(This part continues my discussion from Part 3 concerning the history of the American Revolution relative to the conclusion that freedom cannot be restored within the federal system as the union currently exists.)
While colonies’ mental resistance rose against their government, physical submission prevailed. The colony of New York “begged to be excused from making the provision [of tax]” to Great Britain.” But instead of recognizing New York’s right to govern itself regarding internal polity of taxation and regulation, “the legislative power of that colony was abolished by act of parliament, until they should submit to make the provision which was required.” In essence, parliament acted as the “supreme law of the land” and nullified the colonial authorities to govern themselves internally. And yes, New York “did submit” as did the other colonies.
The colonies were feeling the burning sensation of oppression in their hearts and were sending correspondence to the king’s governors in the colonies and to the king himself, hoping for constitutional relief. Courts were no help. The means of redress was set forth by their constitution and they were following it. They were making lawful appeals. No relief came, however.
Rather, more taxes were imposed on certain commercial products, one of which was tea, effectively on November 20, 1767. To effectuate this tax, Great Britain gave authority to his agents to search and seize at their discretion for the purposes of tax collection. Of course, the colonial tax monies paid Britain’s agents and courts, all of which were established by British constitutional authority. As long as they were a part of the system, they supported the system. Thus, they were paying for their own enslavement.
The colonies continued to feel frustrated. They began sending correspondence to the citizens in Britain, in attempts to gain help to redress their political concern. “In reply, they received the kindest of their English friends, only exhortations to patience under their sufferings.” No help came from their fellow countrymen in Britain. The “other states,” so to speak, gave no assistance either.
As a method of “reclaiming freedom,” many of the colonists still encouraged all of the colonies to oblige Great Britain, “inviting their concurrence and co-operation toward procuring relief, in a constitutional way.” However, as it was accurately described concerning the actions towards the colonies, “it is not in human nature to continue long to return good for evil, affection for cruelty.” Even still, most colonists believed that their constitution provided a sound manner for lawful and effective redress.
The Virginia House of Burgesses convened in their 1768-9 session. Naturally, the topic of discussion was the manner in which they were to rectify their grievances against Great Britain. Out of that body of learned and freedom-loving men, a set of resolutions were proposed which once again restated the principles of self-government and denounced the unconstitutional actions of the monarch and parliament.
As a result, the monarch’s governor dissolved the Virginia House, as they were in violation of the constitutional supreme authority. However, these colonial legislatures did not stop self-government. They regrouped under the same form and authority of the people of Virginia and operated as the body-politic representatives outside of the British constitutional system. All the while, the common consensus among the colonial leaders was still, “we sincerely approve of a constitutional connexion with Great Britain.”
Ten years after the stamp act was passed, the people of the colonies sent their delegates to a continental convention to address their concerns regarding the unconstitutional actions of Great Britain. For that convention and to that end, the specific instructions given to that body of representatives was, “insist with firmness on their constitutional rights…nevertheless, [give] the most explicit pledge of their faith and true allegiance to his majesty King George III.” “They could not part with the fond hope that those peaceful days would again return which had shed so much light and warmth over the land.”
However, there was one man who “saw things with a steadier eye and a deeper insight.” “His judgment was too firm and manly to be amused by false and flattering hopes. He had long since read the true character of the British court, and saw that no alternative remained for his country but abject submission or heroic resistance.” This man was Patrick Henry.
During that same convention in 1775, Patrick Henry listened to the resolutions made by those brilliant, yet disillusioned, men, who passively resolved that “the warmest thanks of the convention, and of all the inhabitants of this colony, were due and that this just tribute of applause be presented to worthy delegates” and who diplomatically resolved that “unfeigned thanks and most grateful acknowledgments of the convention be presented to that very respectable assembly…for their truly patriotic endeavors to fix the just claims of the colonies upon the most permanent constitutional principles.”
