After two wars King George was in debt up to his eyeballs.
One major expense that drained the English treasury was the ‘management’ of the American colonies:
1. It was expensive to pay the many English troops shipped across the Atlantic to protect the colonies.
2. It was costly to pay the English governors assigned to oversee the colonies.
3. It was pricey to fight simultaneous wars against the French and the Indians in the colonies.
King George reasoned that if he was spending money to govern the colonies, then the colonists should pay for the services rendered on their behalf. George also knew that it would be much easier to convince Parliament to tax the colonists than to try to get more money from the already poor English citizens.
George received a shock and became incensed when the insolent American colonists objected to the new taxes being imposed upon them, particularly the Stamp Act.
The Stamp Tax required that colonists pay a special tax for every printed piece of paper they used – that included newspapers, playing cards, pamphlets, legal documents, advertisements, etc. The Stamp Act was passed by Parliament in 1765 — the colonists were furious.
They believed that they were still British citizens and that the Magna Carta, written in 1215 gave all British citizens protection against unfair taxes. Colonists showed their displeasure with the new tax in many different ways. Some even went as far as to tar and feather agents sent by the King to collect money for the Stamp Tax. Retaliation such as these sent a powerful message back to the king. The Stamp Act lasted only one year before it was retracted by Parliament.
King George was angry and flew into a rage. King George thought he was all powerful and could do whatever he wanted to do and believed that the colonists should be dealt with harshly for their disobedience and insolence against him and his tax. Using his profound influence as King, he pushed through the Townshend Acts through Parliament on June 29, 1767. The Townshend Acts taxed many products, goods and items of trade between England and the colonies including tea. This completely enraged the colonists and their anger resulted in the infamous Boston Tea Party.
King George won the battle but lost the war and was humbled when the colonies unified and became the United States of America.
In 1776, leaders from the 13 colonies met in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where they talked about freedom from England and freedom to make their own laws and govern themselves.
Thomas Jefferson wrote a summary of the discussions from that meeting. That summary became the Declaration of Independence. It stated that the colonies were “free and independent states”. The leaders of the meeting signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.
The Declaration listed grievances against King George, legislature, and populace. Amongst George’s offenses, the Declaration charged, “…He destroyed the lives of our people.”
After America’s success against King George and England, many other English colonies started their own rebellions against King George. King George remained embroiled in one conflict or another for many years. King George III died in 1820, at the age of 82, and his son, George IV became King.
It’s been 232 years since we traded King George, today we have President George. It seems like America has come full circle:
1. Two Georges
2. Two wars (Iraq and Afghanistan)
3. Rebellion in the colonies (Iraq)
4. Burden on our military
5. Over taxation and little representation
6. Bad economy (Are you better off today than you were 8 years ago?)
I wonder if today’s American citizens have the courage that the 18th century colonists had.
Definition of courageous: possessing or displaying courage; able to face and deal with danger, the unknown or fear without flinching.
When we go to the polls 120 days from today on November 4, 2008, will Americans be courageous and unite like the colonists did for the greater good of the United States of America?
Will we look beyond the fear of a black American man with a Muslim name and see that he has America’s best interest at heart?
Will we listen to the facts about policies and how they will affect us for the next 10, 20 and 30 years and make the courageous decision?
Will we be distracted by subjects and topics that recycle only during election years (i.e. pro-choice, gay marriage, 2nd amendment) and we never hear about these issues until the next election. These issues are used as bait – so that people will vote with their emotions and not with the facts.
Will we be pragmatic/practical/realistic?
Will we be courageous?
To me, being American means honoring our country’s history and its diversity of people and culture. It means understanding that America is not perfect while still believing in her greatness and working in some way to make it even better.
Being American also means exercising one’s political responsibilities:
1. Being an informed citizen
2. Registering to vote and voting
3. Supporting equal rights and equal justice for all
Being American also means flying the flag and knowing the words to the national anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance — and bursting with pride when you hear them.
It also means being thankful and respectful to all the courageous men and women who have given their lives for America’s independence and freedom.
Have a fun and safe Independence Day!