Tag Archive for: Tea Party

The Real Origin of the Tea Party Movement

247 Years of Resisting Tyranny

I recently read with joy a conservative blogger’s attempt to connect the TEA party movement to its historic roots; a topic I have been meaning to write about for months now. The blogger rightly said that the “the historical precedent for the TPM wasn’t the Tea Party event in Boston Harbor on December 16, 1773.” I actually uttered an “Amen, brother!” He went on to describe the Continental Association established on October 20, 1774 by the First Continental Congress in response to the Intolerable Acts. That’s when I realized that I have waited long enough to write this article.

The fact is the Continental Association of 1774 (10 months after the Boston Tea Party) is about 10 years too late. The first organized opposition to a tyrannical government in the colonies came in 1764 in the form of the Committees of Correspondence.

In April 1764 Parliament passed the Sugar and Molasses Act. These laws were originally passed in 1733 at the insistence of the large plantation owners in the British West Indies (can you say lobbyists?) The six-pence tax was never successfully collected, and so the Sugar Act actually cut the tax in half but stepped up enforcement. At the same time, the Sugar Act taxed the sugar, coffee, wine, and spices the colonists used, and also regulated the export of lumber and iron. This “excessive taxation and regulation” immediately impaired the colonial economy. In conjunction with the Sugar Act, parliament passed the Currency Act, which essentially assumed control of the colonial monetary system. The Currency Act also established “superior” Vice-admiralty courts to ensure rulings favorable to British interests.

In 1764 the colonies were in the midst of a depressed economy due to the protracted Seven Years’ War, so these indirect taxes and restrictive laws were particularly grievous. In addition to the economic impact, the psychological impact was particularly offensive. The Sugar Act not only restricted the exports by the colonists, but gave an economic “leg up” to the British West Indies. This reinforced the second class status often attributed to the colonists by the British “mainlanders”. The ports of New England were hit especially hard due to the taxes, regulation and government interference. Many of the merchants were in danger of being driven out of the market into bankruptcy.

So in 1764 the first “grass roots” opposition to tyranny in the colonies took shape in the form of a Committee of Correspondence in Boston. The colonists did not have email, smart phones, Facebook or blogs, so the Committees of Correspondence served as a means of communication on issues that needed collective attention. The committee in Boston wrote to other colonies to rally united opposition to the Sugar Act and the Currency Act sparking anti-government protests among the colonists.

On the heels of these protests the Parliament, deciding to clamp down on the rebellious colonists, passed the first Stamp Act and Quartering Act of 1765, and New York formed its Committee of Correspondence to rally resistance to the new taxes and tyranny. Massachusetts Bay committee then sent out letters urging other colonies to send representatives to a Stamp Act Congress in the fall.

As a decade of hostility between the royal government and the colonists rolled on, Boston set up the first Committee with the approval of a town meeting 1772. By spring 1773, patriots decided to follow the Massachusetts system and began to set up their own Committees in each colony. By February 1774, 11 colonies had set up Committees of Correspondence. The Committees would eventually be the basis for the Continental Congress and the Continental Association of 1774. As the revolutionary period unfolded the Committees of Correspondence would become the basis for the future legislative bodies in America. Yet it all began in 1764 as a citizen movement in response to an oppressive government that would not respond to or respect the wishes of the people.

Two of the men behind the movement were Samuel Adams and James Otis Jr.

Mr. Otis was an attorney who had gained notoriety for his pro bono representation of colonial merchants challenging the authority of the writs of assistance in 1761. These writs enabled British authorities to enter any colonist’s home with no advance notice, no probable cause and no reason given. (Today these writs are called national security letters and are authorized under the Patriot Act.) John Adams said of Otis’ five-hour oration in the Boston State House that

“the child independence was then and there born, [for] every man of an immense crowded audience appeared to me to go away as I did, ready to take arms against writs of assistance.”

Also speaking of Otis, John Adams said,

“I have been young and now I am old, and I solemnly say I have never known a man whose love of country was more ardent or sincere, never one who suffered so much, never one whose service for any 10 years of his life were so important and essential to the cause of his country as those of Mr. Otis from 1760 to 1770.”

