intellectual leaders who gave us a cause worth fighting for, and a force of men brave enough to fight to the death defending it.
I think when it’s all over and done with one of the blackest marks upon America’s history will be the fact that we haven’t passed on a love of the history of our country to our youth. Sure, we teach history in school, but more often than not it is merely the memorization of names and events instead of a thorough study of the underpinnings of why those events happened, and how the outcome of those events shaped the future.
This so-called land of the free and home of the brave came into existence when brave men took up their arms and rose up to defend their liberty against their government, and its enforcers, when it sought to tyrannize and oppress them; meaning it sought to deprive them of their fundamental rights as freemen.
The Revolution could have easily gone the other way, with the British defeating the Colonists, and the leaders of the resistance being hung for their crimes. Fortunately for liberty the Colonists achieved their independence, and for awhile they truly were free.
Sometimes, however, I think that power; absolute power that is, is almost a living breathing entity and can sense a power vacuum. For you see, when men are truly free there is very little political power over them, their property, or their liberty. I think that power cannot tolerate this, and will seek to find a way to exert its control over the people if it senses a power vacuum such as the one that existed after the Revolution.
Was life perfect after the Revolution? Of course not, there were problems within the States with the various State governments. Some of them were run less efficiently than others and this led to problems; such as Shay’s Rebellion. The question one must ask is, when there are problems is the answer to increase the size and power of government, or is it to seek a remedy to the causes of the problems so that they do not happen again?
In 1787 a convention was called for to do just that; to seek ways to improve the existing system so that it could be run more efficiently. However, once that convention convened, and the doors were sealed, the grand plan of James Madison was unveiled; abolish the old system and replace it with a much stronger and more centralized government. As I said, power abhors a vacuum and Madison and his cohorts sought to fill that vacuum with a power structure of their own creation.
Rhode Island was so opposed to this convention that it did not send a single delegate. Patrick Henry refused to attend, saying he smelled a rat. Then there were those who did attend, but later left when they saw that the convention was overstepping its delegated authority. Finally, there were those who stayed to the end, but refused to sign the finished document, saying it did not sufficiently protect the rights of the people or the States.
Yet even though the convention had produced this so-called Constitution, it was merely a proposal for a new system of government; it had no legal binding authority at the moment; not until it me the approval of the people.
That, in and of itself, was a violation of the law; for the Articles of Confederation clearly said that any amendments or alterations to them must be accepted by the Legislatures of all 13 States before becoming binding. Seeing as how Rhode Island had refused to participate in drafting this document that was pretty much an impossibility. So what the drafters of this document did is demand that it be adopted by the method outline within their proposal; a 3/4 vote of approval from, not the State Legislatures, but by assemblies chosen from among the people themselves.
Now this may seem trivial, insignificant, but it let me assure you, it lies at the root of all our problems today. Prior to the Constitution being ratified America was a Confederation; a loose connection of 13 independent Republics; each having their own system of government which provided for the needs and desires of the people living within the individual States. The Congress established by the Articles of Confederation was established by the authority of and acted solely upon the States as political entities; it had no authority over the lives, property and liberty of the people.
If we were to remain a confederation, then any changes to the existing system of government would have to be accepted by the State Legislatures, not the people in general. But, if the confederation was to be abolished, and a consolidation to occur, then it would be natural for the people to say that they want to abandon the old system and replace it with this new one.
To clarify this, let me provide you with the opening comments from Patrick Henry’s speech to the Virginia Ratifying Convention on June 5, 1788, “I rose yesterday to ask a question which arose in my own mind. When I asked that question, I thought the meaning of my interrogation was obvious: The fate of this question and of America may depend on this: Have they said, we, the States? Have they made a proposal of a compact between states? If they had, this would be a confederation: It is otherwise most clearly a consolidated government. The question turns, Sir, on that poor little thing-the expression, We, the people, instead of the States, of America.”
I don’t normally include links to webpages within my commentaries, but this time I’d like to make an exception. Here is the URL for Patrick Henry’s opening speech of June 4, 1788. I urge you to read it, it is pretty short as far as Patrick Henry’s orations go. You may find his comments thought provoking: Patrick Henry Speech of June 4, 1788
Unfortunately, I think that Patrick Henry, and most of the other Anti-Federalists learned a valuable lesson during the proceedings that led to the eventual ratification of the Constitution; that being that people have very short memories and are quite willing to submit to measures that may cause them problems later, if only they be promised something good will come out of their accepting these proposed measures.
One can only wonder how our Constitution would have turned out had Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, and Samuel Adams been in attendance at the convention that produced it. One can only wonder how America might have avoided many, if not all of the problems she currently faces, had the people given the proposed Constitution a careful and thorough examination instead of hastily adopting it for fear of what might happen if they didn’t.
They say hindsight is always 20/20 and having read through both the Federalist and Anti-Federalist writings, I have come to the conclusion that the Anti-Federalists were justified to be afraid of this proposed Constitution; that most of what they feared would happen, has happened.
Those who urged the adoption of this new system of government made all kinds of promises, gave all kinds of assurances that the government they were attempting to establish would be limited in its powers, that it would not excessively tax the people or infringe upon their rights. The people, in their desire to preserve the Union, fell for those lies and adopted this new system. Yet even then, it was close. In some States the vote was so narrow that it could easily have gone the other way. Nonetheless, the Constitution was ratified, and the government it outlines went into effect.
