It’s that time again. High Holy Day. Today is the 253rd anniversary of the “shot heard ‘round the world” at Lexington and Concord. The British regulars who started the fracas were following an age-old government tradition of seizing powder, munitions and property for a pretentious King who had assumed such wide distribution of the tools of resistance should be available only to the government approved groups such as soldiers despite the danger on the frontier. We celebrate that time of defiance against tyranny when for sixteen years (1775-1791), all thirteen colonial provinces and the thousands of rural polities that exited outside or alongside the framework enjoyed a freedom they had not previously had and after 1791 would become enslaved once again under the totalitarian doomsday machine known as the Constitution. The lobster-backs and British taxing regime would be replaced by a domestic variety of even more extreme virulence whose sole safety mechanism was a constant western diaspora trying to escape the clutches of the “Republic”. The whitewashed history since then has lionized the inauguration of the divorce from the United Kingdom on this day and mistakenly links these events to all the “freedom” enjoyed under the Constitution. The Federalist coup in 1787 that reestablished an English-style yoke of central planning, national taxation and slight tinkering with indentured servitude to a kinder and gentler tax and regulatory apparatus did no more grant individual freedom than the Romans gave to conquered lands. The Declaration of Independence, whether penned by Thomas Jefferson or Thomas Paine, is as elegant a jeremiad against tyranny as has been written. The relationship between the Declaration and the Constitution is the same as the one between the crucifix and the vampire. They stand as opposite documents embracing wholly different visions of freedom. One cannot be consonant with the other because their aspirations are antithetical to the other. As the brilliant Lysander Spooner would opine: “But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain - that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case, it is unfit to exist.” CPT Parker commanded the militia this day for an idea that was smothered and crushed by the Federalist coup in 1787 culminating in the creation of the ratification of the most clever slave document of the age. When you look around on this day in this time in the minimum security (for now) Club Fed that is America, ask yourself what Parker would think. Everything you see (and don’t see in the surveillance state that surrounds you) is a product of the glorious Constitutional Republic that Spooner described so splendidly. As an Appleseed Instructor and Shoot Boss on extended sabbatical, part of the instruction in this extraordinary marksmanship program was a gripping retelling of the Three Strikes of the Match that led to the divorce proceedings with George III and started the First American Revolution. While I don’t share all the goals of the program hence the extended leave of absence, the telling of this ripping yarn has no match. I regret you can’t hear this from a seasoned instructor but the reading can be compelling. For those who wish further elucidation, I recommend Rothbard’s Conceived in Liberty and Fischer’s Paul Revere’s Ride. The two books will lead to many more books to better understand the hoodwinking you have suffered through government schooling and the attendant media apparatchiks who reinforce the mewlings of the mind laundries. These books will lead to better understanding the modest but brilliant interregnum when the North American Confederation was free excepting the large number of indentured servants and chattel slaves. But the Constitution would remedy this by nationalizing the former and codifying the latter. The destruction of individual liberty would begin apace. Please attend an Appleseed marksmanship weekend seminar if at all possible at your local range. You can make sure Parker’s sacrifice, he would die in September of that year, was not in vain. The taxes and limitations on liberty, you ask? 1750 The Iron Act was designed to restrict the manufacturing activities in the colonies 1763 The end of the French and Indian War (Seven Years’ War) left the British with a massive war debt. George Grenville became the British Prime Minister and to pay the war debt the British, under the leadership of Grenville ended their policy of Salutary Neglect in the colonies. The British started to enforce the Laws of the Navigations Acts and looked for ways of imposing new taxes in the colonies. 1763 Proclamation of 1763 was an attempt by the British crown to separate white settlements from Indian country 1764 Sugar Act - Law passed by the British Parliament setting a tax on sugar and molasses imported into the colonies impacting the manufacture of rum in New England. The Sugar Act was repealed in 1766 and replaced with the Revenue Act of 1766, which reduced the tax on molasses imports - also refer to Colonial, Continental and Revolutionary Currency 1764 Currency Act - Series of Laws passed by the British Government that regulated paper money issued by the colonies 1765 The Quartering Act: The first of a series of Laws requiring the provision of housing, food and drink to British troops stationed in towns designed to improve the living conditions of troops whilst decreasing the cost to the crown 1765 The Stamp Act of 1765 placed a stamp duty (tax) on legal papers, newspapers and pamphlets. Vehement opposition by the Colonies, led by patriots such as Patrick Henry, resulted in the repeal of the act in 1766. 1765 The Sons of Liberty. The Sons of Liberty was an an organization (a secret society) formed by American Patriots who opposed British measures against the colonists, and agitated for resistance 1765 The Non-importation Agreements (1765–75). Associations were organized by Sons of Liberty and Whig merchants to boycott English goods In response to new taxes. American colonists were discouraged from purchasing of British imports. 