Americans have dealt with the arrogance of power before. From 1756 through 1763 a world war ravaged the globe from India to Europe and from the farthest reaches of the Pacific Ocean to the deepest woods of Ohio. England and France fought to see who would become the greatest colonial power.
For seven years, battles raged throughout the Colonies as the French and their Indian allies pushed the Americans back across the Allegheny Mountains and sought to over-run the fertile area from the mountains to the coast which held the majority of English settlements. After many massacres and defeats the American Militias, with a core of British officers and supplies, were able to not only repulse the enemy but follow them home to Canada. Known as the French and Indian War in America and as the Seven Years War in Europe when the final treaties were signed in 1763, with the lone exception of Florida, England became the master of North America east of the Mississippi.
After the war the politicians in England had to deal with massive debt. They also had a restive public tired of shouldering the burdens of war. The politicians knew raising taxes at home might lead to political problems so they turned to the colonies as a source of plunder where the victims didn’t get a vote. They justified their actions saying England had paid to defend the colonists and now the maturing colonies should pay their own way. The colonists however, felt that with the French gone there was no one to defend them from. They also knew the taxes were bailing out the politicians without angering their voters thus birthing the classic rebel yell, “No taxation without representation!” When the taxes were ignored the British sent troops to enforce their will.
This explosive situation soon met the sparks which set it ablaze. As pamphleteers and patriots railed against the suppression of liberty ham-fisted British officers stumbled into debacles such as the Boston Massacre. The blood of Americans mingled with their economic self-interest and independent nature as the Boston Tea Party, Concord and Lexington led to war. The Declaration of Independence, eight years of war combined with French allies and the American Republic stood independent before the nations of the world. In a time of kings and landed aristocracy this was a bold experiment in freedom and opportunity birthed in a violent reaction to the arrogance of power.
In 1812, a mere two decades after the birth of our nation the arrogance of power evoked another strong reaction from America. The Napoleonic Wars once again pitted England against a newly resurgent France ripping Europe apart. As the wars dragged on England was in desperate need of trained seaman to maintain the navy, which would eventually strangle France. Using the excuse of their blockade they stopped neutral merchantmen on the high seas. Using brute force they kidnapped sailors they said were deserters forcing them to serve in the British navy for the duration of the wars. Many of these men were native born Americans who would never come home again.
When we could bare the insult to our independence and the interference with our commerce no more, we declared war on the super power of the day. Like David against Goliath America with almost no Navy fought against the largest Navy the world had ever seen. With a rag-tag gaggle of militias led by a sprinkling of trained officers we stood toe-to-toe with the best trained and equipped army in the world. They sunk our ships. They invaded our land. They burned our capital. Yet in the end we handed them the worst defeat their arms had suffered in a thousand years at the Battle of New Orleans. Andrew Jackson leading militias from as far away as Kentucky joined a hastily gathered force of irregulars and beat the best England had to offer. Again America stood up to the arrogance of power.
When Mexico, which was considered the greatest military power in the New World, disputed the Texas border we challenged the arrogance of their dictator Santa Anna and won the Southwest. When the German Empire declared unrestricted submarine warfare against our merchant fleet and tried to incite Mexico to stab a knife in our back America stood against the arrogance of power. When the Japanese Empire struck like a thief in the night and Hitler sought to build a thousand year Reich we stood against the arrogance of power. When the Communist slave masters of the Soviet Union sought to subjugate the world we stood against the arrogance of power.
In America today our own government as caricatured by the Democrat Party of Barak Obama, Nancy Peolosi and Harry Reid has decided they know best. Even though the vast majority of Americans said loudly, “We don’t want what you’re selling!” they’re forcing a socialized, collectivist agenda down our throats. With the only bi-partisan feature of their cradle-to-grave nanny state being the opposition of both Republicans and Democrats they’ve succeeded in gaining a legislative victory. But Americans know how to stand against the arrogance of power. Now is the time for all lovers of liberty to rally around the Constitution and the limited form of government it guarantees. Without violence, within the traditions of our great Republic, we must stand together or we’ll all hang separately. Read the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Look to American History. Educate yourself in what this country was founded to be. Look into the eyes of these totalitarian wannabees and say all together now, “NO!” to the arrogance of power. Keep the peace. Keep the faith. We shall overcome.
Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College and History for the American Public University System. http://drrobertowens.com © 2010 Robert R. Owens [email protected]