Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Give Me Liberty! Thursday 03-18-2010

Patrick Henry, voice of the American Revolution, said it first and said it best, "I know not what course others may take, but as for me- I say,give me liberty or give me death!" What had old Patrick so riled up? What had all Americans worked up back in 1765? The Stamp Act.

The Stamp Act was passed by England to tax the colonists, unfairly, they believed, and it was at the heart of the whole "Taxation without representation" thing. You can thank Benjamin Franklin for focusing us in on the problem. We had the moral high ground. So what happened? We Americans rose up and kicked some British ass.

On this date in 1766 the Stamp Act was repealed. England backed down after the Americans got testy. The Sons of Libertystaged the Boston Tea Party, where they threw barrels of highly taxed English tea into Boston Harbor. Disguised as Indians, the Americans worked themselves into a frenzy and attacked the British ships anchored in the harbor.

I love the founding fathers, and I love this period of American history. I wish that spirit were still alive today.

Remember, all this was only over a few pennies of taxes. What would the founding fathers have thought of today's politicians? Not too much, I would conjecture. They were men of little subterfuge and lots of common sense. They never envisioned life-time politicians who were supported by the public for decades on end. I think the thought would have repulsed them.

This great experiment of American democracy is ongoing, and we still don't know how it's going to come out. One thing is still the same after all these years, though- we Americans still hate high taxes.

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