Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Give Me Liberty!

History has timeless examples of leadership and courage. Here is a reprint of one of Orrin's posts highlighting an American icon, an example we should all aspire to. America is tired of being the scam being used by the elite in Washington. This is how American patriots stand against tyranny.
Capt. Bill

Patrick Henry - The Seven Resolutions
by Orrin Woodward on Wed 28 Nov 2007 08:03 AM EST

This is the second part of young Patrick Henry's courageous stand for truth against the tyranny of the British King George the Third. What will Patrick Henry do? Will he stand for what he knows is right or bow to the older members? The older House members fear the King and are not representing the people they are under oath to represent. The House of Burgess began its session and by all indications it would be a few days of closing up previously discussed items. The monotonous proceedings clipped along until someone made a proposal to review all the actions the House had done in protest against the notorious Stamp Acts and consider any further steps that could be taken to convey their displeasure with the tyrannical actions of King George. Patrick Henry stood up in the opening debates with 7 resolutions he had written out on a blank page of an old law book. He drew the page from his pocket and began to read the resolutions. (I will paraphrase and abridge the resolutions.)

Resolved: That subjects of his Majesty’s colony have all privileges, franchises, and immunities (rights) enjoyed by the people in Great Britain.
Resolved: These rights have been confirmed by two royal charters.
Resolved: The taxation of the people by themselves or by a person representing them is the distinguishing mark of British freedoms.
Resolved: The Virginians have always been thus governed by their own Assemblies in the areas of taxes and internal policy.

By this point the conservative Tory members of the House were getting nervous. No one could argue with Patrick Henry’s logic or the correctness of his points. But they did not like the tone or the direction that Patrick was heading with his reasoning. In 1765, subjects did not talk like this against the King’s proclamations. Patrick Henry knew there were principles stronger than the King’s commands. Conservatives attempted to close the debate by saying they should wait until they heard from the British Ministry and Lord George Grenville on their earlier protest letter. (In fact, they never heard from Lord Grenville, author of the Stamp Act as he scarcely glanced at the protest before dumping letter into wastebasket.) After much discussion, Patrick’s first 4 resolutions were adopted by the slimmest of margins. Patrick Henry did not sit down and what happened next was a major force that changed the thinking of the colonies and forged the unity which led to the United States of America. The conservatives’ worst fears were being realized.

Resolved: That the General Assembly have the exclusive right and power to lay taxes on the subjects of the colony.
Resolved: That the subjects of this colony are not bound to obey any law designed to impose taxes upon them—other than the laws and ordinances from the General Assembly.
Resolved: Anyone maintaining a contrary opinion to this either in writing or speaking shall be considered an enemy to the Virginian Colony.

This was a new and bold innovation in the colonies. Although the Virginian colony enjoyed incredible freedom from British Parliament, it was more from neglect than by design. The British had left the Colonist alone and their freedoms had thrived. Now with the British desire for money and power they began to tax and regulate the colonist freedoms away. Patrick Henry would not take this sitting down. The fifth resolution passed by one vote, but the 6th and 7th caused an uproar amongst the members. Members attempted to shout down the 29 year old Patrick Henry. Patrick stood his ground and spoke with the eloquence of a backwoods Demosthenes.

“Tarquin and Caesar had each his Brutus, Charles the First, his Cromwell; and George the third…..”
“Treason!” cried by Speaker of the House. Numerous members of the House followed the Speaker in castigating the young leader. Patrick patiently waited for the fury to subside and continued.
“……and George the Third may profit from their example. If that be treason, make the most of it.”

The House appeared to accept all 7 resolutions, but the next day the inflammatory 6th and 7th were rejected by the more conservative majority in the House of Burgess. On the following day the 5th resolution was rejected also. Even with this setback the die was cast. The political foundations of the Virginian conservative order was cracked and soon to be broken. Copies of all 7 resolutions were sent to the other colonies and the ideas that would lead to the Revolutionary War were disseminated into the leading minds of the colonies. Here was the spark that lit the flame inside of the Revolutionary leaders burning for independence. Let me quote from George Willison’s excellent biography again:

If Virginia—the oldest, largest, richest, and traditionally the most loyal and royalist of the colonies—was prepared to take the lead in resisting British “tyranny”, why should her sister colonies hesitate to follow? The answer was: They shouldn’t. And they began organizing associations to boycott British goods and take other measure to force repeal the Stamp Tax. . . . . . . . . . .

Years later, when assessing the relative influence of American leaders on the eve of Independence, it was Jefferson, always in the vanguard himself, who said of Henry: “He left all of us far behind . . . . He gave the first impulse to the ball of Revolution . . . . He was the idol of the country beyond anyone that ever lived.”

Can one man with courage and convictions make a difference? In my reading of the Revolutionary War, I believe this single event was the catalyst that united Massachusetts and Virginia together. This unity created leadership teams across all colonies that formed together to resist the tyranny of the British tyranny. I can only imagine the amount of courage it took for a 29 year old country lawyer to stand up in front of the wealthy Virginia aristocracy and speak the truth. Where would you have stood in the Virginia House of Burgess? Would you have rationalized the wrongs for your own personal peace and affluence? Or would you have stood with the truth and young Patrick Henry. Perhaps you will have an opportunity in your life to test your courage. When you need courage, reflect back to the young lawyer from Virginia who stood up to the English empire and sparked a revolution.
 God Bless,
 Orrin Woodward