Exactly 240 years ago, the British colonies of America declared independence from London and the establishment of the United States. The events of those days formed the basis of American national pride, which is now more than once said in Washington. But at the same time keep silent about how many similarities in the story of the war in the Donbass, Breksitom and other contemporary issues, it is extremely irritating to the United States.
4 July 1776 II II Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, which finally "broke the political bonds" linking America with Britain. Americans will celebrate the anniversary with traditional fireworks and barbecues, and outgoing President Barack Obama will deliver a touching speech in which he will tell about the boundless loyalty of the American people to the ideals of freedom and the struggle against tyranny. At the same time, if you look at the events of the eighteenth century through the prism of modernity, you can see many such parallels that are unlikely to please both the Washington and the European establishment.
The conflict between the colonies and the mother country evolved over 10 years. Fathers - founders of the United States were not convinced revolutionaries or separatists and the last hope for reconciliation with the Crown. Suffice it to say that at the time of the publication of the Declaration of the War of Independence was more than a year, and has taken over the functions of government Continental Congress still could not decide to secede, and until the last moment did not express claims against King George, taking a position, "the king - good boyars - bad. "
Thirteen colonies differed in size, the device (private, corporate, royal) and way of life. Somewhere in full swing busy political life and a sharp factional struggle, somewhere was quiet. Combine them and create a "cordial union of the colonies," it was extremely difficult task that politically, that administratively. And if the Crown proved a bit more tact and understanding of colonial affairs, the state called the United States would hardly have arisen at all.
Xenophobia and euroscepticism
In 1763, the Seven Years War ended, which Britain won by a miracle and "Russian inconstancy" - Peter III, who came to power in Russia, moved from the winning side (France, Austria, Spain) to the losing one (England, Prussia). Although the British managed to throw France out of Canada and India, the financing of Frederick the Great, heroically fighting off the three strongest continental powers at once, cost a fortune. Money in the British treasury was not from the word "absolutely". And when a decent king does not have enough money for his toys, he begins to look carefully, if there is anything superfluous in the filed. Colonies in America at that time were not subject to any "external" taxes, with the exception of a certain number of trade duties, which were more of an adjustment function (access to American resources alone and a guaranteed market for their goods meant much more to London). Given the fact that it was precisely because of the colonies that this war began, it seemed logical to look for surpluses from the Americans. In addition, Britain was extremely reluctant to dissolve the regiments recruited during the war, so it was decided to throw them in the colony, placing their content on the local.
Initially, the introduction of new duties in the colonies was accepted without pleasure, but without open resistance. Another thing is the presence of the royal troops. There were no more dangers from the French in Canada, but no matter where the troops appeared, the soldiers willingly took up any small work at dumping rates, and the local "working class" constantly organized small skirmishes with "red uniforms." In addition, in those settlements where His Majesty's troops stood, the number of house thefts, robberies and rapes increased dramatically. In general, in the perception of the local population, the British troops occupied roughly the same place now occupied by "Middle Eastern migrants". And then after the soldiers on the continent landed an army of royal auditors, tax officers and customs commissioners. To contain a horde of "these parasites" the colonists did not want at all.
Meanwhile, the first public clash between the colonies and London occurred only after the adoption in 1765 of the "Act on Stamp Collections", according to which the registration of any civil documents (trade transactions, receipts, diplomas, lawsuits, and newspapers) was levied in favor of the Metropolis . And the point here was not even in the magnitude of the collection - the Parliament and the Government of Britain demonstrated a complete lack of understanding of how the colony economy functions. Merchants drove the colonial goods to London (or smuggled into Holland), bought there all the necessary things and returned back. Only they alone saw live pound. In Virginia, for example, receipts for the harvest of tobacco were the official means of payment. Even government officials, priests, and military officers, who are kept at the colony, received their receipts. And the collection of Crown offered to pay in pounds and in nothing else.
It raised a wave of protests, then - riots and other "folk lustration" against the tax authorities. They are, for example, dump it in tar and forced to publicly renounce their positions under threat of physical violence. In New Providans collector from dismissal he refused, and the crowd put him alive in a coffin, pounded the lid lowered into the grave. On a "voluntary" termination brave tax collector he agreed only after began to dig the grave.