Better known was Samuel Adams, a representative of the local Boston assembly and member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives. Samuel Adams had this to say in May 1764:

“For if our Trade may be taxed, why not our Lands? Why not the Produce of our Lands & everything we possess or make use of? This we apprehend annihilates our Charter Right to govern & tax ourselves. It strikes at our British privileges, which as we have never forfeited them, we hold in common with our Fellow Subjects who are Natives of Britain. If Taxes are laid upon us in any shape without our having a legal Representation where they are laid, are we not reduced from the Character of free Subjects to the miserable State of tributary Slaves?”

Samuel Adams would later organize the Sons of Liberty which coordinated the famous Boston Tea Party of 1773.

But let’s not forget the ladies of the TEA party movement. Penelope Barker of Edenton, North Carolina organized the Edenton Tea Party in 1774. In the home of her friend Elizabeth King, she and 50 other women signed a declaration and sent it to be published in a London newspaper. In part the declaration said:

“Maybe it has only been men who have protested the king up to now. That only means we women have taken too long to let our voices be heard. We are signing our names to a document, not hiding ourselves behind costumes like the men in Boston did at their tea party. The British will know who we are…We, the aforesaid Ladys will not promote ye wear of any manufacturer from England until such time that all acts which tend to enslave our Native country shall be repealed.”

Much like the liberal media of today these principled women were attacked and portrayed by the British as bad mothers and loose women. However, the colonists praised these ladies and the women of the colonies followed their lead and began boycotting British goods.

In light of historical fact, it is clear to any rational and reasonable mind that the modern TEA party movement is not a modern movement at all. The TEA party represents the heart of the American ideal of liberty and self-government. These brave men and women did not sit idly by in the face of oppression and tyranny because they understood their history and knew their rights. They understood that their rights came from God and had been guaranteed to them beginning at the 1100 Charter of Liberties, through the Magna Carter of 1215, and the English Bill of Rights of 1688. Their liberty was not a modern development and neither is ours. That is why, in spite of Rachel Maddow’s pronouncement that the TEA party is over because of small rallies, the TEA party is not going away. It has been here for 247 years and will continue as long as the founding principles of America still burn in the hearts of patriots.

The Taxation That Our Founders Hated

In light of all the distortions and half-truths that are constantly repeated, let’s be clear –what sparked the ire of our founders was not taxes; it was tyranny. Their theme was not simply Taxed Enough Already – it was Tyrannized Enough Already. Their tolerance for tyranny was taxed to the max – that’s the taxation the founders could no longer take.

The original tea party was not just about money and the driving force toward American independence was not simply taxation. At the crux of the matter were the PRINCIPLES OF GOVERNMENT that created the taxation – taxation WITHOUT REPRESENTATION. It was about government eliminating the common rights of the people. The motivation behind the tea party event was Great Britain’s attempt to remove the people’s right to electively engage in trade, by mandating purchases only from the government…

But if our Trade is to be curtailed in its most profitable Branches, & Burdens beyond all possible Bearing, laid upon that which is suffered to remain, we shall be so far from being able to take off the manufactures of Great Britain, that it will be scarce possible for us to earn our Bread…? [Samuel Adams, May 15, 1764, Boston Record Commissioners’ Report, vol. 16, pp. 120-122]

Sam Adams went onto explain that the act of arbitrary taxation makes slaves out of a free people:

For if our Trade may be taxed why not our Lands? Why not the Produce of our Lands & every thing [sic] we possess or make use of? This we apprehend annihilates our Charter Right to govern & tax ourselves–It strikes at our British Privileges, which as we have never forfeited them, we hold in common with our Fellow Subjects who are Natives of Britain: If Taxes are laid upon us in any shape without our having a legal Representation where they are laid, are we not reduced from the Character of free Subjects to the miserable State of tributary Slaves? [Samuel Adams, May 15, 1764, Boston Record Commissioners’ Report, vol. 16, pp. 120-122, emphasis added]

Sam Adams saw the big picture. He knew that if the king assumed the power to lay taxes contrary to the common rights of the colonists, without giving the people any voice, there would be no limit to the power of this government.

This current government feels it may force the citizens to purchase healthcare based entirely upon the condition of being alive. If the government is granted such power over the people, ignoring the voice of the people and denying their proper representation, then where are the limits to this power?

