Tuesday, March 27, 2012

U.S. Independence....equality and not colonial subjects

Something that gets forgotten/not mentioned with regards to the aims of U.S. independence. Folks chant "Taxation without representation" over and over, but have little idea that it wasn't just about a bunch of rednecks in pickup trucks resenting paying taxes in 1776 but that the issue was that the British Empire had very distinct ways that it treated people who lived in the colonies, ways that that the colonists in the U.S. didn't like. There were restrictions on not just economic activity but requirements such as quartering soldiers, etc.., among other activity, with the government intervening more than it would have elsewhere.

The reason that the British government was doing this, why it was 'oppressing the colonists', as it were, was because the colonies were considered to be money making ventures, and not fully equal in British society. People just happened to also live in them with the aim of pursuing a different kind of life. In the future U.S., colonial subjects, complained they weren't being given the rights given to free born English men. The English replied that you're not in England, you've signed up to live in a colony, and so you have no right to those things. From opposition to that came the notion that in fact all people both deserve, and inherently have, those rights, whether they're members of colonies or not. Self government was necessary because the distance between England and the U.S. was impossible to bridge in order for U.S. representatives to participate in Parliament. Because of that, independence was preferable, and was possible and just based on our human right to self governance.

So in a way U.S. independence wasn't directly against monarchy, in the way it would have been if it had occurred in England itself, but against a colonial system, and it turned into generalized to anti-monarchial sentiment. It would have been interesting to see if folks would have revolted and demanded independence if they'd just have been given equivalent rights to people in England at the start, instead of having to live within an artificial system more oppressive than in the home country.

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