May 3, 2010

WE'RE BRITISH AFTER ALL:

Founding Amateurs? (GORDON S. WOOD, 5/03/10, NY Times)

THE American public is not pleased with Congress — one recent poll shows that less than a third of all voters are eager to support their representative in November. “I am not really happy right now with anybody,” a woman from Decatur, Ill., recently told a Washington Post reporter. As she considered the prospect of a government composed of fledgling lawmakers, she noted: “When the country was founded, those guys were all pretty new at it. How bad could it be?”

Actually, our founders were not all that new at it: the men who led the revolution against the British crown and created our political institutions were very used to governing themselves. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Adams and John Adams were all members of their respective Colonial legislatures several years before the Declaration of Independence. In fact, these Revolutionaries drew upon a tradition of self-government that went back a century or more. Virginians ran their county courts and elected representatives to their House of Burgesses. The people of Massachusetts gathered in town meetings and selected members of the General Court, their Colonial legislature. [...]

If one wanted to explain why the French Revolution spiraled out of control into violence and dictatorship and the American Revolution did not, there is no better answer than the fact that the Americans were used to governing themselves and the French were not.


There's another amusing Tea Party fact no one is mentioning, immigration limits were a cause of the Revolution.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 3, 2010 2:47 PM
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