About Two-hundred and forty years ago. About 10 generations.
1765 was a year that was much like 2009. The majority of Americans “woke-up” to the realization that their government had become tyrants, obsessed with controlling them to control the products of their labor. Governments are instituted among men to secure the blessings of Liberty, not to enslave themselves.
1765 was the year that changed everything.
1765 TimelineLike 2009, 1765 was a year that transformed America.
• March 22 The British Parliament passes the Stamp Act, which is the first direct tax levied from Great Britain on the American colonies.
• March 1765 Parliament passed the Quartering Act, as an Amendment to the Mutiny Act, which had to be renewed annually by Parliament. The Quartering Act required Colonies to quarter and provision British troops.
• August 26 In protest of the Stamp Act, Bostonians destroy home of lieutenant governor Thomas Hutchinson
• October 17 The Pennsylvania Gazette reports that a Mr. McCullough, the Distributor of Stamps for the Royal Colony of North Carolina, has resigned his post in protest of the Stamp Act. A Dr. Huston is appointed to the position.
• November 1 The Stamp Act goes into effect in the 13 colonies, in order to help pay for British military operations in North America.
• December 12 The Pennsylvania Gazette reports that Dr. Huston, the recently instated Distributor of Stamps for the Royal Colony of North Carolina, has resigned his post in protest of the Stamp Act.
Some bureaucrats resigned, but there were plenty of quislings to take their place.
Historian Gary B. Nash wrote:
"Whether stimulated externally or ignited internally, ferment during the years from 1761 to 1766 changed the dynamics of social and political relations in the colonies and set in motion currents of reformist sentiment with the force of a mountain wind. Critical to this half decade was the colonial response to England’s Stamp Act, more the reaction of common colonists than that of their presumed leaders. …During the Stamp Act unrest of 1765 and early 1766, increasing numbers of soldiers were stationed in or near American cities. Some of those were new units brought from England; others were transferred from western posts, a move that enabled the Indians to regain the offensive on some portions of the frontier.
Both loyal supporters of English authority and well-established colonial protest leaders underestimated the self-activating capacity of ordinary colonists. By the end of 1765 … people in the streets had astounded, dismayed, and frightened their social superiors."
King George III was willing to lose the Indian Wars, as long as the people could be kept in their place and their money flowed into the government.
That’s a view of people as a resource to be extracted and harvested for the good of the State. Today, North Korea understands this mentality. China, Russia, and East Block Europeans understand this view of the State.
Forcing compliance, and making the victim pay for the means of his own enslavement.
There was a slower pace to life back then. The King never got on National TV to address the nation. There was no internet. Communications, travel, everything took longer to develop.
Incrementally, the liberty of the people was eroded by a long train of abuses. Tyranny needs money and obedience. That generation where trapped in a situation that repeats throughout history. They tried everything; speech, voting, courts, and could find no redress. Tyranny was relentless and intolerable. They came to understand that it was their duty to throw off such Government themselves. Washington, Franklin, Adams, Jefferson, Hancock, Hamilton and an much of the population banded together to resist tyranny. (About 30% resisted. About 30% remained neutral. And about 30-40% always remained loyal to the crown.)
By 1775, the government had dug in and was intent on pushing their wishes onto the people - whether the people wanted it or not. All this free speech and talk of Liberty was getting in the way of collecting money.
• February 9 - The Parliament of Great Britain declares Massachusetts in rebellion.
• March 23 – Patrick Henry, a delegate to the Second Virginia Convention after the Virginia House of Burgesses was disbanded by the Royal Governor, delivers his "Give me Liberty, or give me Death!" speech at St. John's Church in Richmond, Virginia.
• April 18 – Paul Revere and William Dawes, instructed by Dr. Joseph Warren, ride from Boston to Lexington to warn John Hancock and Sam Adams that British forces are coming to take them prisoner and to seize colonial weapons and ammunition in Concord.
• April 19 – Hostility between Britain and its American colonies explodes into bloodshed at the Battles of Lexington and Concord on the 19th, which ignites the American Revolution.
• May 10 - The Second Continental Congress meets, elects John Hancock president, raises the Continental Army under George Washington as commander and authorizes the colonies to adopt their own constitutions.
