DISCLAIMER: This column was prepared by Editor Carlisle du Rozel in his personal capacity. The opinions expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of the Squawker Media or any affiliated persons.

The longsuffering resentment of the British American colonies towards their motherland by the last quarter of the 18th century manifested itself in a violent manner. On the evening of April 18, 1775 roughly 600 British men were fired upon during a mission to arrest Samuel Adams and John Hancock. Adams and Hancock were known revolutionaries who promoted civil unrest and treason against the British land among the colonists, and upon an attempt by a contingent of British soldiers to arrest the two men without the intention of bloodshed, they were fired upon by the colonialist citizens of Lexington. One British officer records the event in claiming that, “Our troops advanced towards them, without any intention of injuring them.”[1]

A certain revolutionary by the name of Samuel West later defended the violent reaction by the colonialists towards the British magistrate, claiming that, “[In] some cases of interoperable oppression, where compliance would bring on inevitable ruin and destruction, [one] may justly warrant the few to refuse submission to what they judge inconsistent with their peace and safety; for the law of self-preservation will always justify opposing a cruel and tyrannical imposition, except where opposition is attended with greater evils than submission, which is frequently the case where a few are oppressed by a large and powerful majority.”[2]

The American colonies did not understand several different contributors to what they labeled as “oppression” by their British motherland. The British magistrate was required to make the American colonies profitable through high taxation because of the looming debt incurred by the Seven Year War which had ended only years earlier. Some form of revenue generation was required upon the massive debt acquired by the recently ended warfare. Although the American colonialists believed the Colonial Currency Act, the Sugar Act, and the Stamp Act to be signs of British oppression towards the American economy and financial situation, these three acts passed by the British government were intended to help mend wounds which had been recently created in the British economy.

Had the American people possessed any true loyalty to the historic institution of the British monarchy or expressed any devotion towards the divine right of kings, the feeling of oppression by the American people due to high taxes could have easily been avoided. Loyalty to one’s king and the sacrifice of individual liberty for the sake of bettering one’s nation does not amount to slavery, and the American colonies failed to understand this due to the lack of piety instilled in them by revolutionaries such as Adams and Hancock.

The 13th-century theologian and philosopher St. Thomas Aquinas speaks of the merits given to a monarchy and the tyrannous rule of democracies, writing that, “several persons could by no means preserve the stability of the community of they totally disagreed… So one man rules better than several who come near being one… Among bees there is one king bee and in the whole universe there is One God, Maker and Ruler of all things… it follows that it is beset for a human multitude to be ruled by one person.”[3]

In rebelling against the rule of the Kingdom of Great Britain, the American colonies failed to uphold the natural dictation of the divinely instituted rights of kings and the loyalty owed to them thereof. Despite the moving words of Samuel West in the earlier mentioned quote, there was no legitimate oppression committed on behalf of the Kingdom of Great Britain towards the American people that would have warranted any right to refuse submission to the crown.

In conclusion, the Revolutionary War of the United States incited by the false feelings of oppression because high taxation imposed by the British motherland can be defined in no other way than treacherous. The disloyalty expressed in the face of the glorious British kingdom and its attempt to reestablish itself economically by the American colonies is unbiblical, impious, and unpatriotic. The treason committed by the American colonies has wronged the British magistrate and spat in the face of the very authority which the blessed apostle commands us to uphold. “For the Lord’s sake accept the authority of every human institution, whether of the emperor as supreme, or of governors, as sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to praise those who do right.”[4]

Works Cited

  • [1] “Battle at Lexington Green, 1775: The British Perspective,” EyeWitness to History, www.eyewitnesstohistory.com (2010).
  • [2] Samuel West, “On the Right to Rebel against Governors,” The History Carper, http://www.historycarper.com (1776).
  • [3] Aquinas, Thomas, On Kingship (Pontifical Institute of Medieaveal Studies: Toronto, 1982), 12-13.
  • [4] I Pet. 2:13-14 NRSV.