2nd Period Social Studies
Loyalty vs. Freedom
You have just returned home from a day’s work in the shop, when all of a sudden your door is kicked down. The dust settles. Four British troops enter, weapons drawn. One of the troops comes and points his rifle at your chest, bayonet stabbing your skin. “Are you loyal to England, or are you a rebel traitor, a patriot?” You look towards your family, cowering in the corner. You know that your decision will mean life or death. What would you say? These are tense times for our young nation. Right now, there are only two types of people: Loyalists and patriots. Patriots fight for the freedom that our children and grandchildren should have, but loyalists remain loyal to England. There are many reasons why we patriots choose to be who we are. No more unfair taxes, a representation in government, and getting the freedom we came for are just a few reasons why people choose to be patriots. So, what would you have said? If you said a loyalist, this might just change your mind.
The British had placed several taxes on us that benefitted themselves more than they did us, and many of these were done without our approval. The first of these taxes was the Quartering Act. This act was the one of the ones that started our distrust of England. We are forced to feed and shelter British troops in the area. Stamp-act-history.com states that “The act required colonial assemblies to provide housing, food and drink to British troops stationed in their towns with the purpose of improving living conditions and decreasing the cost to the crown.”(stamp-act-history.com). We should not have to shelter troops and waste our money on people that don’t even respect us. The second of these acts was the Townshend Acts. These acts force us to buy certain goods from England and only England. “The Act imposed import duties on 72 items including paint, tea, glass and paper. It also authorized the Supreme Court to issue writs of assistance for violators…” (stamp-act-history.com). Why can’t we have free trade? Because England is trying to earn back money that they spent. The final act is the Stamp Act. This act showed that we aren’t respected by England. We have to pay a tax for any paper sold to us. It showed that we aren’t respected. This act was the first tax to raise money for England (stamp-act-history.com). All of these taxes were made to support Britain, not our colonies. It is time that we have taxes that would benefit us. And as the saying goes, “No taxation without representation!”
If we win this war for independence, we can all have a say in how we are ruled, not just Parliament in England. England hasn’t given us a seat in Parliament ever since we first landed in this land. What makes you think that we will ever get a seat, or a say? “The government really did see the colonies as a cash cow and if they had any kind of political representation they would try to stop the government from treating them that way” (Rebekah Beatrice, historum.com) England thinks of us as property, so we can’t change how we are ruled. Even if the King thought of us as citizens, we wouldn’t get a say. England would still think of us as another one of their faraway lands that has no shot at getting anywhere in government or life. “The first English settlers in America considered themselves citizens of England. By seventeen sixty-three, however, the colonists thought of themselves as Americans.” (learningenglish.voanews.com) But now, we don’t consider ourselves British, we think of ourselves as Americans, so we deserve to be Americans. And if we become free, we can have a democracy, the chance to live and rule however we, the people, want to be ruled. We have ruled completely free of British control until now, when they needed us. They can’t just take away our way of life. “Generations of colonists had grown used to very little interference from the British government in their affairs.” (oshstewart.pbworks.com). Also, John Locke, an English philosopher stated our situation well, saying, “... the supreme power cannot take from any man any part of his property without his own consent..., that is, the consent of the majority, given it either by themselves or their representatives chosen by them.” (oshstewart.pbworks.com) As you can see, with freedom, we can choose how to live our lives.
Our grand-fathers and great grand-fathers settled here to escape the oppression of England, and England is trying to draw us back to their way of life. One of the reasons they left was due to primogeniture. This was a law created by England to deal with over population, and stated that only the first born son could inherit any land or money from the father (studymode.com). This caused many children to go without inheriting anything, one of the reasons our ancestors settled here. Second, they settled here to get rid of the English laws. One of these was that the only religion allowed was the Church of England, also known as the Anglican Church. Many people did not like this, and so they risked their lives to come here in hope of religious freedom (studymode.com). Finally, they wanted a new life. Many prisoners were dumped here due to a shortage of food in England, but the prisoners thought of it as a new start, a chance to start all over again.