• May 10 - Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold, leading the Green Mountain Boys of Vermont, capture Fort Ticonderoga.
• May 17 – The Continental Congress bans trade with Canada.
• June 12 – The British forces offer a pardon to all colonists who lay down their arms.
• June 14 – The Continental Congress names George Washington as commander of the Continental Army.
• June 17 – Two months into the colonial siege of Boston, British open fire on Breed's Hill on Charles Town Peninsula. After 3 charges, the British take the hill in the misnamed Battle of Bunker Hill.
• July 3 – George Washington takes command of the 17,000-man Continental Army at Cambridge.
• July 5 – The Continental Congress sends the Olive Branch Petition, hoping for a reconciliation.
• July 6 – The Continental Congress issues Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms, which contains the words: "Our cause is just. Our union is perfect... being with one mind resolved to die freemen rather than to live slaves...".
• July 26 – The Second Continental Congress appoints Benjamin Franklin to be the first Postmaster General of what later becomes the United States Post Office Department.
• August 21 – Battle of Fort St. Jean: American rebels launch an invasion of Canada.
• August 23 – Refusing to even look at the Olive Branch Petition, King George issues a Proclamation of Rebellion against the American colonies.
• August 29 – September 12 – The Independence Hurricane from South Carolina to Nova Scotia kills 4,170, mostly fishermen and sailors.
• September 25 – Battle of Montreal: Patriot revolutionary forces under Maj. Ethan Allen attack Montreal, commanded by British General Guy Carleton. Allen's forces are defeated, and Allen himself is captured and held on British ships until he is later released.
• October – The Sayre Plotters attempt to kidnap George III of the United Kingdom.
• October 13 – The Continental Congress orders the establishment of the Continental Navy (later the United States Navy).
• November – Colonel Richard Richardson's South Carolina revolutionaries march through Ninety Six District in what becomes known as the Snow Campaign, effectively ending all major support for the Loyalist cause in the backcountry of South Carolina.
• November 10 – The Continental Congress passes a resolution creating the Continental Marines to serve as landing troops for the recently created Continental Navy (the Marines are disbanded at end of the war in April 1783 but reformed on July 11, 1798 as the United States Marine Corps).
• November 13 – Battle of Montreal: American forces under Brigadier General Richard Montgomery capture Montreal. British General Guy Carleton escapes to Quebec.
• October 26 – George III announces to Parliament that the American colonies are in an uprising and must be dealt with accordingly.
• December 5 – Henry Knox begins his journey to Cambridge, Massachusetts with the artillery that has been captured from Fort Ticonderoga.
• December 9 – Culpeper Minute Men and Virginia Militia defeat British army at Great Bridge, forcing British forces to abandon Virginia.
• December 31 – British forces repulse an attack by Continental Army generals Richard Montgomery and Benedict Arnold at Quebec.
By 1775 they saw that the abuses would continue and saw the government using force to make them obey. The change happened quickly, once they understood that the King sought to enslave them for his own puposes.
Once the will is in place, and the acceptance of death ... then pro-active people get shit done.
By 1776, the Revolution was in full swing. It has been estimated that never more than 3% of Americans were able to fight for the Revolution, while 10% actively supplied, fed, and armed the rebellion. At that time, many of the men we consider Founding Fathers had their businesses in ruins, had prices on their head, and they were fighting the strongest military power on earth. They made a Declaration, saying
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. 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. …And they made an oath to one another
And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
Reading slowly through the Declaration really strikes home today. What they were facing, and the principled position they took.
The Despot's view is that the machinery of state uses and controls the people.
The American view is that the people use and control the State.
Governance is a balancing act, and the framers gave the people enough power to contain the beast that they were creating. But the beast doesn’t like control, and wants to be fed more and more. Ten generations later, the State is a gigantic aggressive beast; and people scurry to stay out of it’s way while it plunders the accumulated wealth of generations, and robs our children’s future.
With a new year just around the corner, we all wonder what it will bring...
Will it be like 1766 or 1774 (start/end of continued train of abuses)?
Or 1775 (general secession/nullification/restoration/widespread use of force)?
1861 (civil war resolving into geographical regions)?
1973 (abandoning a war, riots, and impeachable offenses)?
And maybe some 1984 (Orwell), too?
My 2 cents is on 1775.