America during the colonial days witnessed a real revolution take place. Some people believe that because of the distance between England and the colonies that in the hearts and minds of many of the colonists, a revolution had already taken place. What we see taking place, during these early years of discontent, were these gentlemen calling for their rights as Englishmen to be recognized. Few if any of those who protested sought immediate independence, but they sought a restoration of their rights. King George and his supporters such as Lord North were tone deaf to these rights. They acted as if these were just the protestations of the mob rather than the respect due to fellow Englishmen.
Today, in our political discussions we throw around the word revolution. Bernie Sanders talks about starting a revolution. If we were to change our political system he would be correct but if anything our political system is evolving in order to meet the challenges of today.
Once the Boston Tea Party took place, the colonists were on a course that was destined to be revolutionary, not only in their relations with their mother country, England, but in the development of a different form of government. This was our Revolution.
Ezra Stiles spoke of the possibility of the assertion of American rights, when he said, ” if oppression proceeds, despotism may force an annual Congress; and a public spirit of enterprise may originate in an American Magna Carta and Bill of Rights, supported by such intrepid and persevering importunity as even sovereignty may hereafter judge it not wise to withstand. There will be a Runnymede in America.”
Our Runnymede began on September 5, 1774, when 55 delegates met in what was our first Continental Congress. A famous Englishmen of the day, Dr. Johnson, called a meeting of “zealots of anarchy, ” others called them patriots. The men who attended in most part were known activists since the first days of the resistance, 1764.
John Adams was the chronicler of the event giving intimate descriptions of the participants.
Joseph Galloway of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania almost changed the outcome to be entirely different. If it were up to him and if he had won the argument,America, today, would be a dominion of England instead of the independent country that we have become. In committee his famous plan of unity went down to defeat by only a 6-5 vote. Just think if he won we would not be part of the English Commonwealth of nations.
What came out of the first Congress was a tremendous body of work. On the 14 of December Congress came out with the Declaration and Resolves which included a statement on rights the colonist’s had. A few days later Congress passed what has been termed as the first American Union, which included such things as a non-importation agreement having to do with their continued determination to not import any goods from England, the agreement also included a cessation of the slave trade.
One might ask what power did the colonialist derive their power from in agreeing to these matters. They derived their power from the people not some ruler or king.