They had good reason to rebel because they had a unique and new vision of freedom, and not because the British really represented a tyranny as JJ has defined it.
Actually, the colonists were subject to several ingredients of tyranny that we are not subject to in the current United States.
Again let us revisit the definition I gave.
Tyranny - A situation where absolute power is in the hands of an individual or group, and such power is cruelly used to satisfy the desires of the individual or group with no regard to the pain and suffering of the subjects who are forced to obey or suffer death, unjust imprisonment, excommunication or torture. The power of the cruelty of the tyrant is so pervasive that the majority of the people live in fear of expressing any type of opposition.
(Note: This is the definition I gave as it applies to chapter thirteen. This does not mean that I will not use one of the other dozen definitions of the word when used in varying contexts.)
Here are the tyrannical ingredients they were living under that are not existent today.
(1) They were subject to the whims of a non-elected absolute monarch who had little regard for the needs or suffering of the average colonists.
(2) The Quartering Act. If a British soldier needed some place to stay and food to eat, they had to let them in their homes and feed them.
This allowed for, not just occasional abuse as happen within all police forces, but sanctioned unrestrained absolute or tyrannical power of the soldier over the homes of colonists without regard to their rights or feelings.
(3) The Proclamation of 1763 forbidding colonists to settle west of the Appellation Mountains.
This somewhat corresponds to the Berlin Wall keeping the East Germans in.
(4) The Writ of Assistance, which allowed the British to search their homes or property without cause.
Some would argue that the Patriot Act does the same thing, but there are major differences. This act was not enacted by an occupying country, but by our own country with the support of the majority. The majority of Colonists were against the Writ of Assistance. The intent of the Writ of Assistance was to put the fear of God in the average inhabitant whereas the Patriot Act is to weed out terrorists and mostly affects non-citizens.
If the Patriot Act is abused we may be sure that the ACLU and many other organizations will be up in arms crying foul. In fact they will probably do so even if it is not abused.
(5) The Declaratory Act, which gave England the power to create whatever law they felt for the colonies without their consent.
Although the judicial branch does this to some extent today, at least it is our own creation doing it and not a foreign absolute power.
(6) The Administration of Justice Act, which made it so that British Soldiers could not be tried in a colonist court for crimes the commit. In this same category let us add: The Impartial Administration of Justice Act, which gave British troops freedom from Massachusetts's law. They were allowed to do whatever they wanted without worrying about consequences.
Imagine if our soldiers today could burst into our homes, stay for a month, rape our daughters and could not be prosecuted. This would certainly qualify as a tyrannical situation and nothing like it exists in the States today.
One of the main causes of the rebellion that has not been mentioned was not so much the taxes or even these draconian laws, but that the colonists saw a visible erosion of their freedoms and an encroaching full blown tyranny if something was not done to stop it.
The analogy of slow boiling of the frog is given to illustrate how we are currently buying into the loss of our freedoms. The British made the mistake of boiling the colonists too quickly allowing them to feel the warning pain giving them time to rebel.
Copyright 2002 by J.J. Dewey, All Rights Reserved