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The Declaration of Independence: Fanfare for the Common Man and Woman

5:37 pm in Uncategorized by john in sacramento

Here’s how I began a post six years ago

There are many reasons that hundreds of thousands if not millions of Europeans immigrated to the United States after it was discovered and before it became a country; some of which were economic, religious, or political, everyone of those people had a story.

Over 240 years ago a group of merchants hired a cranky, iconoclastic lawyer named James Otis to defend their rights as free-born Englishmen, and in 1761 James Otis stood up in a Boston Mass. courtroom to speak against Writs of Assistance – which were a kind of general search warrant where the bearer could search anyone, anywhere, anytime which lasted for the lifetime of the sovereign (George II died in 1760); he spoke for five hours straight …


He lost the case but …

John Adams was at the trial and this is how he described the speech

Otis was a flame of fire! … Then and there was the first scene of the first act of opposition to the arbitrary claims of Great Britain. Then and there, the child of independence was born.


What follows is the story of a few of the people who should be mentioned, but most often are not. This one post can only be a beginning, for the fact that one post can’t be all encompassing, because that would take several blogs and at least 10-15 hours of work. And I’m going to have to skip over the Stamp Act Riots of 1765, mainly because of the time span (10 years). And, I’m taking a lot of this from Ray Raphael’s, First American Revolution: Before Lexington and Concord, and A People’s History of the American Revolution: How Common People Shaped the Fight for Independence. If that sounds familiar, it’s because it should – Howard Zinn was the series editor.
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Shattering the Modern Day Myth of what the Boston Tea Party Was Really About

7:30 pm in Uncategorized by john in sacramento

Just a hit and run post that seems appropriate for the time of year. If I can work it out tomorrow, I’m doing a longer version of the people behind the real history of the Revolution – one that even noted historians, Michelle Bachman and Sarah Palin are ignorant of ;-)

People like Mercy Otis Warren, and the citizens of Worcester Mass., the citizens of Bellingham, and Pittsfield, and Sandisfield. The Maryland county conventions instructing their representatives – who walked out – to get back to the Continental Congress and more. The founding of this country wasn’t a top down affair – it was very definitely bottom up

You see, it wasn’t a protest against taxes per se, in reality it was about corporate subsidies. What follows are excerpts from an article on Thom Hartmann’s website awhile ago, based on the reminiscence of George R.T. Hewes, who was one of those who dumped the tea in the harbor


They covered their faces, massed in the streets, and destroyed the property of a giant global corporation. Declaring an end to global trade run by the East India Company that was destroying local economies, this small, masked minority started a revolution with an act of rebellion later called the Boston Tea Party.


… the Boston Tea Party resembled in many ways the growing modern-day protests against transnational corporations and small-town efforts to protect themselves from chain-store retailers or factory farms. The Tea Party’s participants thought of themselves as protesters against the actions of the multinational East India Company.

Although schoolchildren are usually taught that the American Revolution was a rebellion against “taxation without representation,” akin to modern day conservative taxpayer revolts, in fact what led to the revolution was rage against a transnational corporation that, by the 1760s, dominated trade from China to India to the Caribbean, and controlled nearly all commerce to and from North America, with subsidies and special dispensation from the British crown.

Hewes notes:

“The [East India] Company received permission to transport tea, free of all duty, from Great Britain to America…” allowing it to wipe out New England–based tea wholesalers and mom-and-pop stores and take over the tea business in all of America. “Hence,” wrote, “it was no longer the small vessels of private merchants, who went to vend tea for their own account in the ports of the colonies, but, on the contrary, ships of an enormous burthen, that transported immense quantities of this commodity … The colonies were now arrived at the decisive moment when they must cast the dye, and determine their course … ”

A pamphlet was circulated through the colonies called The Alarm and signed by an enigmatic “Rusticus.” One issue made clear the feelings of colonial Americans about England’s largest transnational corporation and its behavior around the world:

“Their Conduct in Asia, for some Years past, has given simple Proof, how little they regard the Laws of Nations, the Rights, Liberties, or Lives of Men. They have levied War, excited Rebellions, dethroned lawful Princes, and sacrificed Millions for the Sake of Gain. The Revenues of Mighty Kingdoms have entered their Coffers. And these not being sufficient to glut their Avarice, they have, by the most unparalleled Barbarities, Extortions, and Monopolies, stripped the miserable Inhabitants of their Property, and reduced whole Provinces to Indigence and Ruin. Fifteen hundred Thousands, it is said, perished by Famine in one Year, not because the Earth denied its Fruits; but [because] this Company and their Servants engulfed all the Necessaries of Life, and set them at so high a Price that the poor could not purchase them.”

Honestly, go read it all. Both versions of the story, from Daniel Cay Johnston, and the article, are consistent with one another and everything else I’ve come across.

It really is sad that so many people nowadays are duped into believing the absolute lies and trash being disseminated by the media (I’m looking at you Fox, and Rush) and those they support and elevate.