Stephen Feldmeie​r

Unlike common belief, our Forefathers were not geniuses or Godlike. These people were forced into a position of leadership because of the events of that time period. These people were ordinary citizen of the colonies and were forced/volunteered/elected into the positions they held. Sam Adams was just a local farmer and states lawyer, John Hancock was a merchant, smuggler, and statesman. Thomas Jefferson was a surveyor, and as you can see the trend if I keep going. Combined there were lawyers, brewers, farmers, business men, statesmen and silversmith’s.

Also unlike common belief, the event we now days call the Boston Tea Party was not just about paying taxes, that was a small part of it, it was focused around King George III overstepping England’s Bill of Rights and Charter. It was also about unfair trade practices between the colonies and Great Britain, unjust taxes, and also implementing trade restrictions between the colonies and other nations, all of this when the colonies had no representative seated in Parliament speaking in behalf for the colonies.      

Also unlike common belief, the Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights and Constitution were not “visions”  the Forefathers had foreseen for the newly developed country called the United States of America.  Specific events occurred that lead up to the formation of the United States and the literature contained in the Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights and the Constitution.  

I will start the timeline in 1763 the end of the French and Indian War when England was in a finical crisis due to the cost of the war, meanwhile the colonies were prospering with their trade with other nations. The GNP of the colonies at that time were double that of England and France. King George III had no choice but to tax the colonies to regain the revenue lost for fighting the French in the Americas. After all the colonies were the ones whom benefited from the war. So King George III felt the colonies should repay England back so he threw out the Charter and the Bill of Rights by acting outside the confines of these documents. He imposed unfair trade acts, attached unfair taxes on merchandise to the point it was going to cripple the economies of the colonies.

This lead to the origination of the Sons of Liberty opposing the King’s actions. On Dec, 16th 1773 the Sons of Liberty felt the colonies had suffered enough abuse from the King that they stormed two of the King’s cargo ships tied up in Boston Harbor. On one ship they threw all the merchandise overboard and on the other ship they burnt it down to the keel. The King reacted with rage and made a statement: The colonies will either submit or triumph! So in 1774 he imposed 5 punishment acts on the colonies. These are referred to as the Intolerable Acts by the colonist or Coercive Acts by England.

These acts were so devastating to the Colony of Massachusetts the remaining colonies felt they had to unite to prevent the same from happening to them; on Sept 5th 1774 they formed the 1st Continental Congress to discuss matters of how to fight off these acts.  In Apr of 1775 the British feared the colonies were forming a monumental army that could possibly beat the British Army if the colonist became more organized, so the British decided to go after the military stores in both Concord and Lexington to disarm the colonist. This was the official start of the war, a war neither side wanted.

In Jun/Jul 1776 the 2nd Continental Congress with John Hancock as president realized the only recourse at that time is to declare their independence from England, remember they have been fighting for a year now. So the Declaration of Independence was drafted in a direct vindication of the acts imposed on the colonies. After the war during the Constitution Convention, the Bill of Rights and the Constitution were also written in a direct vindication of the Coercive Acts to insure a newly formed government or foreign government could not repeat what England did to the colonies in retaliation of the Boston harbor incident. Because the Coercive Acts had such a profound negative impact on the colonies, and only because of those acts is the direct result of the birth of the United States, her Constitution and Bill of Rights.


   You won’t find much in the writing of the Federalist and Anti - Federalist papers referring to the Bill of Rights or each individual right. You will find reference in the history of the Colonies and what happened between England and the Colonies between the years of April, 1763 and July 4, 1776. In those 13 years, 10 main events took place which and I will highlight each event in this color. Each of these events became an Amendment of the Bill of Rights.


   British Bill of Rights 1688 - protected British Subjects from being taxed without the consent of a representative in Parliament. It also states that - no standing army will be maintained during a time of peace without the consent of Parliament.  The following information was collected from several different websites.


   The British victory in the French and Indian war (1756–1763), had been won only at a great financial cost. During the war, the British national debt nearly doubled, rising from £72,000,000 in 1755 (equal to £9,474,327,273 today) to almost £130,000,000 by 1764, (equal to £15,611,504,425 today). Post-war expenses were expected to remain high because the Bute ministry decided in early 1763 to keep ten thousand British regular soldiers in the American colonies, which would cost about £225,000 per year, equal to £27,915,429 today. 


   The primary reason for retaining such a large force was that demobilizing the army would put 1,500 officers, many of whom were well-connected in, Parliament out of work. This made it politically prudent to retain a large peacetime establishment, but because Britons were averse to maintaining a standing army at home, it was necessary to garrison most of the troops elsewhere. So why not in the American Colonies?


   Stationing 10,000 troops to separate Indians and frontiersmen was one role. The outbreak in May 1763 of Pontiac's Rebellion, an Indian uprising against the British expansion, reinforced the logic of this decision. The main reason to send 10,000 troops deep in the wilderness was to provide billets for the officers who were part of the British patronage system.


   George Grenville—who became prime minister in April 1763—had to find a way to pay for this large peacetime army. Raising taxes in Britain was out of the question, since there had been virulent protests in England against the Bute ministry's 1763 cider tax, with Bute being hanged in effigy. The Grenville ministry therefore decided that Parliament would raise this revenue by taxing the American colonists without their consent. This was something new: Parliament had previously passed measures to regulate trade in the colonies, but it had never before directly taxed the colonies to raise revenue. 


   Remember the Colonist were not against taxes, as they had their own tax system in place to pay for their judicial system and such. They apposed taxes that were a revenue source solely for England. The sugar tax act and the stamp tax act were solely revenue sources for England.


   The first tax in Grenville's program to raise a revenue in America was the sugar tax of 1764, which was a modification of the Molasses of 1733. The Molasses Act had imposed a tax of 6 pence per gallon (equal to £3.52 today) on foreign molasses imported into British colonies. The purpose of the Molasses Act was not to actually raise revenue, but instead to make foreign molasses so expensive that it effectively gave a monopoly to molasses imported from the British West Indies.


   It did not work: colonial merchants avoided the tax by smuggling or, more often, bribing customs officials. The Sugar Act reduced the tax to 3 pence per gallon (equal to £1.5 today) along with the lower rate, due to the standing army  in New England enforcement of collecting the tax would increase compliance and thus increase the amount of tax collected. The act also taxed additional imports and included measures to make the customs service more effective. British solders searched any home if suspicion of smuggled,  molasses, tea or any other taxable items.


   American colonists initially objected to the sugar tax or economic reasons, but before long they recognized that there were constitutional issues involved. The British Constitution guaranteed that British subjects could not be taxed without their consent, which came in the form of representation in Parliament. The colonists elected no members of Parliament, and so for Parliament to tax them was seen as a violation of the British Constitution. There was little time to raise this issue in response to the Sugar Act, but it came to be a major objection to the Stamp Act the following year.


   The Stamp Act 1765  imposed a direct tax by the British Parliament  specifically on the colonies of British America, and it required that many printed materials in the colonies be produced on stamped paper produced in London, carrying an embossed revenue stamp. These printed materials were legal documents, magazines, newspapers and many other types of paper used throughout the colonies. Like previous taxes, the stamp tax had to be paid in valid British currency, not in colonial paper money. The purpose of the tax was to help pay for troops stationed in North America after the British victory in the French and Indian war . The British government felt that the colonies were the primary beneficiaries of this military presence, and should pay at least a portion of the expense.


   So on Dec 16th 1773 the Boston tea party occurred. Because of the destruction of several tons of tea and burning of a cargo ship, The Coercive Act was implemented.


   The Intolerable (Coercive) Acts (5) was the Patriot name for a series of punitive laws passed by the British Parliament in 1774 relating to Massachusetts after the Boston Tea Party. The 5 acts stripped Massachusetts of self-government and historic rights, triggering outrage and resistance in the Thirteen Colonies. These acts impose on the colonies were equivalent as to living in East Germany during the "Cold War" under the dictatorship of Erich Honecker. These were key developments in the outbreak of the American Revolution in 1775.


   The Boston Port Act, the first of the acts passed in response to the Boston Tea Party, closed the port of Boston until the East India Company had been repaid for the destroyed tea and until the king was satisfied that order had been restored.Colonists objected that the Port Act punished all of Boston rather than just the individuals who had destroyed the tea, and that they were being punished without having been given an opportunity to testify in their own defense.


