The Power to Tax ... and Revolt

The Patriot Post · The Power to Tax ... and Revolt By Mark Alexander · Thursday, April 15, 2010 "An unlimited power to tax involves, necessarily, a power to destroy; because there is a limit beyond which no institution and no property can bear taxation." --John Marshall On December 16th, 1773, "radicals" from Boston, members of a secret organization of American Patriots called the Sons of Liberty, boarded three East India Company ships and threw into Boston Harbor 342 chests of tea.

This iconic event, in protest of oppressive British taxation and tyrannical rule, became known as the Boston Tea Party.

Resistance to the Crown had been mounting over enforcement of the 1764 Sugar Act, 1765 Stamp Act and 1767 Townshend Act, which led to the Boston Massacre and gave rise to the slogan, "No taxation without representation."

The 1773 Tea Act and resulting Tea Party protest galvanized the Colonial movement opposing British parliamentary acts, which violated the natural, charter and constitutional rights of the colonists.

In response to the rebellion, the British enacted additional punitive measures, labeled the "Intolerable Acts," in hopes of suppressing the burgeoning insurrection. Far from accomplishing their desired outcome, however, the Crown's countermeasures led colonists to convene the First Continental Congress on September 5th, 1774, in Philadelphia.

Near midnight on April 18th, 1775, Paul Revere departed Charlestown (near Boston) for Lexington and Concord in order to warn John Hancock, Samuel Adams and other Sons of Liberty that the British army was marching to arrest them and seize their weapons caches. While Revere was captured after reaching Lexington, his friend, Samuel Prescott, was able to evade the Red Coats and took word to the militiamen at Concord.

In the early dawn of that first Patriots' Day, April 19th, Captain John Parker, commander of the Lexington militia, ordered, "Don't fire unless fired upon, but if they want a war let it begin here." That it did -- American Minutemen fired the "shot heard round the world," as immortalized by poet Ralph Waldo Emerson, confronting British Regulars on Lexington Green and at Concord's Old North Bridge.

Thus, by the time the Second Continental Congress convened on May 10th, 1775, the young nation was in open war for liberty and independence, which would not be won until a full decade later. (Read more here1.)

Today, the tax burden borne by most Americans, even those who pay no direct federal taxes but at the least pay a great hidden cost in federal regulation, is far greater than that which incited our Founders to revolution. More: