Wednesday, June 27, 2007

History Shock...Deprivation in America ?!

When there were more than eight million people in England and only about 1,750,000 in the Atlantic seaboard’s 13 original colonies on the North American continent, a test of wills came before a test of arms secured the liberties we now enjoy.

When, in London Parliament passed the Sugar Act which effectively prevented the Americans from buying Caribbean molasses from which the new Englanders distilled rum, and the Stamp Act which taxed everything except use of the privy, the unimaginable and unbelievable happened.

Flying in the face of a smug prediction in the English Parliament that "The colones will always be at one another’s throats"— tinkers, tailors, cabinetmakers and wealthy merchants joined forces in common cause for freedom and individual Liberty.

First, they formed the first chamber of commerce in New York City. Then, virtually unknown to one another, Thomas Paine in Virginia and Samuel Adams in the Massachusetts Bay colony (Boston) both came up with the same idea and the fact that it was revolutionary shocked British politicians to their entrails.

Boycott All English goods !!!

Unthinkable ! But it took hold and spawned the first great Republican Revolution in history.

Just about every citizen of every persuasion in each of the 13 states quit buying British goods.
Ladies did without tea, and consumed bitter brew of wildflower leaves. They made their own buttons, and bolts of British cloth faded and rotted on the shelves of stores. None was imported for years.

Funerals, usually outlandish and lavish even for the poor, were stripped of all the black clothing and drapery that depended on English imports and were limited to hymns and a sermon.

The boycott actually spawned a number of great American traditions in the manufacture of glass, cutlery, firearms and conveyances.

It was as if America in 1770 reached back to the Puritan ethic of 1630: Bradford, Winslow, et al.

And though it slowed for a year, when Parliament acted more nastily, the economic boycott finally stuck. It became habit. Preparation for war existence.

Self deprivation, from Savannah to Charleston, to Portsmouth, to New York, to Philadelphia, and Boston, became popular – indeed, heroic in proportion.
It prepared a people to engage in a struggle and for the weight of History’s greatest political experiment.

Now my question is:

Where is the love for freedom and personal liberty that pervaded those souls – less than 2 million – in our 300 million Americans of 2007 ?

"Is life so dear,eace so sweet that we should choose tyranny and terror?"

That was Patrick Henry’s query then. It should be our heartsearch now.

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