Skip to comments.Wanted: Another Patrick Henry
Posted on 11/29/2012 3:24:30 PM PST by Jacquerie
In 1765, Parliament added its North American colonists to those subject to the Stamp Tax. It seemed innocuous enough. Thought to raise about 60,000 pounds/year, it would amount to twenty percent or so of the cost to garrison a vast new country won from France in the war that concluded only two years earlier.
It was the wrong tax at the wrong time. It was wrong because direct taxes had been left to the individual colonies since 1607. Parliaments timing was horrible because instead of prosperity with the conclusion of war, the colonies slipped into hard economic times. Regarded as a direct tax, it was detrimental to business, and opened the door to further abuse.
Sound familiar? Our nation is in recession, headed for Utopian hell, and the governing class will raise income taxes in a few weeks. A land of once freemen will also be taxed (or is it fined?) if they do not purchase health insurance that meets arbitrary government criteria. There is no hope our republic will be rescued by the class which drove us these past eighty years to societal and political catastrophe. A government designed to secure our unalienable rights has become a monster oppressor of them.
What to do? Perhaps the answer is in our history. Patrick Henry sparked a series of events that culminated in Independence. This rube, noobie Burgess from the backwoods of Virginia stood to be recognized as the bi-annual legislative session of 1765 was winding down. He was met with sighs of displeasure from the aristocratic planters who wanted to adjourn and get back to their plantations. By custom, new Burgesses sat quietly and learned for at least a session before asking to speak. This certainly applied to the hick dressed in homespun standing before them.
Patrick Henry didnt get the memo. Not only did he demand recognition, he accused the Speaker of financial malfeasance. Five days later, he rose in opposition to the Stamp Act. In five resolutions, he spoke the words of republican liberty. In the fifth resolution, he roared that the only legitimate taxes were those passed by popularly elected representatives. Taxation by any other source was destructive of freedom.
He was met with shouts of Treason! Henry concluded with a phrase repeated through the ages, If this be treason, make the most of it!
Fast forward almost 250 years. Just as Patrick Henry convinced a shocked assembly of planter aristocrats to pass his resolutions, I suspect a Tea Party member of the House of Representatives may stand up and outrage a collection of pompous divas masquerading as representatives of a once free people. Departing Rep Ron Paul recently gave a rousing farewell speech that mirrored the language of our founding generation and set the table for further resistance. Witness the dozens of secession petitions. His plea for return to Constitutionalism did not, I think, fall on deaf ears.
As in 1765, there is a growing undercurrent of resistance. Is there a Henry to provide the spark in our political house to rouse the people from resistance to action? If so, he/she will not come from the elites, so very comfortable with their perks, adulation, power and enormous salaries and benefits. If there is such a person, it will be lead by one not only not beholding to the hapless John Boehner, but one despised by Boehner and his fellow elites.
The Tea Party movement, like the Sons of Liberty so long ago, need a rallying cry and nominal leaders willing to call out and resist the hard tyranny just over the horizon.
Our nation was founded in resistance to unlawful taxation and the threat it posed to our freedom. Lets start there. What if a respected and nationally known figure in the House of Representatives picked up Pauls baton, stood before the cameras and espoused resistance to the unconscionable and unconstitutional Obamacare? I mean stand on the floor of the House and tell the world he will oppose Obamacare personally, and in the interest of freedom, urge the American people to follow!
It is my hope there is a latter day Patrick Henry in the peoples House, one willing to fan the smoldering kindling of resistance begun by the Tea Party, one willing to absorb the catcalls, cheap-shots and assaults from all sides, in the name of our nearly forgotten freedom.
A leader will emerge...but the ground swell apparently must begin first.
There are a few, very few members of the House of Representatives who honestly speak the language of liberty. One is Michele Bachmann. Like Patrick Henry, she is willing to take on the establishment on their own turf. She twice won election in state dominated by the appropriately named, Democratic Farm Labor party. She not only beat a vicious campaign funded by the likes of Nancy Pelosi, but also survived the backstabbing long knives of the RNC and the GOP House leadership.
Our country has just been stolen and I can't recall hearing from Michele Bachmann re: this existential event.
Perhaps I have missed her powerful youtube videos on how to take back our country.
If, for instance, individuals were called by say, Michelle Bachmann to do as she will do and resist all diktats derived from the slavish Obamacare, . . .
As for groundswell, the Tea Party movement and secession petitions reflect growing resistance among the producers.
Nope, no one has picked up from Paul’s farewell speech.
I am wondering if perhaps Freepers ought to consider organizing civil marches to show the displeasure that Americans feel over having this election stolen.
Egyptians riot over Morsi in Tahrir Square and even get bloody...yet Americans sit on the rears and do NOTHING.
Such demonstrations need to be backed up the the facts as we know them--and they/we need to challenge our leaders (by name) as to why they have taken no action.
