As we begin our study of liberty, it would do us well to consider the sage and impassioned words of Richard Henry Lee of Virginia regarding the Intolerable Acts of 1774:
He describes them as “a most wicked System for destroying the liberty of America.”
So what are the Intolerable Acts and why did they evoke such anger?
Well, shortly after the Boston Tea Party, the Acts were imposed upon the colonists as a punishment intent on stifling rising tensions that ironically were precisely what led to that fateful night wherein over 300 boxes of British Tea were destroyed and thrown overboard into the Boston Harbor.
To add insult to injury, the Acts dramatically lessened their ability and right to self-governance.
So as all good patriots possess strong determination, the colonists took quick and decisive action and on September 5th, 1774, sent delegates to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
This group, representing each of the thirteen colonies, save one (Georgia), met and constructed the Articles of Association which insisted on a full “repeal” of the Intolerable Acts under threat of the boycott of English goods if not fully revoked by this day in 1774.
While the boycott was a success and led to a marked drop in trade with Britain, alas, it was not enough to stave off the burning desire of many a colonist to experience real and lasting liberty unshackled by the oppressive chains of the Mother country.
And to think, the seemingly defiant actions prior to the revolution were intended to maintain our allegiance to our founding nation of England while also protesting the unreasonable demands of the ever-strengthening iron-fisted grip of a tyrannical government that refused to listen to its far-flung citizens.
War was soon to break out and the brilliant experiment known as America would soon become more than a mere twinkle in the eye of good men like George Washington and John Adams.
“Prudence is no doubt a valuable quality, but prudence which degenerates into timidity is very seldom the path to safety.” – Viscount Cecil