Monday, July 4, 2005

This American Century

The year was 1760. In England, King George III ascended the throne and became the ruler of the thirteen colonies, which were then suffering the throes of the French and Indian War. In 1763, all land east of the Mississippi, except for New Orleans, was ceded to the British. The Indians continued to resist the British, culminating in the Proclamation of 1763, which prohibited settlements west of the Appalachians and required settlers to vacate settlements already established, in an attempt to mollify the Indians.

The war was ruinously costly for the British, compelling them to establish a series of repressive taxes upon the colonies, and forbidding them to print their own legal tender. The colonists began to chafe under these imposts and restrictions, but the impetus for revolt came in March 1765, when the Stamp Act was passed by Parliament, representing the first direct tax imposed upon the colonists. In May of 1765 Patrick Henry proposed the Virginia Stamp Act Resolutions, and in July the Sons of Liberty organization was formed. On November 1st, the Stamp Act went into effect and mob violence broke out in New York City.

Relations between the Crown and the colonies continued to be strained, but only isolated instances of violence occurred until 1770. In January, violence between a mob and British soldiers broke out, followed by the Boston Massacre in March. The colonists grew increasingly restive, and on the night of December 16th, 1773, the Boston Tea Party occurred.In March 1774, Parliament enacted the first of the Coercive Acts, which led to the establishment of the First Continental Congress on September 5th. On October 14th, the Congress adopted a document entitled Declaration and Resolves, forerunner of the Declaration of Independence.

On April 18th, 1775, General Gage ordered 700 British soldiers to Concord.

On April 19th, 1775, at dawn, the American Revolution was born.

On July 4th, 1776, America officially declared its independence from the Crown of England, beginning its grand experiment.

On November 30th, 1782, a preliminary peace treaty was signed in Paris.

On February 4th, 1783, England officially declared an end to hostilities.

On September 3rd, 1783, the Treaty of Paris was signed and on January 14th, 1784, it was ratified by Congress. The Revolutionary War was ended.

On September 17th, 1787, the Constitution was signed.

On April 6th, 1789, George Washington was elected to be the first president of the United States.

Two hundred and twenty-nine years. Eleven score and nine. The United States, America, in the new millennium, stands as the preeminent military power in the world. If we so choose, no country can for long stand against our might. And yet. When we exercise our power preemptively, we commit an essentially unethical act. We lose the moral high ground, and we intimidate and forfeit the trust of much of the rest of the world. Largely unilateral war is the prerogative of an empire, not a democracy. We mouth the platitudes of a freedom-loving democracy, but when we act the bully, we cannot help but appear to the world to stand as subjugator and conqueror. Is this what we have become?

The unwarranted attack upon our citizens that occurred on September the 11th, 2001, cried out for just retaliation, and a start was made toward attaining that justice. But the wishes of the American people for revenge against those who attacked us were subverted by an administration bent upon demonstrating to the world that we could do what we wanted, where we wanted, and when we wanted, and the world be damned.

I love our country. I love what it stands for, and I am proud of the many accomplishments that it has realized. I am, however, deeply ashamed of politicians who seek to subvert and pervert this grand experiment.

Citizens, search within yourselves and ask yourselves if you really want the rest of the world to hate and fear this great country of ours. Is it worth it?

Peace.

2 comments:

lamove04 said...

Key word: preemptively.  
Don't you think that ultimately it's all about money with this administration?
--Albert

sunnyside46 said...

I try to keep up with what happens in the world, but I ca'nt for the life of me make the connection between Sept 11 and our invasion of Iraq.
Marti