A tale of two courses
of human events
‘In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury…’
By Marc Estrin | The Rag Blog | July 5, 2012
A recent Rasmussen poll found that 70% of Americans “Still Agree with Declaration of Independence.” If that is the case, it may be that they haven’t recently read beneath the fold to the fine print.
There, among others, we find as reasons for revolution a government’s
- refusing Assent to Laws,
- refusing to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people,
- invading the rights of the people,
- obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither,
- obstructing the Administration of Justice,
- keeping among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures,
- affecting to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power,
- subjecting us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws,
- quartering large bodies of armed troops among us,
- protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit,
- imposing Taxes on us without our Consent,
- cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world,
- depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury,
- transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences,
- taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments,
- transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny.
Because “In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury,” the writers and signers of the Declaration conclude that the government is “unfit to be the ruler of a free people.” In their case, they did something about it.
[Marc Estrin is a writer, activist, and cellist, living in Burlington, Vermont. His novels, Insect Dreams, The Half Life of Gregor Samsa, The Education of Arnold Hitler, Golem Song, The Lamentations of Julius Marantz, and The Good Doctor Guillotin have won critical acclaim. His memoir, Rehearsing With Gods: Photographs and Essays on the Bread & Puppet Theater (with Ron Simon, photographer) won a 2004 theater book of the year award. Read more articles by Marc Estrin on The Rag Blog.]
Marc Estrin has assembled, or re-assembled, a good bill of particulars. Some need greater elaboration or explanation, such as the quartering of troops without assent. In the 1770s this referred to a requirement that troops be housed and boarded at the expense of homeowners, which is not true today. Or, taxed without consent; to what does this refer? "Obamacare"?