Sometimes leaders tap into the emotions and motivation of the grassroots...and sometimes the grassroots have to speak up and act first...and then prospective leaders will emerge.
My small town (30,000) in GA would jump at the chance to speak out for America and what we have lost by the Obama/Chicago-Style theft of our country.
I think that if any state decided to step up and put secession on the table, there would be a whole lot of Americans willing to go and defend that state. I know that this is somewhat off-topic, but not really. It just takes one spark. The rest would take care of itself.
Modern America: “Give me free birth control and give my unborn baby death”
Through the Constitution's construction, i.e. separation of powers, enumerated powers, regular elections, impeachment power, independent judiciary, the Framer's system was designed to obviate the need for political violence.
Unfortunately, too many of the people have been corrupted.
The average Obama voter doesn't know what he gave away because he was never taught what he had.
But it got immediately demoted to General/Chat.;-)
Revolution is a bit salty for the FR mods.
“The problem is that no one is stepping into the leadership vacuum.”
Funny. I don’t remember that Patrick Henry stood around waiting for someone else to do the job he did. You’d think that with all the loudmouths, absolutism, declarative statements, and posturing that goes on on this site that there are 1000 FReeper Patrick Henrys out there, but there are not.
Apparently we are all perfectly happy to stand around jawboning about how we think things should be while waiting for someone else to do the job we should be doing ourselves.
But I think he wants to reduce America's power while simultaneously increasing his own, something that secession wouldn't help.
I've thought of Mr.Henry SO very often the past couple of months .. actually, since '08, truth be told !
Unfortunately, the elites who chose the opposition Party's candidate are so entrenched in partisan politics that they ignored America's noble history, offering small ideas focused on "jobs and the economy" when they should have been speaking of freedom versus slavery.
Just think, Patrick Henry spoke out with bravery, passion, and ideas, and challenged his peers in favor of liberty, knowing full well that he had no great American philosophical documents to back up his words! Even so, he spoke out and his powerful words still inspire those who grasp the importance of liberty.
Today's "Patrick Henry," on the other hand, would have available to him:
1. The Declaration of Independence, with its clearly-outlined philosophical foundation for a free people's self-government;
2. The Constitution of the United States of America, including its Bill of Rights and all appropriately-adopted Amendments;
3. Knowledge that within that Constitution itself, Article V prescribes the only valid method of Amendment to that Constitution, meaning that many intrusions on "the People's" liberty over the past several decades have occurred without a valid Amendment allowing such intrusions;
4. Access, through the miracles of technology, to the 85 essays of Madison, Hamilton, and Jay, contained in THE FEDERALIST, those wonderful explanations of the Constitution originally written to enlighten the minds of ordinary citizens as to the Constitution's protections of their liberty;
5. Access, at the click of a mouse, to the body of historical writings from which the Founders drew their knowledge, wisdom and understanding of civilization's long struggle for individual freedom and ordered liberty, as well as the Founders' own documents, speeches, letters and writings which might be used to educate current generations; and,
6. The 200+-year history of freedom, opportunity, creativity, prosperity, productivity, and plenty which the Founders' genius and devotion made possible on this continent and throughout the world.
Yes, America needs a "Patrick Henry," and before the light of freedom is extinguished, some brave and courageous soul must emerge who has the passion, dedication to study, and ability to articulate and educate his/her fellow citizens in the ideas of liberty so that millions of citizens can be inspired to reclaim their Constitution. Justice Story made it clear that this is "the People's" right and duty:
"The structure has been erected by architects of consummate skill and fidelity; its foundations are solid; its components are beautiful, as well as useful; its arrangements are full of wisdom and order and its defenses are impregnable from without. It has been reared for immortality, if the work of man may justly aspire to such a title. It may, nevertheless, perish in an hour by the folly, or corruption, or negligence of its only keepers, THE PEOPLE. Republics are created by virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens."
"The structure has been erected by architects of consummate skill and fidelity; its foundations are solid; its components are beautiful, as well as useful; its arrangements are full of wisdom and order...."
-Justice Joseph Story
Now, where is that 21st Century person who will accept the challenge to lead all of "the People" to assert their individual and Creator-endowed rights to self-government under the Constitution which is their rightful inheritance, without regard to ethnic background, economic status, gender, or any of the other divide-and-conquer designations which tyrants use to enslave the minds of their fellow human beings.
Personally, I think a stamp tax on all, and I do mean all, media items is an idea whose time has come. The press has ridden in the wagon for too long. Think of the revenue that a nickle per Tweet will generate, for example. Readers of the NYT, WSJ, and WaPo can easily afford to pony up an additional 75¢, and a dime levy on every minute of network and cable broadcast will raise some serious coin.
Talk radio hosts can be assessed by the word—That way, maybe Rush will stop bitching and let more callers on the air.
You leave me speechless.
