Thomas Paine wrote on December 23, 1776, “Britain, with an army to enforce her tyranny, has declared that she has a right (not only to TAX) but “to BIND us in ALL CASES WHATSOEVER” and if being bound in that manner, is not slavery, then is there not such a thing as slavery upon earth.” Our founders stood against taxes and government mandated purchases. The colonists demanded that the British Government recognize that their Constitutions did not authorize this type of government control. As a result, the British Government repealed several laws, to include the Stamp Act. This might be a happy ending except the government was not willing to let go of this power; they were simply appeasing the people. The government did recognize the Constitution did not authorize their exercise of power, so they remedied that “oversight” by passing a law called the Declaratory Act.
The Declaratory Act was a legislative act that declared the government “has, and of right ought to have, full power and authority to make laws and statutes of sufficient force and validity to bind the colonies and people of America, subjects of the crown of Great Britain, in all cases whatsoever.” In addition to expanding the powers of the government, this act stated that all “resolutions, votes, orders, and proceedings, in any of the said colonies or plantations” that even questioned the government’s authority are “declared to be, utterly null and void to all intents and purposes whatsoever.” The government now only needed to prove that the each law was “fit for the good of the empire” to justify its mandates. Thomas Paine and his fellow countrymen recognized that when the government declares for itself unlimited power, there is no limit on the intrusion into and control over the lives of the citizenry. Continue Reading →