But the most dramatic events unfolded in Boston, where the crowd for a night of bricks smashed the homes of several royal officials, as well as the mansion of local politician Thomas Hutchinson - the future last governor of the colony of Massachusetts. In the city, by that time, a group had already openly acted, which later would be called the "sons of freedom". The organization was financed by one of the richest local merchants John Hancock, and local politician Sam Adams was engaged in operational management. It was the "sons" who drove the crowd, consisting of petty criminals and laborers, to organize riots. Subsequently, Adams dragged through the local parliament an amnesty for their participants.
At the same time, several clever and well-read heads recalled the outcome of the Glorious Revolution of 1688. The British Crown never enjoyed the same freedoms as the French or Russian, and after the 1688, the king could not take a step without the permission of the parliament. Any tax is a voluntary gift to His Majesty, and no one has the right to encroach on the British with extortion without the consent of the people's representation. However, the colonies were not represented in the parliament, therefore, the parliament had no right to levy taxes in the colonies. The first thought was formulated by the Boston politician James Otis: "Taxes without representation are tyranny." Parallel to this, the virgin lawyer Patrick Henry (future first governor of Virginia and the founder of the glorious southern tradition - "in any conflict with the federal center should be threatened with secession) came up with a classic rhymed slogan: No taxation without representation." No taxes without representation. " Interestingly, the same thought was expressed by Brexit supporters: England deducts billions of pounds to Brussels, while the European bureaucrats who dispose of this money, no one chose to violate the Bill of Rights of 1689, which nobody canceled. This became almost the main argument in the matter of agitation for the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU.
In parallel, Hancock and other colonial merchants were able to convey the essence of their problems to the partners of the metropolis. In London merchants with everything turned out good representation, and they pressured the government. The act was repealed, but the idea that the Parliament is not omnipotent in the colonies, the British did not like. It was adopted by the "Act on the rule", which boiled down to the fact that the metropolis can do anything, and colonies are obliged to obey.
Import substitution and patriotism
Meanwhile, the UK is still in desperate need of money, in London for the fourth time the government changed, and the new cabinet once again looked into colonies with the mercantile interests in five years. Moreover, the position of reclaimed and Charles Townshend, who was still in development, "the Stamp Act." The logic of his action was simple: if the colony against direct charges, let's introduce many new duties.
At the same time, conspiracy theories began to flourish among the colonists, as well as among modern Eurosceptics: "evil boyars" from the parliament want to destroy the freedom for which British filed for so long. There was also a religious motive: most of the colonists belonged to small Protestant congregations, which arose both in England itself and in the colonies (the old-timers and novosvetniki). The troops and officials who came to the continent professed Anglicanism and, to a lesser extent, Catholicism. The Anglican church entered the struggle for the flock, and representatives of the "traditional" denominations began to say that morally corrupted, sinful in sin, London wants to forcefully turn the colonists, and if not, populate the continent with Anglicans and "papists." "The rule of law" and the new 1767-X, to collect which came the next horde of bureaucrats, strengthened the colonists in this thought.
With the new directives of London, the Americans decided to fight with the help of traditional Protestant values - humility and moderation. In practice, this meant a "civil" embargo on goods from the metropolis and active import substitution. London, where its own political crisis was in full swing, waved at the colonists with a hand, deciding that they would "overdo it" - and thereby made a mistake. Production in the colonies grew in leaps and bounds, which created an economic base for future independence. According to historians, it was 1767-th was a turning point, after which the separation of colonies was only a matter of time. Even though many traders, signing an embargo agreement, quietly violated it, including the main author of this plan - the above-mentioned merchant Hancock, who earned well, importing smuggled goods from Holland.
To merchants who did not want to join the ban on imports from Britain, the guys from the "sons of freedom" could come and conduct a conversation about patriotism. One of Boston's shops, whose owner clearly did not observe the embargo, gathered a crowd, intending to smash the store. The owner barricaded himself inside and opened fire on people, killed 11-year-old boy. So the city finally turned into a powder keg. A week later, an English soldier who was looking for work-in-training, got in touch with the local soldiers. An army squad rushed to the rescue to the colleague, but also to the other side of the conflict came a help, armed with stones and sticks. In the street there was winter, one of the soldiers slipped, the gun shot. Upon hearing the shot, the fire was opened by the rest of the soldiers. Five people were killed and nine others were injured. A young but well-known lawyer, John Adams, volunteered to defend the soldiers in court, who at that time still did not share the revolutionary aspirations of his cousin Sam, leader of the "sons of freedom." The future US president managed to pull the military out of the loop, two were sentenced for unintentional murder, the rest of the jury acquitted.