1766 The Declaratory Act: Declaration by the British Parliament that accompanied repeal of the Stamp Act stating that Parliament's authority was the same in America as in Britain and asserted Parliament's authority to make laws binding on the American colonies 1767 Townshend Acts - Series of Laws passed by the British Parliament placing duties on items imported by the colonists including glass, lead, paints, paper and tea. The reaction from the colonists was so intense that Great Britain eventually repealed all the taxes except the one on tea. Acts included the Revenue Act of 1767, the Indemnity Act, the Commissioners of Customs Act, the Vice Admiralty Court Act and the New York Restraining Act. 1770 March 5, 1770: The Boston Massacre during which British troops killed 5 Boston civilians. 1773 Tea Act - Law passed by the British Parliament allowing the British East India Company to sell its low-cost tea directly to the colonies, undermining colonial tea merchants. The introduction of the Tea Act led to the Boston Tea Party 1774 December 16: The Boston Tea Party - Massachusetts patriots dressed as Mohawk Indians protested against the British Tea Act 1774 Intolerable (Coercive) Acts: The Intolerable Acts also known as Coercive Acts were a were a reprisal to the Boston Tea party rebellion. A package of five laws aimed at restoring authority in its colonie March 31, 1774: The Boston Port Act May 20, 1774: The Massachusetts Government Act May 20, 1774: The Administration of Justice Act June 2, 1774: The Quartering Act June 22, 1774: The Quebec Act established on June 22, 1774 Reflect and remember this day should force you to think on the state of your chains, whether you acknowledge them or not. –BB The First Strike of the Match It’s 19 April, 1775. In Massachusetts Colony, the times were hard. The Colonial government had been abolished, and a military governor, General Thomas Gage, controlled Boston under martial law. Boston was practically a ghost town. The Port Act had seen to that, as the port had been closed to all traffic for months. The town slowly died without commerce, and many of those remaining in town relied on the kindness of outsiders to acquire food and necessities. Troops destroyed buildings and their contents for fire wood. Disease was rampant. The King was bent on breaking the radicals and bringing the colonies back in line, where they would pay dearly in taxes and subjugation to the motherland, and he was close to doing it. The precedent had been set. In order to subjugate the colonies, England would have to disarm them. The colonies had a long standing custom for militia, and the militia was armed. The most expedient method of disarmament was to take their ammunition. Gunpowder was typically stored in a specially built powder house for safety and security and drawn for the militia when needed. It was a simple matter to march in and take the colonists powder supply, and they had indeed done it before. In September of 1774, they had marched swiftly into Cambridge and carted off 250 half barrels of powder, hauling them back triumphantly to Boston. This had so alarmed the colonist that with 24 hours there were nearly 30,000 men on the march to Boston, hearing rumors that the Brits intended to burn and shell the town. The incident ended without bloodshed, but General gage, penned up in Boston with barely 3,000 troops had been so frightened that he asked the crown for an additional 20,000 men. Paul Revere swore that this would never happen again, that they would not be taken by surprise, and instituted the Committee of Observation, an elaborate spy network throughout the colony. Then they began to smuggle arms and powder and hide them in various remote locations. They had even stolen four brass cannon right out from under Gage’s nose, a theft not taken lightly by General Gage. Then in December, Paul Revere had ridden more than 20 hours straight, through a blinding blizzard, to warn the colonist in Portsmouth, New Hampshire that a British patrol was on the way by ship to confiscate their powder and ball. The Redcoats were met by a band of militia who raised the drawbridge across the river and simply taunted them. After a short skirmish, the Brits marched back to their ships empty handed this time. But the failure stung the pride of the British, and they yearned for revenge. Now the stage was set for another such raid. This time to Concord where they would have the added honor of capturing not only the provincial government, which had been meeting there, illegally, but also perhaps the traitorous Sam Adams and John Hancock, who were destined, they thought, to swing from the gallows in England. There was also rumored to be quite a stockpile of war materiel stored there. The Colonist had been forming an army, but as yet, it was only an “Army of Observation”, which was mostly sent out to shadow the British Regulars when they made forays into the countryside. This “Army” consisted of three groups: The main body was the Militia, mostly men from 16 to over 60 and able to fight. The second body was formed by taking 25% of the young men best suited from the militia to serve as “minute men”, who would drop what they were doing and report with musket and ammunition on a minute notice. Those not falling into either category made up the Alarm List, and were tasked with spreading the alarm and supporting the militia. General Gage knew he had to operate in total secrecy, for the colonist had an early warning system in place, with spies in Boston and alarm companies throughout the countryside. He told no one of his plans to raid Concord, save his trusted General Smith, and of course, his American born wife. This was to be his undoing.