We need a new Thomas Paine, Samuel Adams, and Thomas Jefferson. Even a good Alexander Hamilton would be good. Such men will come forward when the time is right—not yet—not till 2014.
Is this some kind of Boomer thing because I don’t get it? We are all Patrick Henry and the Constitution is set up for all of us to be just that. The Founders weren’t into the whole ‘raise up a leader’ thing.
This isn’t that hard: 1) Win state legislatures in ‘14, 2) Get voter ID on the books and defend it in court and end election day registration, as well as other voting related tweaks 3) limit union bargaining, make them pay their share for insurance and pensions, and stop the state from collecting dues, 4) balance state budgets and conduct major tax reform if necessary, 5) take any other step to cut off the Dems at the knees.
We all need to get off our butts and make it happen.
Is there a Henry to provide the spark in our political house to rouse the people from resistance to action?
I don’t know - I’m not heavy in the political realm - so if there is - I would hope that all would rally with him/her and turn the situation around. At the moment, it seems the majority is the lazy mob to worried about individual concerns than a nation that protects them and provides basic freedoms...I would say Reagan was the last of them...and I’m glad I grew up under his administration!
He’d be rewarded, either way.
Chapter VII, beginning on P. 249, of Frothingham's "The Rise of the Republic . . . ." focuses on "artibrary Royal Instructions" issued by the crown which, in effect, were viewed as making "the claim that the king's instructions had the force of law, or that the people were under a personal government." The Royal Instructions were "everywhere contested," according to Frothingham, and gave rise to widespread opposition through every means available among those who advocated for liberty.
It would be hard to imagine that any individual who reads this Chapter VII will not be able to see parallels between the 1700's actions of King George III, his "Royal Instructions," and recent actions of the current Administration which seems intent upon exerting extra-Constitutional edicts and powers over "the People's" rights and liberty.
The question is, as you have suggested here, will there be a Patrick Henry, or a collection of learned and deeply-devoted advocates for liberty who will arise and enlighten current and rising generation to their natural rights to life, liberty, property and "the Blessings of Liberty" protected by their Constitution?
Frothingham's Chapter VII recounts the leading role of Jefferson, the Adamses, Dabney Carr, Patrick Henry and others, in giving voice to sentiments of liberty and union of purpose, and in forming Committees of Correspondence to aid in the circulation of ideas favorable to that purpose.
Somewhere, a former contributor to this site, John Armor (Congressman BillyBob), must smile at this discussion, as we remember that his final published work was on the life and words of Patrick Henry.
Most excellent find. Henry, like Franklin, were quintessential Americans. Despite humble births, they rose to great heights of honor.
The Rise of the Republic . . . should be the text of a two semester class in every US High School.
How many more patriots rather than socialists would face their first Presidential ballot at age 18?
BTW, have you read Gordon S. Wood’s “The Creation of the American Republic?” He reads like a Mark Levin on steroids, down in the weeds of Whig philosophy.
“Youd think that with all the loudmouths, absolutism, declarative statements, and posturing that goes on on this site that there are 1000 FReeper Patrick Henrys out there, but there are not.”
I wouldn’t think that. I’m a keyboard warrior, same as most everybody else here.
I like the secession threads that totally overlook the fact that we can’t even manage to get a candidate we can agree on through a primary, and yet somehow we’re going to secede from the union.
I’m a middle aged white guy who has led a decent but mostly unremarkable life.
It’s fun to post here about revolution and secession and Patrick Henry because it’s a form of adult “Cowboys and Indians”
The reality is that I’m going to keep doing what I’ve always done and try to hold things together as best I can. Vote for the best option, pay my bills and try to put a little something back for a rainy day.
On another note, I’d be willing to bet that at least of the people here would be cheering these same policies if it were the GOP implementing them.
JMHO but a lot of this is just the same as sports rivalry and because it’s all anonymous it’s easy to daydream about what we would do if only.....(insert movie hero scenario here)
Another benefit of Frothingham's work is that his footnotes provide additional resources for study.
Have read some of Wood's histories and essays, although he dwells rather heavily on the idea of "democracy," instead of the "democratic republic" focus of JQA, or the "Republic, if you can keep it" insistence of Franklin.
In the Introduction to one of his books, he does, however, point out some of the issues related to what he called 20th Century "Progressive historians" like Beard, one of the most widely used texts for teaching students for many years.
It is "The American Ideal of 1776," by Hamilton Abert Long, first published in 1963, and republished for the 1776 Bicentennial.
Burke is superb. An Englishman was indeed the worst possible person to talk another into slavery. He illustrated how gentlemen could, in so many words call the king and his ministers a collection of idiots.
As for Beard, his “An Economic Interpretation . . . “ wasn't nearly as hamfisted as I expected it to be. It bothered me not that successful men held government securities. However, I do not doubt what the progressives did with his discoveries. They had far too much time to abuse the men of our Framing before McDonald challenged them so very well.
That is a terrific source.