So, with the contentious gun debate happening I decided to try and form my own opinion on the founding fathers and guns. I formed it with little research or insight and after doing a minimal amount of the former I was rewarded with the latter and ended up invalidating my own opinion. I had premised my opinion on a theory that rather than being “tyrannical” the American colonists had a “falling out” with the British government in much the same way the southern states did during the civil war with the northern states. I had thought this British tyranny argument might have been a historical revision adopted by modern day political factions in an attempt to make it a mainstream myth that in many minds had become an axiom. I was wrong.
I want to make clear I knew about the intolerable acts before coming to this conclusion and it was because my knowledge only reflected an ambiguous perspective on the matter I thought myself to be correct. The tariffs forced on molasses, documents, and tea did not seem all that harsh to me given the much more dire economic circumstances present in the mainland England. And the quartering act as well as the ban on moving west of the appalachians were the only coercive mandates I could remember that threatened the colonists ability to self govern. This was the extent of the information I had on the actions being issued from the British government around the time and I thought them somewhat reasonable when the context was provided which shows the American colonists were the ones most benefitted by the seven year war and having to fund the debacle helped push the British economy into a deep recession. As to why the colonists weren’t given a seat in the British parliament I looked that up as well and apparently the representatives in the houses could only be picked by, and can only come from, an exclusive aristocratic group in England. From what I gathered there were many highly populated constituencies within the English mainland itself that had no representation in pariament so this seemed to be a nondiscrimate discriminate act not just contained to the colonies.
However, from reading on wikipedia about british tyranny it seems that there was an ongoing attempt being orchestrated jointly by King Harry III and members of the British parliament that were proof of the British’ government desire to strip governing powers from the colonies ruling class. It mentions there are a veritable number of bills that infringe on the right to self rule being implemented even prior to the intolerable acts. And, because it has been a while since I’ve read the Declaration of Independence. I had forgotten the references to british tyranny mentioned in the declaration of independence itself.
Here is the entirety of my rant prior to doing any actual research:
I find it kind of funny that anti-gun control arguments often center on a belief that the second amendment was set in place to thwart “government tyranny”. This argument would premise itself on the notion our country won its freedom from a “tyrannical” british empire which, while a good lesson plan to instill patriotic sentiments in elementary schoolers, isn’t how it went down and glosses over some details.
First, there needs to be a preface to kind of detail the political history surrounding the American colonies. Initially the british empire would send ships over to the new world with british administrators to oversee the same laws applied to the American colonists as were implemented in the british empire. This method ended up not going very well, as the new world decimated most attempts by Europeans to establish colonies. The result was most of the time when the new arrivals for an already “established” colony came by ship to settle in, and check on how the sites were doing, they were greeted by grizzly scenes. Just about every person from the prior ship load of colonists had either died or were very sickly. North America has a very diferent environment from Europe and so the colonists immune systems and farming experiences didn’t help them very much in this new territory. They had to find new agricutural staples that could survive in the dramatically different environments and also had to develop, or in some cases learn from native americans, new crop raising techniques. Additionally, they had to adapt to the new diseases that had been developing separately from the European environment. Eventually, there were much fewer volunteers to pioneer a voyage to the new world because of its prior low success rate.
I can’t remember which King it was, and I don’t really care to go look him up, but because of the success other countries had seen in South and Central America that yielded valuable metals, and good environments for items such as sugar cane, the king felt he was not receiving the expected profit from his investments and was desperate for any success at all. It lead to a decision made under the pressure, accompanied by the necessity, to make the country more competitive in a world that was in the middle of developing globalized trading practices. The King decided to make an incentive for new pioneers and declared that any person, or group, to travel to the new world could claim any land they found for their own and additionally told them they were free to exercise their own religious and political practices in any way they saw fit. This announcement carried the stipulation that the new American colonies were still to be considered british citizens and for a long time the colonies were british in name only.
And that history lesson sets up the story for the events just ahead of the Revolutionary war. The colonists adapted and established several colonies that were flourishing and seeing good profits from the triangle trade model around the Atlantic ocean. However, their numbers were exploding and many colonists were eager to travel further westward and claim more land for themselves. West of the Appalachians were native american and french settlements and a westward expansion from the American colonists would encroach onto their territory. The French colonists developed differently, from the British colonists, and there was a bit more symbiotic nature between the french colonists and native americans. They had developed a fur trade with the native americans and I think it utilized a route from east canada, to the mississippi river, made stops along french and indian settlements on the river, and eventually reached baton rouge where remaining items were traded with the Gulf area. :caution: Although I know this trade route existed later in history I’m not sure if it had already been established prior to the Revolutionary War and the only pertinent information in the previous statement is that the French and native americans traded with each other.:/caution:
As the American colonists tried expanding westward they were met with military resistance from an alliance formed by french colonists and native american tribes in the region. The American colonists found this dispute to be too much for them to handle alone and british deployments of soldiers and military supplies were sent as support. This war lasted for seven years and is known as both the “seven year war” and the “french and indian war”. After the war the British empire did what was one of the first implementations of this behavior in the colonies history, they exercised their sovereign powers over the colonies and banned the colonists from moving their settlements west of the Appalachians. The British reasoned that they didn’t want another outbreak of an incident as costly as the seven year war and that it might happen again if the colonists were to make another expansion attempt. Additionally, at the end of this war the British empire found itself in a terrible recession that was devastating to the British mainland population. At this point in time the British had restructured itself into a constitutional monarchy and, for the most part, british royalty were limited to mostly a position as figure head’s in british society. The governing powers had been assigned to the British parliament which was
:Note: After refreshing my memory of the ruling actions implemented by King George III and Parliament prior to the revolutionary war I agree that the British empire were tyrannical in their treatment of the colonists. :Note to self: Re-read the declaration of independence.