Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tea party precursors

The folks in Boston, known for liking baked beans and being prudes, are perhaps best known for instigating the American Revolution. Remember the Boston Tea Party?

I've just discovered a way in which modern extreme conservatives, calling themselves "tea party" types, echo the colonialists. And I don't mean people in the 1770s.

Back in the late 1670s, a century earlier, an investigator from England was appalled. People in Massachusetts were holding their own town meetings! Electing their own assemblies! Executing Quakers who, after all, were citizens of the United Kingdom! Somebody had to stomp down on these people!

Eventually, the English monarch sent Edmund Andros to govern all of New England, lumping the various New England colonials together in order to better deal with the coming "French and Indian War," as the Americans later called it. Andros quickly announced higher taxes, an end to the limited local democracy enjoyed by the colonials, and basically demanded that all British laws must be obeyed. The folks in Boston responded by briefly putting Andros and his advisors in jail.

What's interesting here is that the New England "tea partiers" of 1689 (not the tea dumpers of nearly a century later) quickly discovered that Andros had been born on the Isle of Guernsey - an island that, off and on, had been either owned by the British or the French. Was Andros a French spy? Sent to Boston to send Boston militia to the border with French Canada for his own nefarious purposes? Was he SUBVERSIVE?

Did he have a birth certificate from our 50th state? Was it valid? And what about Kenya? The more things change ...

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