Monday, October 29, 2007

The Trip - Taxation

A couple different times I forgot to mention something having to do with our country's history. When we were on our tour of Independence Hall in Philadelphia, our Ranger mentioned the issue of taxation without representation. It played an important part in motivating the Colonists to throw off the shakles of British rule.

But when we were in Concord, Massachusetts, the British soldier talked about that very question from the British perspective. At the time of the Revolutionary War, families in England averaged around 4 or 5 children, with 2 or 3 making it to adulthood. But in America, families had 6 to 8 kids, with 5 or 6 making it to adulthood. And the Irish, who were much closer to England than the Americans, had similar birth and survival rates to ours.

Imagine how that made the ruling classes in England feel. If they gave all members of the British Empire equal voting rights, how long would it be before the English were outnumbered and outvoted? They couldn't afford to let the non-English citizens have equal say in what happened in their country.

It makes sense, that kind of attitude on the part of the British. But it also makes sense that Americans would chafe at being short-changed in their representation.

Now, when I hear the phrase, "taxation without representation," I have a different perspective on it.

But we were still right to revolt.

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