But Patrick Henry had heard enough talk about the constitution; he had heard enough talk about restoring freedom; and he had heard enough talk about reconciliation with Great Britain through constitutional methods–methods which only cemented their enslavement. Patrick Henry believed the situation was much direr than what the delegates to the convention were expressing with their all-talk-no-action resolutions. So, Patrick Henry “moved the following manly resolutions”: “That a well-regulated militia [be raised]…for the purpose of our defence.”
The men at the convention were painfully shocked, the implication of such resolutions being, reconciliation was not possible and independence was necessary. “[T]he resolutions were opposed as not only rash in policy, but as harsh and well nigh impious in point of feeling…They insisted that national comity, and much more filial respect, demanded the exercise of a more dignified patience.”
In truth, most of these men thought freedom could be restored through the constitutional process or were at least too fearful to suggest otherwise. Additionally, as it concerned the practicality of Patrick Henry’s suggestion, these men raised the same excuses for not defending themselves and not seceding from Great Britain as many do today: “Were we a great military people? Were we ready for war? Where were our stores—where were our arms—where our soldiers—where our generals—where our money?” In other words, they did not have a sufficient military and commercial system in place. Their independence was impractical and quite dangerous, in their minds.
It was at this time that Patrick passionately proclaimed his infamous “give me liberty or give me death” speech. His first words highlighted the hurdle to their cause, one of the most intrinsic characteristics of human nature: “to indulge in the illusions of hope.” Henry observed, “we are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth.” The painful truth was that using the constitutional methods in place was not going to restore freedom. Constitutions were a thing which could be formed and reformed by a people for their good upon their own will, but a government’s actions determined whether the people were enslaved or not and whether the government deserved loyalty or not.
From this moment, Patrick Henry undeniably became the father of the American Revolution. Single handedly, Patrick Henry motivated the continental convention to resolve to defend themselves, proportionately and accordingly to the apparent intentions of Great Britain. And even before then, “the revolution may be truly said to have commenced with [Patrick Henry’s] resolutions in 1765.”
The American Revolution started with Great Britain taxing the colonies beginning in 1765 without their consent. How long did these colonies suffer the “long train of abuses”? For all practical purposes, their political plight was just 11 years. Yet, the States in America indulge in the false illusions of hope generation after generation, thinking that a “dignified patience” is noble, Christian and honorable. Yet, we continue to bind each generation’s hands and feet with heavier and tighter chains, all the while “voting for change.” How long are we going to return good for evil and affection for cruelty?
If just one of Emond’s lists of abuses and encroachments is true, namely, the taxing of the people without their consent, what justification separates the federal government’s intentions from those of Great Britain’s? What reconciliation can be mustered to redeem the sins of the federal government to the point of blind and continued loyalty in spite of our enslaved status? If the founding generation believed 10 years was too long to suffer the evils of government, how many more generations must suffer in America before we realize we do nothing more than appease and embolden this tyrannical system by supporting it with our money, our future and our sending representatives to the hub station of our own destruction?
Here is the “painful truth” for this generation of people: freedom will not be restored through the federal government in the union of the United States as it currently exists. Voting is not the answer; independence is the answer. Reconciliation is not healthy; freedom is healthy. A union of fifty states is not the gateway to freedom; individual states that incorporate self-government is.
Until we begin listening to the Patrick Henrys of this generation, we can expect more of the same slavery and oppression, but it will not be because we did not have a clear example and illustration from our own history to guide our path and to steer us clear from the tyrant’s agenda.
 Ibid., 97.
 Ibid., 97.
 Ibid., 97.
 Ibid., 100.
 Ibid., 100.
 Ibid., 102.
 Ibid., 120.
 Ibid., 132.
 Ibid., 133.
 Ibid., 133.
 Ibid., 133.
 Ibid., 133-134.
 Ibid., 134.
 Ibid., 135-136.
 Ibid., 136.
 Ibid., 138.
 Ibid., 103.