Historical Focus and Political Rants
Charles M. Andrews was wrong to associate the “blind unreason of revolt” with the actions of the American revolutionaries. The revolutionaries were able political organizers who persuaded the people in Massachusetts to defend their life, liberty and towns against the Crown. In Massachusetts, the American revolutionaries coupled effective military strategy with political solidarity to defend themselves from the British Regulars.
The Crown did not tolerate colonial activity that challenged the mother country’s constitutional authority over the colonies. The colonies were not supposed to interrupt the course of trade with Great Britain. During the second half of the eighteenth century, British Parliament placed burdensome and restrictive economic and political policies on the colonies, such as the Sugar Act of 1764, the Declaratory Act of 1766, and the Tea Act of 1773. “Between 1764 and 1774, Great Britain imposed on her American colonies a series of measures that plunged the empire into periodic and ever more serious crises until the armed confrontation of April 19, 1775.”
During 1764, Parliament imposed the Sugar Act on the American colonies. The Sugar Act, revised from the Molasses Act of 1733, initiated a series of aggressive policies placed on the colonies; followed by the Stamp Act of 1765, the Declaratory Act of 1766, the Townsend Acts of 1767, and then the Tea Act of 1773. The Sugar Act was enacted to curtail illegal sugar and molasses smuggling from the French West Indies to the Northern colonies in America. The colonists had a long history of smuggling sugar, rum and molasses from the French, as well as from other foreign colonies in the West Indies, as a way to increase their own individual prosperity. The colonists were not opposed to alternative business markets that could aid with their financial prosperity, even if such relationships did not benefit the Crown. However, the Crown viewed the colonists as British subjects and further maintained that all benefits of trade, originally, belonged to Great Britain. The Crown aimed to keep the colonists from profiting off of foreign markets, as well as from hurting British trade. Moreover, the Crown also needed to raise money to support its imperial agenda.
During 1764, Great Britain viewed the profits rendered from colonial trade as insignificant and attempted a direct tax, or fee, on the colonists. The Stamp Act of 1765 burdened colonists to pay a direct tax for paper from the Crown, or imprint with a rubber stamp all newspapers, pamphlets, marriage certificates, wills, diplomas and all other paper documents that circulated throughout the colonies. Depending on the type of transaction, a paper transaction could range from half a penny to ten pounds. The Crown demanded payment in hard money, which was scarce, and this further threatened to drain finances. Many colonists felt they had to give their money to Great Britain “as oft and in what quantity they please to demand it.”Although the colonist repealed the Stamp Act in Parliament, shortly after it was enacted, the colonists still felt their prosperity was threatened and they grew resentful and fearful of worse things to come.
Emperor Yongzheng used a once dedicated Ming-loyalist and Chinese citizen, Zeng Jing, as a tool of propaganda to prove the greatness of the new emperor’s rule over China during the years 1728-1735.Emperor Yongzheng became heavily involved with his image as a noble ruler. He invested a lot of time and resources into a single man that he let greatly influence his image as Emperor of China.
The succession of Emperor Yongzheng was the result of a military coup. The previous emperor, Emperor Kangxi, had fifty-six children. Emperor Kangxi did name a successor to the throne; however, he then deemed the original heir apparent brutal, debauched, and unfit to rule. Prior to the death of Kangxi during 1722, several of his sons divided into various factions and conspired against each other for the succession to the throne. The fourth son, who became Emperor Yongzheng, seized the throne in a military coup.There was doubt whether Emperor Yongzheng was the rightful heir to the throne. Once he became emperor, he censored the record of his succession and silenced other writings that he deemed harmful to his regime or to the plight of the Manchus. Emperor Yongzheng made it a part of his mission to squelch negative rumors about his succession, and he continued to look for examples to prove his heavenly mandate to rule.
During October 1728, a Ming loyalist, Zeng Jing, conspired and had a treasonous message delivered to Emperor Yongzheng. The letter detailed the reasons why a barbaric Manchu should not rule over the people of China. Zeng believed Manchus were foreign barbarians and it was scholars, such as himself, “who best know how to be emperor.”
