Tuesday, April 6, 2010


The reference to slavery was commonplace for the colonial protests against Britain: back in 1764, in his Rights of the Colonies Examined, Stephen Hopkins had proclaimed that "those who are governed at the will of another, and whose property may be taken from them by taxes...without their own consent...are in the miserable condition of slaves." In the years since, the metaphor had become ubiquitous: the acts of Parliament would end in "perpetual slavery," "unmerited slavery," "vile ignominious slavery." The obvious connection to the actual practice of slavery by those same liberty-loving colonists was rarely mentioned.
Charles Rappleye, Sons of Providence: The Brown Brothers, The Slave Trade, and The American Revolution, (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2006), 143.
For the colonists, the idea of liberty was what they talked about, dreamed about, and eventually fought about. As Patrick Henry would later exclaim, "Give me liberty or give me death!" The ability to live & act according to one's own will is a very precious thing - especially in the design of democracy. No one would deny the truth to the colonist's fight. But it was their oversight that sticks out looking back. The life and lack of liberty for the slave community was seen as a miserable condition. However, to change that was never as important as the personal fight for liberty.

Hypocrisy. Everyone is guilty of hypocrisy. We truly believe in something and yet do not have the guts or intellect to live up to our own high standards & beliefs. At what point does our hypocrisy speak louder than our beliefs? Part of the problem lies in our narrow scope. In aiming to achieve our goals we often focus on our own selfish needs and wants to the detriment of others. That does not mean our goals are wrong...just short-sighted. In attempting to accomplish big things, we must seek the greatest good; not only for ourselves but for the community at large. Liberty is not truly liberty unless all are able to benefit from its blessings.