Now that I’ve gotten to this point I can discuss two things about power that I withheld discussing earlier. The first is that, once established, power always seeks to expand its influence and control. The second is that it attracts men who seek to exercise power over others.
There were those in attendance at the convention which produced our Constitution who had argued for a much stronger government than the one ultimately outlined by their finished document. However their plans were thwarted by others who believed they went too far in granting this new system of government almost monarchal power over the people and the States.
For instance, James Madison wanted the Executive to have an absolute veto over all laws passed by the States. Alexander Hamilton wanted the Executive to serve for life, and be given the authority to choose the Governor and Legislator within each State as to make them amenable to the will of the federal authority.
But if you really think about it, hasn’t the federal government already obtained those powers? Although the Executive may not have the authority to nullify State Law, the Supreme Court certainly does; and it is part of the central government. Also, with the establishment of political parties, aren’t the State and federal governments both running off the same script; so to speak. Therefore, it is not the lives liberty and property of the people that the States are serving to protect, but whatever platform the majority party espouses that decides what laws are passed at both the State and federal level.
Therefore, if the people have forgotten, or don’t care why governments are supposed to be instituted, it is easy for the State governments to become just as tyrannical as the central government in that they both seek to enact laws that tax the people into poverty and deprive them of their fundamental rights.
Now let me ask you a question. When that happens, when both the federal and State governments become tyrannical and oppressive, what recourse do those who still love liberty have? What I mean to say is, who can they turn to so that their rights can be preserved and protected?
The simple answer is, no one. Therefore can it not be said that we are oppressed by systems of government that we do not give our consent to? And what, are we supposed to just meekly submit to them because everyone else in the country does? Do our rights not matter anymore; does our liberty no longer matter so long as our obedience keeps the peace for the rest of y’all?
The entire system, both at the State and federal level, is designed now to keep us enslaved to it. Think about it, if you were truly free you could own your land free and clear of any taxes and you could do anything you want with it. You may be able to grow a garden that provides you with fruits and vegetables for your own consumption, but try selling those goods without having to comply with all manner of regulations. And heaven forbid you try and grow a substance like marijuana and sell it for profit on the open market!
Of course then there is also the fact that if you wish to make improvements upon your home you have to pay all manner of fees, comply with all manner of codes, and deal with all manner of inspectors who monitor your progress. Not to mention the fact that whatever improvements you make are liable to bump your property taxes up higher; meaning if you want to fix your house you are going to have to pay more tribute to your god, government.
I constantly hear people complaining about the things government does, but it is always from a partisan viewpoint. The Republicans complain about the laws being passed by Democratic majorities and the Democrats complain about the laws being passed by Republican majorities. Yet I never, or at least rarely, hear people cry about the fact that government as an entity is overstepping its authority and restricting their liberty.
I truly think that people have this belief that life would end for them if we abolished government. Just look at how people go into a panic when there is a government shutdown. Let me tell you something brutal, if you NEED government so much that you go into a panic when it shuts down, then you are not free.
This almost religious devotion to government causes people to shut a blind eye to the fact that the government we have today is evil. I mean the Devil smooth talked Eve into eating from the Tree of Life, so why is it so hard to see that these politicians can smooth talk their way into positions of authority, only to turn upon those who elected them?
We Americans are so naive; we condemn other countries for things our government does right here at home. We talk about human rights violations in other countries when our rights are routinely violated right here in America. We talk about foreign intervention in our election process when our government has intervened in the internal politics of numerous other countries to benefit the interests of American businesses and industries. We cry about other countries invading the sovereign space of another country then send our troops off to do the same in the name of national security; and then we abandon them when they are declared Missing in Action.
Either we are such hypocrites, or we are so naive that we believe evil cannot grow and thrive on our own soil. Well evil is here; and it resides in our State and national capitals. And if we don’t pull our heads out of the sand and see government for what it is, then it will enslave us all and we’ll be left wondering what the hell happened.
The entire election process is a charade, an illusion that allows you to believe that your voice matters; that you have a say in what laws are passed. You don’t. Nobody gets into office if they aren’t playing for the enemy; and if they somehow do manage to get elected, the forces aligned against them are so overwhelming so as to nullify any chance of them making any serious changes to the system.
The only chance America has is if the people go back to the history of its independence and learn what it is that those men were fighting for. Was it for a strong economy; a multitude of jobs or benefits; security against foreign threats; or was it for liberty; for the ability to do what you want with your life and your property without anyone restricting you?
Unfortunately, that is just the first step. Once people accomplish that, they must develop a spine and stand up to the authority of their government, as did those who stood their ground at Lexington and Concord.
The government has us over a barrel now. They enact laws and have all these enforcers running around making sure that we comply. We dare not disobey them for fear of being arrested, or shot resisting their authority. But did that stop the Patriots of 1776 from resisting the authority of King George III?
No, for as Patrick Henry said, “Give me liberty or give me death.”
If America ever hopes to become great again, that is the mantra the people must take; anything else is just a continuation of the status quo and a continued slide into tyranny and oppression. And as Patrick Henry also said, “If this be treason, make the most of it.”