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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/12229/the-american-revolution/

The American Revolution

March 17, 2010 by

The motive was empire on one side and self-government on the other. It was a question between liberty and authority, between government by consent and government by force. FULL ARTICLE by John Dalberg Action

{ 7 comments }

Don Duncan March 17, 2010 at 12:53 pm

I can’t believe Action would give federalism the credit for American prosperity. How is the imposition of a strong, overriding central government conducive to economic freedom? Any prosperity we enjoyed is IN SPITE OF our federal government. It should be clear to all after 200+ years that the great American revolution was countered by Hamiltonianism. It began with Hamilton’s sneaky replacement of the Articles with the Constitution. He was a brilliant politician, i.e., a short sighted opportunist.

George F. Smith March 17, 2010 at 2:03 pm

Lord Acton failed to mention the critical role of Thomas Paine in the drive to independence. He writes: “Two months [after Lexington] the first action was fought at Breed’s Hill . . . . After the first battle the colonies declared themselves independent. Virginia, acting for herself only, led the way. Then the great revolutionist, who was the Virginian leader, Jefferson, drew up the Declaration of Independence, which was adopted by the remaining states.”

The colonies did not declare themselves independent after the first battle. Quoting Benjamin Rush from my script, in the early months of 1776: “We commissioned George Washington to fight the British. We gave him no orders about fighting for independence. Washington and his men are fighting as aggrieved British subjects. As recently as Christmas Day [1775], the New Hampshire legislature expunged the word ‘independence’ from their speech.” Prior to the publication of Paine’s Common Sense on January 10, 1776, independence was not a popular sentiment.

Xeno77777 March 17, 2010 at 4:24 pm

The American Founding Fathers were Federalists; but only as a temporary expedient; The American Founding Fathers were steeped in Aristotle and The Natural Law; and they were Nationalists and Aristotelians and Natural Law Students First and Foremost. There is Nothing in Aristotle and the Natural Law mandating Federalism. States and Corporations have No Rights, only Individuals and their Representatives can speak for their Rights!

John March 17, 2010 at 6:44 pm

An interesting period of history, the article does however constantly refer to England when it means Britain which is distracting. While mentioning Canada, it doesn’t report that some American colonists were and remained Loyalists, and that some in Britain supported the Rebels.

Vanmind March 18, 2010 at 7:08 am

My maternal ancestors moved during that period from the Boston area to Nova Scotia. For at least as long as I’ve been alive, my mom has been a member of the IODE (International Order of Daughters of the Empire).

I think she’s like a 33rd degree matron, or something.

Nathaniel March 17, 2010 at 11:27 pm

I can’t believe Action would give federalism the credit for American prosperity. How is the imposition of a strong, overriding central government conducive to economic freedom?

Make sure you understand what Acton means by Federalism. He supported the South in America’s Second War of Secession because it was the side that understood Federalism, not the North. Federalism is not a powerful central government; it is a system in which the federated States retain their complete sovereignty. I don’t remember who said it (maybe Tom Woods?) but in the debates over the Constitution, most of the so-called “Anti-Federalists” were actually true Federalists, and the so-called “Federalists” were really monarchists/statists.

Acton was no anarchist, to be sure, but he hated centralization of power just as much as all of us, and lamented the decline of American freedom as Federalism waned and the federal government grew and grew.

Tony Flood March 18, 2010 at 1:25 pm

If I may toot my own horn, please have a look at my 2006 appreciation of Acton as a libertarian hero: http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig6/flood2.html

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