Adams, attempting to make this point very clear, emphasized that “among the natural rights of the Colonists are these: First, a right to life; Secondly, to liberty; Thirdly, to property; together with the right to support and defend them in the best manner they can. These are evident branches of, rather than deductions from, the duty of self-preservation, commonly called the first law of nature.” [Sam Adams, The Report of the Committee of Correspondence, to the Boston Town Meeting, Nov. 20, 1772]

Was it the money that caused our founders to demand independence? No. It was the erosion of Liberty. The violation of sound principles of government. One quick look at the Declaration of Independence will tell the tale.

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

It was not money; it was the King controlling the entire government, eating away at the separation of powers and coercing Parliament into submission, creating a government ruled solely by the whim of the King. How does this compare to the government we see today?

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures. •He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people. •For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever. [Declaration of Independence]

America now has a Congress that is unwilling to fulfill their solemn oath to stop the current “Kingly” administration from usurping legislative power. Instead, we are subjected to empty words and political gamesmanship like the ones from Sen. Mitch McConnell and his great petition of the people to grovel before Obama and beg him to stop stealing legislative power. This Congress has never stood with “manly firmness,” but this King has none-the-less dissolved their power by their own cowardice and has forced them into compliance through their own negligence.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within. [Declaration of Independence]

America now has a Congress and King refusing to protect the people. Although protection from invasion is actually one of the delegated powers of the Federal Government, our federal government has refused to provide for America’s protection. Instead of dealing with the threats, they argue that limiting the people’s Liberty is the way to keep America safe. And the “State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.”

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers. [Declaration of Independence]

America has a Congress who will not respond to the King’s veiled threats and open chastisement of the Supreme Court? Are not these actions an attempt at obstructing the Administration of Justice and an open declaration that he will refuse to assent to the law?

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance. •He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation: [Declaration of Independence]

America has a Congress who will not reign in Executive Regulatory Agencies? How many NEW regulatory agencies, czars, and regulations must we suffer before Congress acts? What about the regulations and government intrusions by these arms of the King that are literally “harassing our people and eating out their substance?” Do we just dismiss the raids on the farms and co-ops over raw milk? Do we forget that Abner Scheonwetter spent 6 years in prison after a regulatory agency prosecuted him for violating an unconstitutional foreign law? Do we allow the EPA to override the Bill of Rights and enforce THEIR OWN law upon the people without due process as they did to the residents of Bonner County, Idaho, among others?

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury: For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences: [Declaration of Independence]

America has a Congress that will not only do NOTHING to stop the usurpation of power by the King, but contributes to and enables this tyranny through laws like the Patriot Act, sections 1021 and 1022 of NDAA, and The Federal Building and Grounds Improvement Act [HR347].

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power. [Declaration of Independence]

America has a government that attempts to regulate out of existence our right to bear arms. Where will the power of the Department of Homeland Security and the TSA end? When will Congress step up and become the “sure guardians of our Liberty” as demanded by James Madison? Our Congress has failed to be a government of the people, by the people and for the people. It has become a government of the King.

For our founders, it was never just about the money and it was always about the tyranny of a King and his government that felt the “good of the Kingdom” was more important than the common rights of men. For more than a decade, they continued to speak and continued to be ignored.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people. [Declaration of Independence]

We have been ignored too long, but we will not be silent. We will continue from now until November and beyond. We the people will recover our nation. We will not quit. We are resolved to give our last breath in the defense of Liberty. It is time America, to declare that these princes and their King are unfit to be rulers of a free people. It is time America, to put Liberty FIRST. It is time America to reclaim the once great nation our founders sacrificed all to give to us. It is time America to determine that we will once again be a government of the people, by the people and for the people. It is time America, to save our children from the burdens of tyranny and the price to be paid for Liberty. It is time to continue to identify the hypocrites and cowards. It is time to support TRUE CONSTITUITONAL CONSERVATIVES, ones who have proven themselves by actions, not by idle words. It is time to fire the rest of them, regardless of their personality, their former occupations, or their charming good looks. Do we want Liberty or do we want slavery. The choice is just that simple, because it is NOT about the money.