Tahrir Square and the Founding of the United States
The lessons learned from Tahrir Square are not limited to Tahrir Square, but they can be also applied to the Founding of the United States as well.
By Lia Bozzone and Kyleigh Dumas
Change Happen Over Night
In 1763, the British and the American Colonists were working together in the French and Indian War. Soon after, the Stamp Act of 1765 was imposed upon the Colonists, causing tension that would just keep building with time and other events. It wasn’t until 1776 when the Declaration of Independence occurred, and then in 1777 the Articles of Confederation were proposed. Four years later, it was finally ratified by the states in 1781. However, it was very evident that there were issues with how the Articles of Confederations worked. At the State House in Philadelphia on May 25, 1787, the creation of the Constitution began. It was a long and tedious process over the summer: drafting, debating, and creating. The ratification process happened over the next few years. Finally, in the Spring of 1789, the first president of the United States, George Washington, was sworn in under the new constitution.
Change Happen Over Night
End of French and Indian War
Declaration of Independence
Articles of Confederation Proposed
Articles of Confederation Ratified
Start of the Creation of the Constitution
George Washington sworn in
Revolution is About Showing Up
People had to show up to cause change. The Sons of Liberty didn’t magically put up the handbills condemning righteous disturbance. They put them up in response to the British soldiers’ actions which caused the Battle of Golden Hill. Without those handbills, there wouldn’t have been the street fighting that lead to blood being shed on both sides.
They are a patriot organization that is thought to have originated in 1765 by the Loyal Nine made of shopkeepers and artisans. As the group grew, it became the Sons of Liberty. A very influential group, the Sons of Liberty protested the Stamp Act, were involved in the Boston Tea Party, and tried to undermine British authority. These were the people who organized resistance movements against Britain. They had members in all of the colonies and were an important force in the quest for independence.
Who are the Sons of Liberty?
The Boston Massacre began with a group of American boys and young men harassing a representative of British authority. Snowballs and ice were thrown, escalating to a group of residents fighting for their freedom. It was a diverse group of rich and poor as well as different races that had a common interest. There were 5 men killed that day: an African-American sailor and escaped slave, a feather maker, a worker at a ropewalk, a person who worked on a ship, and a seventeen-year old boy.
Then there was the Boston Tea Party, where disguised Sons of Liberty threw tea chests overboard. Even though some Americans did not approve of this destruction of property, the Sons of Liberty showed up and showed their message that they wanted change.
There was also Shay’s Rebellion of 1786 when people protested the collection of taxes and debts from struggling Americans. They protested peacefully until several of their leaders became more militant. This showed the colonists’ right to rebel and that the National Government was not very strong; it had to be stronger than what the Articles of Confederation called for.
It is not only important to be aware of those who show up, but taking into consideration who doesn’t show up is important too. During the writing of the Constitution, only 55 of the 74 delegates to the convention attended. There were 7 former governors, 39 former members of the Continental Congress, and some that helped write state constitutions a few years earlier. These were wealthy men of status whose average age was 42 years old. These people were involved in the debates over the summer which helped develop the Constitution. However, the delegates that didn’t attend the convention didn’t have their voices heard directly, but rather, it shows some of the fears that meeting would centralize power in the new nation. In this case, it was the lack of showing up that symbolized their opinion. The delegates that did show up did have a better chance of having their opinions be heard though.
Start by Changing the Narrative
The Declaration of Independence greatly stressed the importance of the independence Americans deserved from Great Britain. In the Declaration the colonist state their distaste for the king, and how he took away their natural rights. They used words to express their aspirations. Another way they used their words, was with Thomas Paines a Common Sense. In this piece of writing it is expressed that the people want to Reject British heritage, condemn monarchy, and embrace democracy. This was the most influential pamphlet of the Revolutionary Period. Khalid Abdalla, the English-Egyptian actor who became the voice of Tahrir's revolutionaries to the Western world, says “The battle is in the images. The battle is in the stories.” Basically saying that the power doesn't lie with those who run the country.
Propaganda was also used to express the colonists aspirations. One example of propaganda is the Join or Die Snake. This snake was used by the Franklin to convince colonies that if they join together they are a stronger force, and they will be threat to others.
As Adams once wrote to Jefferson, “‘This would be the best of all possible Worlds, if there were no Religion in it.’ But in this exclamati[on] I should have been as fanatical as Bryan or Cleverly.” There is always religion that will influence things for eternity. It is inescapable and seems as if it goes hand and hand with man.
It's not about Independence vs. Religion
A prominent example is when Virginia considered a General Assembly bill to levy a religion tax in support of Christian denominators chosen by each citizen to establish Christianity as the state religion. Jefferson and Madison opposed the bill and said that it needs to be secular to guarantee religious liberty. This was eventually incorporate into the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights by Madison. Religious opinions are also evident in the letters between Jefferson and Adams. Jefferson believed in having a secular state while Adams approved of the integration. There was not a divide of religion versus independence, but there was a divide on how influential religion should be once independence was achieved. People of all different races, backgrounds, and religion showed up to fight for their independence from Britain. Religion did play a role with the Founding Fathers, but it was not independence verses religion.
Human Rights Violations Affect Us ALL
The Pacifist, a person who believes war and violence are unjustifiable, appealed for tolerance within the first few years of the revolution.(1775-1778) They wanted tolerance from the war and the oaths of allegiance. As colonies began to get ready for war they begun to hire able-bodied men to fight. Pacifist believe contributing to war is unacceptable to god, so if they were asked to join they would deny the request. Pacifist were also against taking oaths, because Oath taking involves swearing to the truthfulness of one's words and intentions, which implies that one might not be truthful unless taking an oath. So when Pacifist refused to sign oaths, and contribute to war, they were fined, imprisoned, and called traitors/Loyalist.
If You Want the Story, Go to the People
On January 10, 1776, Common sense by Thomas Paine was put on sale. It was a call for independence, and it was used to undermine the deliberative work of the Continental Congress. Thomas Paine wrote to Reject British heritage, condemn monarchy, embrace democracy, enlighten the world. He was the only man who published his anger for the colonies to see, he even gave patriotic leaders anxiety. This was the most influential pamphlet of the Revolutionary period.
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