Today in history – on March 18, 1766 – the British Parliament repealed the hated Stamp Act after widespread resistance led to what Murray Rothbard referred to as “the People’s Nullification of the Stamp Act.”
As TAC historian and blogger Dave Benner noted, “Few episodes in American history have so effectively demonstrated how to confront and end the enactment of malignant and unconstitutional laws.”
Their success was based heavily on widespread non-compliance and resistance.
John Dickinson put it this way in a broadside urging people to resist:
“IF you comply with the Act by using Stamped Papers, you fix, you rivet perpetual Chains upon your unhappy Country.”
The reason why should be obvious, but Dickinson continued:
“You unnecessarily, voluntarily establish the detestable Precedent, which those who have forged your Fetters ardently wish for, to varnish the future Exercise of this new claimed Authority”
This helped push forward the widespread resistance that was driven early on by Samuel Adams and the Sons of Liberty in Boston – following Patrick Henry’s urging in the Virginia Resolves of 1765 and his famous “if this be treason….” speech.
John Hancock may have summed it up best in a late-1765 letter to his London Agent:
“The people of this country will never suffer themselves to be made slaves of by a submission to the damned act.”
While repeal was something to celebrate, there wasn’t time for celebration – because on the VERY SAME DAY of the Stamp Act repeal, Parliament passed something even worse, The American Colonies Act of 1766 – what most today would refer to as “The Declaratory Act.”
Of all the Acts that angered the colonists and led to the War, the Declaratory Act is possibly one of the most important, but probably the least-known. It attempted to affirm unlimited, centralized power over the colonies, and patriots repeatedly railed against its assertion of British power “in all cases whatsoever”
Dickinson and Thomas Jefferson together cited it in the 1775 Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking up Arms. They basically said it was pointless to list out their grievances in detail – because Parliament claimed power over them in “all cases whatsoever.”
In a Boston Massacre Day speech the year prior, John Hancock explained that “taxation without representation” wasn’t the core issue – it was, in fact, merely an example of the British claiming power over the people “in all cases whatsoever.”
In the first of his “American Crisis” essays in Dec. 1776, Thomas Paine called on patriots to push on, even though things weren’t looking too great at the time. He urge them to reject compromise or deals on specific issues, because as long as the British claimed power over them “in all cases whatsoever” there could be no turning back.
It’s not just interesting history – but very much applicable today. Supporters of the monster state want YOU to believe that the “Supremacy Clause” – rather than making federal law supreme when in pursuance of the Constitution – makes federal acts supreme on anything they pass, anytime, and on any issue. If that’s not today’s version of “in all cases whatsoever,” it sure is dangerously close.
I covered this and more in a Path to Liberty episode from our archives.
At this link you can find the audio and video versions of the show, and some important reference links for you to check out:
I hope you find all this interesting and educational – of course, learning something is the most important.
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