“A Revolution Not Made But Prevented”

The Daily Reckoning trampled sacred ground this Independence Day… and profaned the national religion of America.

For we posted grave heresies about the American Revolution.

This is the question we raised, leadingly, provocatively, heretically:

“Was the American Revolution a mistake?”

We may as well have declared Benedict Arnold a hero… George Washington a traitor… the revolutionaries a crew of cutthroats… and the Fourth of July a blackguard’s holiday.

Yet the article’s author — Mr. Gary North — roared a thunderous “yes” to our question.


“I did not celebrate the Fourth of July today,” he thundered… with fire in his heart, blood in his eye, venom in his words.

Why did Mr. North refuse to celebrate this July Fourth… or any other July Fourth?

Here is the answer:

Because he believes the American colonists were the freest peoples on Earth.

And at 1% — perhaps 2.5% in the southern Colonies — King George’s tax bite was so light it failed to break the skin.

That is, the Revolution was a grand swindle and the Declaration of Independence a packet of lies.

Please click here if you missed Mr. North’s blasphemies.

Reader reaction was… robust.

These Minutemen seized their muskets, loaded their cannons and came leaping to the defense of a cause they consider just.

Readers Let Gary North Have It

The author is “flat-out wrong,” insists reader D.R. What is more, the author is a statue-toppler:

You’re flat out wrong. There was a 16-year trajectory of abuse. To claim otherwise is no different than taking down statues. Revisionist history all the way down.

Rick I. would pack Mr. North off to the mother country:

I get the impression North has never read the list of grievances in the Declaration of Independence. Does he think that it was only the taxation they objected to or does he really want to rationalize all those other issues?

If he thinks we should have been so happy and contented being British citizens, maybe he’d prefer to go live in jolly old England now.

I’d be the first to say, “Good riddance.”

Martha M. — or is it Martha W.? — was so boiled up she declared her independence from our tyrannical crown.

“Cancel my subscription,” she roared, adding:

Sorry you hate the United States and what it stands for. Sure don’t want advice from you.

Reader D.G., meantime, believes North misses fire altogether.

The Stamp Act did not father the American Revolution, argues this reader. Nor did the Intolerable Acts.

Its father was the Currency Act:

Parliament learned in 1763 from Ben Franklin that the American Colonies were creating their own interest-free money without being dependent on debt-forever money from the Bank of England, Parliament declared the Colonial Scrip to be illegal. In 1764 they passed the Currency Act that put more teeth into their earlier declaration. The immediate result was a ghastly depression in the Colonies from the inability to do business. Ben Franklin is quoted as saying that’s what really turned enough of the Colonial population against England and what motivated the Revolution…

Now why government-school history books today attribute the Revolution to that minor tea tax suspension instead of the fight over debt-free money versus debt-forever money from the Bank of England is another question. Could it be that the debt-forever counterfeiting money we are stuck with today from the Federal Reserve is just a resurrection of the ancient Bank of England scam — and not something the sheeple need to know about?

Our reader raises delicate questions for which we have no answer — no official answer at least.

We leave you to your own conclusions.

Yet to return to our central question: Was the American Revolution a mistake?

Was the American Revolution Actually a Revolution?

We must consider if the American Revolution was in fact a revolution…

It was a rebellion, that is sure. But a revolution?

A revolution is a thorough overhaul, a mass reordering, a 180-degree swinging around.

Please see the French Revolution. Please see the Russian Revolution. Please see China’s Cultural Revolution.

Each was out to turn society upon its head.

Each was out to rip down the old buildings… and erect new buildings in their place.

Each was out for earthly Utopia.

Yet the American colonists cherished the old buildings. They would leave them intact.

“A Revolution Not Made but Prevented”

They were merely out to preserve their ancient rights of Englishmen, the “chartered rights of Englishmen.”

And unlike the revolutions above referenced… they disbelieved in Utopia.

They believed — correctly or incorrectly — that old King George was menacing their ancient English rights, their chartered English rights.

And so they seceded from royal authority in defense of the old ways.

Thus the shot heard ’round the world was fired in defense. It was an act of preservation — not revolution.

Like England’s 1688 Glorious Revolution… this has been said of the American Revolution:

It was “a revolution not made but prevented.”

Dead Historians Weigh In

Late historian Trevor Colbourn authored The Lamp of Experience: Whig History and the Intellectual Origins of the American Revolution.

From which:

In insisting upon rights which their history showed were deeply embedded in antiquity, American Revolutionaries argued that their stand was essentially conservative; it was the corrupted mother country which was pursuing a radical course of action, pressing innovations and encroachments upon her long-suffering Colonies. Independence was in large measure the product of the historical concepts of the men who made it…

Affirms Clinton Rossiter, another historian presently lounging upon a heavenly cloud:

Practical political thinking in 18th-century America was dominated by two assumptions: that the British Constitution was the best and happiest of all possible forms of government, and that the colonists, descendants of free-born Englishmen, enjoyed the blessings of this constitution to the fullest extent consistent with a wilderness environment.

Adds a third deceased historian, a certain Daniel Boorstin:

The most obvious peculiarity of our American Revolution is that, in the modern European sense of the word, it was hardly a revolution at all. The Daughters of the American Revolution, who have been understandably sensitive to this subject, have always insisted in their literature that the American Revolution was no revolution but merely a Colonial rebellion. The more I have looked into the subject, the more convinced I have become of the wisdom of their naiveté…

The American Revolution was in a very special way conceived as both a vindication of the British past and an affirmation of an American future. The British past was contained in ancient and living institutions rather than in doctrines; and the American future was never to be contained in a theory.

Thus concludes our disquisition on the American Revolution — or rather, the American War of Independence.

America’s Current Revolution

The United States is presently ensnared in the rages of an authentic revolution — a cultural revolution.

Today’s revolutionaries follow the French, Russian and Chinese examples. They reject — violently — the American model.

The American colonists were out to preserve their ancient and chartered English rights. They fought to keep the old buildings upright.

Today’s revolutionaries are out not to preserve the old ways… but to murder the old ways.

They fight not to keep the old buildings upright… but to haul the old buildings down.

They have already begun with the statues…


Brian Maher
Managing editor, The Daily Reckoning

The Daily Reckoning