   The Massachusetts Government Actprovoked even more outrage than the Port Act because it ended the local government of Massachusetts thus bringing it under control of the British government. Under the terms of the Government Act, almost all positions in the Massachusetts colonial government were to be appointed by the governor or the king, This simply meant replacing the Colonial elected government with a British appointed Government. 
The act also severely limited the activities of town hall meetings in Massachusetts to one meeting a year, unless the Governor calls for one. Colonists outside Massachusetts feared that their governments could now also be changed by the legislative branch of Parliament. If the Colonist were found meeting (3 or more), they would be brought to trial charged with treason and shot.

   The Administration of Justice Act  allowed the governor to move trials of accused royal officials to another colony or even to Great Britain if he believed the official could not get a fair trial in Massachusetts. Although the act stipulated that witnesses would be paid for their travel expenses, in practice few colonists could afford to leave their work and cross the ocean to testify in a trial. George Washington called this the "Murder Act" because he believed that it allowed British officials to harass Americans and then escape justice. Many colonists believed the act was unnecessary because British soldiers had been given a fair trial following the Boston Massacrein 1770.


   The Quartering Act applied to all of the colonies, and sought to create a more effective method of housing British troops in America.In a previous act, the colonies had been required to provide housing for soldiers, but colonial legislatures had been uncooperative in doing so. The new Quartering Act allowed a governor to house soldiers in other buildings if suitable quarters were not provided. So troops were quartered in unoccupied buildings such as pubs, barns, warehouses and such. Also, the Colonist were responsible to feed them, although many colonists found the Quartering Act objectionable, it generated the least protest of the Coercive Acts

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   The Quebec Act was a piece of legislation which although not explicitly related to the events in Boston came to be regarded as one of the Intolerable Acts. The timing of its passage in the same parliament session led colonists to believe that it was part of the program to punish them. The act extended the boundaries of what was then the British Providence of Quebec south to the Ohio River and west to the Mississippi, and instituted reforms generally favorable to the French Catholic inhabitants of the region, although denying them an elected legislative assembly. The act removed references to the Protestant faith in the Oath of Allegiance, and guaranteed free practice of the Romain Catholic faith. The Quebec Act offended a variety of interest groups in the British colonies. Land speculators and settlers objected to the transfer of western lands previously claimed by the colonies to a non-representative government. Many feared the establishment of Catholicism in Quebec, and that the French Canadians were being courted to help oppress British Americans. Some say that the Quebec Act was aimed directly at Benjamin Franklin, who was working to build an Ohio colony at the time.


   The Patriots viewed the acts as an arbitrary violation of the rights of Massachusetts, and in September of 1774 they organized the First Continental Congress to coordinate a protest. As tensions escalated, the British Generals realized that the Colonist were well armed also outnumbered the British Army. 


   So during the next few months the British decided to confiscate muskets, powder and shot whenever and wherever they could find these items. On the night of April 18, 1775, General Gage sent 700 men to seize munitions stored by the colonial militia at Concord, Massachusetts. Riders including Paul Revere alerted the countryside, and when British troops entered Lexington on the morning of April 19, they found 77 Minutemen formed up on the village green. Shots were exchanged, killing several minutemen. The British moved on to Concord to seize more arms, where a detachment of three companies was engaged and routed at the North Bridge by a force of 500 minutemen. As the British retreated back to Boston, thousands of militiamen attacked them along the roads, inflicting great damage before timely British reinforcements prevented a total disaster. With the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the war had begun. The American Revolutionary broke out in April 1775, leading in July 1776 to the creation of an independent United States of America.


  This link in an excellent reference about the 2nd Amendment.

http://www.davekopel.org/2A/LawRev/american-revolution-against-british-gun-control.html


"The government needs to frighten the people into believing that the federal government is the answer to all of their problems"

Stephen Feldmeier

"Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer."

John F. Kennedy

My Views on the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, and the Constitution 

"A government that oppresses  the people and causes tyranny is a government that is about to be revolted against."

Stephen Feldmeier

              The Bill of Rights

The protection of the people from the government! 



We The People     2020