WE HAVE A QUEEN?
[Updated 10 April 2009, filling-out list of Rebel allies, adding Categories, Tags, and Summary.]
Some American monarchists, I hear, question the legality of the American Revolution. Other American monarchists, I hear, reply that U.S. independence (including the abolition of monarchy) became legal when the lawful Sovereign, King George III (or his representative on His Majesty’s behalf) signed the Treaty of Paris of 1783. [To this day Brits usually date American independence from that year, not 1776, the year it was jointly “declared” by 13 of the colonies.]
Let’s try a thought experiment.
Can the Monarchy be abolished? It’s a principle of Western moral and legal philosophy that “an unjust law is no law at all.” This is so old it’s attributed to Bishop Augustine of Hippo, Roman North Africa, 5th century A.D., considered a saint by the Western Church as well as some Orthodox. Theologian Thomas Aquinas, also a Western saint, fleshed it out. Now, republics throughout history are almost always, at best, oligarchic (in a bad way), and frequently, dictatorial…protestations of “democracy” notwithstanding. From ancient Athens to America to the USSR to Idi Amin’s Uganda, “republics” are usually lorded over by one or a few, who simply lack the noble or royal titles of monarchies – and their (more usual than not) respect for law, tradition, and ethics. Therefore, any law creating a republic is arguably unjust, and in the Western legal tradition, “no law at all.” Keep in mind that an important job of the British Monarch was to protect the people – his subjects – from the Barons’ – their local lords’, including landlords’ – exploitation. Yes, creating our oligarchic republic was a step backwards in terms of political development! Remember how much the “Founding Fathers” harked back to republican Athens and Rome – with good reason it turns out! Those of us outside the American oligarchy have been living with the results ever since. In fact, since 1980, they’ve been turning this country – and the whole planet – into even more of a plantation than ever before – remember most of the colonies were founded as plantations. But they forgot one thing: English (and Welsh and Irish) people take the Common Law anywhere they colonize. Now granted, there were a few problems with Britain’s colonial policies, and certain inconsistencies. What probably should’ve happened was the formation of the colonies, with their cooperation (as opposed to the imposed 1686-89 “Dominion of New England”), into an autonomous Dominion as would happen with Canada less than a century later (1867). Canada started negotiating on trade with the United States almost from Day One, was a distinct signatory of the Treaty of Versailles ending World War One, and became completely free of British government advice in the 1920s and ’30s; in 1982 Canada’s right to amend its own constitution without even the pro forma approval of the Parliament of Westminster was recognized; and Canada retains Her Majesty as Queen of Canada voluntarily, separate and distinct from her roles as Queen of the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, and eleven other independent countries.
Of course, The Crown assented to the American independence and republic under the duress of eight years of armed rebellion (even of a tiny minority of colonists), aided by French, Spanish, some Native American, some German, and Polish forces. Another Western legal principle is that consent given under duress is not binding either. But both The Crown and most Americans, being loyal to it, nevertheless acquiesced to the de facto conquest of this country by its wealthiest landowners and their supporters, who had previously overthrown their provincial governments, harassed or killed or exiled their political opposition, conspired under the color of a joint “government,” and made war on their lawful Sovereign. And make no mistake, the Revolution was not launched with the consent of the American people – this was conquest! My research leads me to conclude that when John Adams said a third of Americans supported the Revolution, a third were Loyalists, and a third were “neutral,” he was being generous to his own side; more like twenty percent supported the Revolution, and the rest by any definition would be considered Loyalists, active or passive.
If the Revolutionaries were going to set up their own monarchy – and some briefly considered it – the King’s assent might have been warranted, provided his subjects’ wellbeing was to be taken care of at least as well as under his rule, if not better. But despite what you here from (small-R) republicans about flirtations with Continental princes or George Washington (formerly de Washington), it was never very serious. Having freed themselves from one Monarch, these oligarchs weren’t about to subject themselves to another!
I won’t begrudge certain African and Asian countries essentially conquered by Britain – or the Irish Republic for that matter – their abolitions of the Monarchy. It might not have been a good idea for them, either, to become republics, but generally they were more dominated than colonized by Britain. But the 13 American colonies (plus Vermont) were essentially new England (sic), English and Irish and Scottish subjects of His Majesty transplanted here, or others who willingly moved into His Majesty’s Realms (or African slaves who, at that point in British legal and social development, had no choice). Even the Indians were mostly pushed out and/or killed.
The fact that both The Crown and American republican propaganda have ignored the above facts for 223 years doesn’t make them go away. Any freedom and rights you have weren’t given to you by the “Founding Fathers,” but are recognized at all by dint of the English legal tradition, whose fount is The Crown. “If you heart your freedom, thank The Queen!”
If you want it back (nonviolently)….
(Quite a thought experiment, eh?)