Contrary to what most Americans are taught about the American Revolution, it was not incited by taxes per se, but by money.
We are not confident that the majority of Americans could correctly state the century or enemy of the war, much less its root cause, so we sally forth to educate them.
The common explanations for the revolt against the oppressive British revolve around taxation without representation, the tea tax, or the Stamp Act of 1765. Indeed there is an element of truth to each of these explanations, and indeed the authors of the Declaration of Independence enumerate a long list grievances against the British monarch. But these explanations fail to do justice to the core issue of money.
The British had followed a program of benign neglect towards its American colonies until the debts it had accumulated began to crush the fisc. At the time of the hated and hateful Stamp Act, the British government was paying 75% of its revenues in interest. Thus new sources of revenues were needed to continue its imperial wars and pay the banksters.
The American colonies provided just such a source whose time of squeezing had arrived. During the period of benign neglect, the colonies were self sufficient in some regards, particularly in money creation. They had grown independent of the Bank of England by issuing their own currency because the central bank so parsimoniously provided money.
The colonies’ solutions were the issuance of Colonial Scrip which the governments spent into the economy as debt free currency. This allowed for unprecedented prosperity and development of public services unavailable previously.
A series of British laws starting in 1764 began to undermine this system with consequent unemployment and economic depression. The first law was the Currency Act which required that all taxes be paid in silver or gold. The problem was that silver and gold were scarce and too costly to remit, in part because the Bank of England controlled the supply and would not make it available.
This law compared unfavorably to the Jim Crow laws of the American South a century later which required that black tenant farmers with no education be able to read and translate, for example, a treatise in Burke’s Commentary in order to prove that they could read before granted the right to vote.
In 1765 Parliament passed the Stamp Act requiring that a stamp be affixed to certain items proving that the required tax had been paid in gold. This was the straw which broke the camel’s back, inciting open rebellion against the oppressive British crown.
Coupled with mass unemployment, crippled commerce, and onerous taxes, the colonists took to arms to overthrow their hated overlords, perhaps the most shining moment in American history.
Benjamin Franklin admitted that the colonies would have suffered the annoying taxes, including that on tea, had their economy not been decimated by the British and their banksters.
Thus the central issue in the American Revolution was the matter of money – not the taxes per se. For further insights into the American experience with central banking, see the superb award winning documentary, The Secret of Oz.
Bill Still, The Secret of Oz, 2009
Copyright 2013 Tony Bonn. All rights reserved.