Sanctions and antisanktsii
It can not be said that the metropolis did not try to resolve the crisis in the colonies and (especially) in the "rebellious" Boston. But the distances were great, British officials - too lazy, and the Empire - too clumsy, and in the end all reasonable actions of the British were late for at least six months. The cancellation of the Townshend duties in 1870 made it possible to achieve a fragile truce (the duties were left only for the tea that Hancock and other merchants were carrying smuggling from Holland), but by that time two political centers had already formed in the colonies: Bostonians preferred direct action, They wrote tons of paper, creating an ideological base for the American revolution. At the same time, all the colonies learned to interact with each other and create separate authorities from the British in those provinces where the governors dispersed the local parliaments, for fear of unrest.
To correct the affairs of the East India Company, London made it a monopolist in the tea market. This somewhat undermined the position of the colonial traders previously purchased in London, but in general, due to the destruction of a long chain of middlemen, tea prices had to fall by a third. And although the East India Company was the surest friend of the colonies and even lobbied for the cancellation of the Townshend duties, the colonies took this decree, which five years ago would not have provoked any protest like another attempt on their freedoms (now the parliament decides for us, who has tea for us buy) and again imposed an embargo on supplies. His role in this was played by the same Hancock and other smugglers, whom the East India Company would inevitably squeeze out of the market. Meanwhile, the ship "Dartmouth" loaded with tea arrived at the port. The consignee was the sons of Governor Hutchinson, and they did not want to part with their order. So in the governor's head, a cunning plan has matured. The local parliament, controlled by Sam Adams, does not allow to unload the ship - well. But the cargo must pass customs within 20 days from the date of arrival, and if this does not happen, it is considered a contraband, should be confiscated and thus still fall into the hands of customers. The problem was that the "sons of freedom" also understood this: on the 20 day, about a hundred people dressed in Indian costumes and captured "Dartmouth", as well as two other ships with the same cargo that arrived a few days later. For three hours, the "Indians" threw all the tea into the sea, and all further events by the standards of the leisurely 18-th century developed swiftly.
Having learned about the "Boston Tea Party", the metropolis adopted five "unbearable laws". The port of Boston was declared closed to all merchant ships before payment of compensation for the spoiled cargo (exception - ships with food, arrived by order of the army or the governor). The power of local parliaments in the colony of Massachusetts was limited to a purely symbolic one, only the governor or the king himself could appoint to all judicial and administrative positions of bureaucrats. The military contingent was reinforced, the soldiers could borrow for the rest any houses that the commanders deem appropriate for this. Only the fifth law did not directly deal with Massachusetts. It was the "Quebec Act", which expanded the rights of Catholics in Canada. But the colonists reasonably believed that England was going to use francophones to suppress disturbances. Conspiracy theories that London wants to colonize the 13 colonies "papists", received another confirmation.
Then delegates 13 colonies gathered at the I Continental Congress, sent the completely peaceful petition addressed to the king. Claims for compensation are recognized valid, but only after the abolition of "Intolerable Acts." At the same time, Congress has imposed a total embargo on trade with the mother until the resolution of the crisis, and the colony began to prepare for war - smugglers bought weapons in Europe and transported him to Massachusetts. There also pulled together volunteers from all over America.
In London they saw these preparations for a full-fledged insurgency and demanded from the generals of action. On the night of 19 April 1775, British troops advanced to the town of Concord, intending to seize the arsenal of the militia. The British easily dared the first screen in the city of Lexington - the "red uniforms" were the first to open fire, and the untrained militia fled. The troops entered Concord, began to search the city in search of weapons, several fires broke out. All this has led the colonists out of themselves: before their main forces feared to engage in battle, but now the rebels decided that the "redcoats" plan to burn the settlement. The Americans attacked and, thanks to a better position, defeated the British. The war for independence began, and in the "city of brotherly love" of Philadelphia II Continental Congress was going to.
