Does Political Dissent Threaten Peace?
A period of awareness, inspiring to some, condemned by others, came to be in our nation.
An extended period of continued growth led to an almost manic support of the status quo. “Through all that growth, the upper class was getting most of the benefits and monopolized political power.”1 The leader selections which “while ostensibly democratic, were in reality controlled year after year by the same group of …aristocrats….”2
“The leaders…were gentlemen of considerable wealth who…eagerly sought to preserve in America the social arrangements… By means of their control of trade and commerce, by their political domination of the inhabitants…, members of this little oligarchy laid the foundations for an aristocratic class…”3
Furthermore, knowing that “a combination of wealth and political power rule”* and to limit the possibility of change, “a few persons in power” were promoting political projects “for keeping the people poor in order to make them humble”4 combined with “a history of repeated injuries… all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.”*
Due to the severe imbalance of wealth and ownership, this Elite class “frequently owe their Wealth to the impoverishment of their Neighbors”.5
Of course, “an enormous proportion of property vested in a few individuals is dangerous to the rights, and destructive of the common happiness, of mankind;”6 and “[t]hus were the people…robbed and plundered . . . neglected and condemned by the Representatives…and from all these Evils they saw no way to escape; for the Men in Power, and Legislation, were the Men whose interest it was to oppress…”*
For years this form on oppressive control continued until finally, “the economic grievances of the lowest classes mingled with”* social movements seeking “more equitable taxes, price controls, and the election [of] ordinary people to government posts.”*
Unfortunately, this combination of passionate advocates occasionally “exploded in mob violence”*.
Many readers may assume that the above is a description of current affairs and recent protests, however, this is the landscape of 1770’s America, prior to American Independence.
With the growing unease in our nation and the growing ideological divide widening ever minute, many writers and pundits have speculated upon the possibility of a modern Civil War. Undoubtedly, this gargantuan wave of political awareness and advocacy, countered by alarming police tactics, suggests that serious changes are needed for our democratic republic.
That need for authentic representation, the drive for a more equal distribution of wealth, and the moral imperative of human rights protections indicate a drastic rejection of the flawed status quo.
“Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government….”7
The growing clamor of individual voices combine together in a thunderous roar, creating a deafening exclamation for political revolution.
1* A People’s History of the United States, Howard Zinn
2&3 Cities in the Wilderness, Carl Bridenbaugh
4 Boston Gazette, 1763
5 New York Gazette 1765
6 Pennsylvania Privates Committee Bill, 1776
7 Declaration of Independence