EDITORIAL: Declaration of Independence Not About Tea

Somehow the impression was created that the independency of the colonies was a matter only about taxation or a disagreement about tea in Boston. There was not a teenager rebellion; something more profound happened in the colonies, something that affected the rights and freedom of the colonists. I do not think an individual like Patrick Henry is going to pronounce “Give me liberty or give me death” about some tea conflict. Still, some suggest that it was simply a rebellion against England that was long overdue.
All the colonies wanted was for England to respect the right of each individual given to them by the inception of their immigration. This right was granted to them, and written in the original Charter presiding over any English settlement. Each colony, in accordance with the original Charter of 1606, is to enjoy the rights of Englishmen.
Paragraph 15 stated: “ Also we do, for Us, our Heirs and Successors, DECLARE, by these Presents that all and every the Persons, being our Subjects which shall dwell and inhabit within every or any of the said several Colonies and Plantations, and every of their children, which shall happen to be born within any of the Limits and Precincts of the said several Colonies and Plantations, shall HAVE and enjoy all Liberties, Franchises and Immunities within any of our other Dominions, to all Intents and Purposes, as if they had been abiding and born within this our Realm of England, or any other of our said Dominions.”
The Chapter was written by Richard Hakluyt, and was unique among other nations planning on establishing nations in the New World.
This is the basis of self-government; the idea that rights are God given and cannot be alienated by individuals. The right to enact laws through your representative based on the fact that each individual has the responsibility before God of guarding the liberties given to them.
Even though colonists had to give allegiance to the King, represented by the royal governors, they were able to elect burgesses or representatives to conduct legislative issues and thus exercise their inherited right.
It was precisely the repudiation from England of this right, and the dissolving of the assemblies and the original Charter that motivated the colonies to the Declaration of Independence.
As Thomas Jefferson said: “He (King George) has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people. 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 as out of his Protection and waging War against us”
This grievance called the redress (a lawful resistance to tyranny) was written against King George the III, who instructed the governors to dissolve the assemblies.
The Declaration of Independence was not the insolent rebellion of a teenager to not follow the rules of a parent country. England was the aggressor; this was at the heart of the colonists’ argument for independence. We have to still keep in our heart the same principles of freedom that inspired the colonists.
Happy independence celebration.

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