Separatism and Amex
We can not say that all the other colonies were satisfied with "those buyanyaschimi Bostonians." However, the news of the Battle of Lexington and Concord made the most of the "moderates," including Ben Franklin, to the side of the "radicals". However, fearing that independent colonies become easy prey to France and Spain, the colonists made one of the last attempts to come to terms with the mother country, sending King George "a petition olive branch." They still believed that the tsar - good and boyars - bad.
Meanwhile, George Washington went to Massachusetts (almost the only person with military experience that was at the disposal of Congress), in order to create a continental army from scratch and lead the siege of Boston, where the royal troops were locked. Delegates de facto assumed the functions of an interim government. Such a "transition period" is typical for conflicts of this kind, it is enough to look at least at the Donbass in 2014 year. There is a Continental Congress, which is absolutely illegal from the point of view of the metropolis, but has the audacity to lead. There are local assemblies that are legitimate (if they did not have time to disperse them) and also manage something, but rather react to the orders of Congress, and not at all the royal governors who are present and even in some cases manage something. Such a state of things prevented both the effective conduct of hostilities and the administration of the country during difficult wartime.
In the spring of 1776, Congress adopted a resolution on the establishment of an interim government, the preamble to which John Adams wrote: "As a result of giving any oaths of loyalty and demonstrating loyalty to any state institution under the auspices of the British crown ... contradicting common sense and own conscience ... it is necessary to terminate the activities of all authorities of the aforementioned crown. " It was Adams' preamble that became the document that governed local parliaments, creating entirely independent from Britain authorities. Collapse from this road was no longer possible. In the German lands, Georg recruiters actively recruited mercenaries who had to deal with the rebels. Assistance to the militia could be rendered by France and Spain in the hope of regaining the lands lost in the Seven Years War, but in order to request assistance from foreign powers, it was necessary to declare sovereignty.
The declaration of independence was written by the virgin Thomas Jefferson, edited the text by John Adams and Ben Franklin. Initially, the document they wrote was much more emotional, but in the course of the debate, Congress "dried" the language and cleaned out all attacks on slavery. In fact, the final text is an enumeration of the numerous offenses that the Crown inflicted on the colonies. A sort of plaintive book addressed to foreign powers that have been following the events in America for a year already. The delegates did not finally accept the declaration, although they had already announced their own personal independence by the time many large cities and even one colony as a whole (the first independent state was a tiny Rhode Island and today the smallest of the US states). Most of the separatists, of course, had, but they believed that such a decision should be taken unanimously.
II Continental Congress declared the independence of the United States only in July 4 1776 years, tired of waiting forever oscillating New York. 9 days later, his document was signed by New Yorkers and, as dispatches were flying in different region. Way back it was not a war for independence soon became a war of European powers. It was the French and the Spaniards will win the war for the Americans, but Paris is to play a bad joke: many veterans imbued with republican ideas that will encourage the French Revolution.
Any revolution - Russian, French or American - looks like something inevitable after a few years, but for a contemporary the revolution is always sudden. It is unlikely that after the 1767 and the Townshend customs crisis, the Crown could have prevented the secession of the colonies, but there were still years before the war began, and the founding fathers of the United States clearly did not know what fate had in store for them. The delegates of the Second Congress, on their way to Pennsylvania, sincerely hoped that in a few weeks they would make several petitions and adopt a couple of resolutions, and eventually they would be able to reconcile with London, as was the case before. Then France and Spain scared the Americans more than the "familiar evil" in the form of British parliamentarians.
If you look at this story from today, a lot of parallels and coincidences come into view. The Americans became the first Eurosceptics and the first anti-globalists at the time when the British Empire made a powerful bid for world domination. Like the modern British, Americans opposed taxes without representation. They looked at the royal soldiers, as modern nationalists look at migrants. They fought for their interests by means of trade embargoes and destroyed tea, as Russian authorities destroy Polish apples. Just like today's conservatives, they were extremely afraid of spreading the "foreign" religions in America - Catholicism and Anglicanism. Among them, the "conspiracy theories" of "London conspiracy" were extremely popular. The French, however, actively helped the colonies "volunteers" - another parallel with today's day.
But it is unlikely Obama says about this in his speech today.