American President, Thomas Jefferson, admired the small farmer’s humble ability to live an independent life toiling on farm land in an effort to produce a simple abundance of crops to support the family. Such a simplistic approach to life led to the noble development of the yeoman’s heroic reputation in America. However, the yeoman farmer was indeed a commercial farmer and not independent of the market, as indicated by theorist that perpetuated the agrarian myth. When the opportunity to sell crops was made available the small farmer did not limit crop production to the needs of the family, as the agrarian myth implies. The virtuous image of the yeoman farmer is more applicable to a type of status designation of a myth-based character than to the reality of life of the 18th century small American farmer.
The word yeoman was not readily used during the 18th century.According to American bibliographer Charles Evans’s work entitled American Bibliography, the word yeoman is not located in the more than thirty thousand literary works published in the United States between the years 1760-1800. Thomas Jefferson’s most infamous work titled The Notes on the State of Virginia does not include the word yeoman, but words such as husbandmen, poor, farmer and laborer are used. The word yeomanry was used, more so, to describe the common or ordinary people of the 18th century. The ordinary farmer lived independently and toiled on farm land in an attempt to produce a decent crop; however, such independence was typically a result from a lack of transportation to sell their goods abroad, from a lack of money to increase their farm production, or from the lack of an accessible market to sell more crops to the public. Once the farmer had such access or ability to sell crops, then an opportunity to make money was not disregarded. Although the small farmer is respected for living off the land, the poor farmer attempted commercialism when opportunity was available in an effort to increase financial profit for the family.
President Ronald Reagan condoned fiscal irresponsibility and political corruption and this allowed a revolving door effect between government and industry. Reagan was surrounded by government employees who dedicated their allegiance to the business industry. Individuals with a genuine dedication to public service were typically excluded from Reagan’s political circle. The Reagan Administration represented a period when the president viewed the government as trite, and those government employees with a penchant for greed and a lack of ethics profited well under this administration. The Wedtech scandal, a scandal that involved military contracts to the armed services of the United States, is an example of the hands-off approach to fiscal responsibility within the White House during the Reagan Administration.
Ronald Reagan was not surrounded by people who held the federal government or public service in high regard. An attitude of contempt towards government and the public sector was a common viewpoint held within the Reagan Administration. Several of Reagan’s top government officials, such as Attorney General Edwin Meese and Reagan’s political director Lyn Nofziger, were engaged in political corruption that included influence peddling, fraud, bribery and conspiracy. Such a violation of ethics by Meese and Nofzinger allowed a once struggling machine shop in Bronx, New York, to receive U.S. Pentagon no-bid contracts that totaled $250 million.
The Wedtech Corporation, formerly known as the Welbilt Electronic Die Corporation, was a struggling minority business during 1981. By the end of 1981, the machine shop accumulated a net loss of $1 million. The business was trying, albeit unsuccessfully, to win a five-year defense contract to produce small gasoline engines for the Army. The machine shop did not win such contract because its bid was deemed too high. The Army wanted to pay $19.5 million for the engines, but the machine shop placed their bid at $39 million.
Young Franklin Delano Roosevelt was politically impartial to helping laborers.Tammany district boss, George Washington Plunkitt, helped change the political perspective of FDR. During the United States Depression, FDR eventually became the voice which brought back the crippled labor workforce, and he helped lay the foundation for collective bargaining for the American worker.
During the coal strike of 1902, FDR criticized his cousin, President Theodore Roosevelt, for getting involved with the strike on behalf of the American workers. As a law student at Harvard University, Franklin Roosevelt was politically conservative but he received beneficial political advice from a Tammany district boss named George Plunkitt. Mr. Plunkitt suggested that a true political education came from listening to the people. Franklin Roosevelt heeded such advice during his political career, and made a point to understand the concerns of the American people.
During 1913, Franklin Roosevelt was the Assistant Secretary of the United State’s Navy under President Woodrow Wilson. During such employment, FDR learned to listen to the worker and to the complaints of organized labor. Franklin had to deal with the organized pressure of the Navy League of the United States, which was mainly comprised of steel and shipping merchants and industry leaders. He once told a group of machinists “I want you all to feel that you can come to me at any time in my office and we can talk matters over.” FDR carried the Navy experience into his position as United States President.