Considering the entire length of civilization, America’s existence as a country — 234 years — is but a short time. In fact, more years passed between 1492, when Columbus discovered the New World, and 1773, when colonists began the series of events that would lead to independence.
Yet, across the ages, America’s birth stands as the singular moment of change in man’s relation to man.
Yes, our Founders used the Declaration of Independence to explain to the world all the reasons for separating from the British and King George III, specifying: “A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant (who) is unfit to be…”
And, more importantly, the Founders declared to the world their commitment to a new nation in which individual liberty is paramount, and the primacy of self-government is the cornerstone of a free society.
But, tyrants – then and now – do not listen to their subject’s pleas and remonstrations for relief. Nor do tyrants accept their subjects’ desire for personal freedom, individual responsibility, property rights and free markets.
The Founders describe the behavior of the king and the legislators as:
“He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution … unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended legislation. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity.”
Instead, throughout history, tyrants – and like-minded legislators – typically implement still more oppressive laws, regulations, taxes and fees — some, under a nefarious definition of “change” — that, like George III and the British legislators, continue “a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism.”
What started the colonists on the path to independence?
Here’s a brief synopsis:
The seeds for colonial independence were planted right after The French and Indian War. Also known, to Europeans, as the Seven Years War, as noted by historyplace.com, “the Sugar Act was passed by the English Parliament to offset the war debt … and to help pay for the expenses of running the colonies and newly acquired territories.”
Colonists felt the British were making laws that took away too many of their freedoms.
Legislation such as the Stamp Act and the Sugar Act “put very high taxes on daily necessities such as paper, sugar, textiles, coffee and indigo (dye).”
Then, along came the Boston Tea Party.
Patriot leader Josiah Quincy Jr. said the event will lead “to the most trying and terrific struggle this country ever saw.”
Quincy was right.
In response, Britain installed a series of laws, which the colonists called the “Intolerable Acts.”
But, rather than keep the colonists down, the “Intolerable Acts stirred the revolutionary spirit to a fever pitch.”
Before long, the Second Continental Congress was called and the rest is history — American history.