Friday, July 03, 2009

The Grievances that Incited the American Revolution

"Your country is a den of dopes," snarked Ms Ann Thrope.
"Your fans who run my nation's propaganda mills were too easily seduced for you to gloat," observed Pascal.
We are often gifted by Hollywood with productions that have a patriotic theme.

I viewed two clips from one of them put up today at the Belmont Club. It was from the 2008 TV series John Adams starring Paul Giamatti.

It was filled with a good mix of characters, some renowned, some unknown. Much of the action was filled with bathos, where with help from a swelling score, we are driven to patriotic nostalgia. Aside from the saccharin melodrama, there was something far more disturbing.

The film staged the first public readings of the Declaration of Independence as might have happened all around the colonies. Good. The actors in different scenes got to read and react to, or simply react to the reading of, our Declaration. Fine. And it was all put together in a good collage that conveys the feelings of hearing it for the first time.

But something was missing -- literally.

The viewer is given little more than a sense of pride in the product, plus much tight jawed resolve and dread due to --- what? Irritation? Discomfort?

Somehow, no doubt for editorial reasons that are above Joe Biden's pay grade, the long litany of abuses by King George III, written out at length in the Declaration of Independence, were completely left out of this reading. Not a single outrage was mentioned, many of which could have afforded the actors to demonstrate the hard feelings of the times.

And what is worse, I am sure most students today, and likely few of their parents, ever set eyes on that list of British excesses visited upon the colonies. Who ever reads the Declaration in its entirety?

Well, apparently I did. Long ago. It made an impression on me. Enough of an impression that I noticed the meat of the matter was written out of this Hollywood production. It is a production that could easily become part of misleading indoctrination for the next generation of grade school students.

Enough of an impression that its absence drove me to complain and publish after five months silence.

For your benefit, especially when you know people who are totally in the dark who might be awakened thanks to you giving them the facts, here is the list of grievances that our forebears found so intolerable that they formally revolted against the country that inflicted the tyrannies. My personal "favorites" are reproduced in bold type.
  • He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
  • He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
  • He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
  • 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.
  • 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 meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
  • He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.
  • He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.
  • He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
  • 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 kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.
  • He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power.
  • 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:
  • For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
  • For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:
  • For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:
  • For imposing taxes on us without our consent:
  • For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:
  • For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:
  • For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these colonies:
  • For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:
  • For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
  • He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.
  • He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
  • He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.
  • He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.
  • He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

I considered inserting little editors notes along side some of the items in the list. For example [Ruby Ridge] could easily have fit along side one of the items. I decided against it because I simply want the grievances highlighted in one place because they so often are forgotten (as all statists would wish).

I invite others to add what they wish to this list at their own sites. But better, simply print out the list (maybe edited a little) and give it to one of your "liberal" family members. Ask them where the list originated. The ensuing discussion could be helpful.

No comments:

Post a Comment

View My Stats