THE REVOLUTION MYTH

A Review By
Gary Ray Branscome


    In their book, “The Revolution Myth” Gene Fisher and Glen Chambers explain why, according to facts uncovered by their research, the American War of Independence was not a revolution. The following statement, from the book's preface, tells us why this book is both unique and necessary if we are to understand the history of our country.

 “American Christians have had difficulty understanding why many of our founding fathers, while adhering to biblical principles in their public and private lives, could, at the same time, rebel against constituted government. Historical investigation shows that they did not rebel.”
 

THE AUTHORITY OF GOVERNMENT


    In trying to understand the situation that existed prior to the Declaration of Independence, it would be a mistake to assume that the American colonies were provinces ruled by the king. Instead, each colony had its own government, and that government was the legal authority within its borders. In fact, as each colony was set up its founders were given a charter granting them, “full executive, legislative, and judicial authority. Parliament was not involved and the king had only restraining power. The Rhode Island and Connecticut Charters did not even involve the king. They were contracts between the people and God, establishing independent governments based upon God's Word.”  (Page 2)

    Since George the Third (At the time of his coronation in 1760) felt that his father and grandfather had given over too much power to Parliament, he was determined to regain that power. As a result, his quest for power affected all of his dealings with the colonies, while Americans were outraged by what they viewed as an attempt on the part of the king to ignore the rule of law and usurp control of their affairs.

ENGLISH LAW


    Another key factor in understanding the position of the colonies has to do with the role of the king as established by English law. That role was defined when King James II allied himself with the king of France, and made plans to invade England – in order to assert his power over Parliament and impose the Catholic religion on England. At that time, Parliament held that the king had, by such action, abdicated his role as the protector of the English people. As a result of that decision, on February 13, 1689 – shortly after William and Mary had succeeded James II – Parliament presented a declaration of rights (the English Bill of Rights) which was enacted into law on December 16, 1689. The following statement, taken from that declaration of rights, reflects Parliament's position that the people owe the king their allegiance because he is their protector, and cease to owe him that allegiance if he ceases to be their protector. “Whereas the said late king James the Second having abdicated the government, and the throne being thereby vacant…” (Page 98)

    In regard to that aspect of English law, Boston Judge, Edmund Quincy made the following statement. “I think that the member of the House of Commons, who, in a ludicrous manner, inquired at ‘what time the Americans were emancipated,’ might have saved himself the trouble by looking into Sir William Blackstone's Commentaries [on Magna Carta] Volume 1, page 223, upon the duties of kings; where he would have found it to be a maxim of common law, that when protection ceaseth, allegiance ceaseth to be the duty of the subject.” (From a letter to John Hancock 3/25/1776) (Page 73)

KING GEORGE'S ABDICATION


    During the years prior to the War of Independence, the friction between the king and the American Colonies resulted in some civil disobedience [the “Boston tea party” being the best-known example], however, the Colonial governments did not instigate that disobedience and were not responsible for it. Instead, the Colonial governments were always respectful in dealing with the king, and made several attempts to resolve the differences peaceably – the last such attempt [known as the “Olive Branch Petition”] being sent to the king on July fifth 1775.

    In that petition, the Colonial representatives affirm their allegiance, show no evidence of any desire to rebel, and make every effort to settle the differences peaceably. However, the king reacted to that petition in anger, and called for legislation to bring the American Colonies in line. A draft of the requested legislation (known as the Prohibitory Act) was presented to Parliament on November 20, 1775, adopted before the end of the year, and was to go into effect on January first 1776. That Act contained the following quote. “All ships and vessels of or belonging to the inhabitants of the said colonies, together with their cargoes, apparel, and furniture, which shall be found trading in any port or place of the said colonies, or going to trade, or coming from trading, in any such port or place, shall become forfeited to his Majesty, as if the same were the ships and effects of open enemies, and shall be so adjudged, deemed and taken.” (Page 113)

AMERICA'S REACTION


    While news of the Prohibitory Act did not arrive in America until late in February 1776, colonial leaders immediately realized that, by declaring war on American shipping, the king had abdicated his role as the protector of the American people.

    Therefore, on April 23, 1776, after reviewing the charges against George III, Judge William Henry Drayton, Chief Justice of South Carolina, decided “that the law of the land authorized him to declare, that George the Third, king of Great Britain, had abdicated the government; and that the throne was thereby vacant.” (Pages 69-70)

    The Preamble to the Virginia Constitution [adopted June 29, 1776] begins with the words, “Whereas George the Third” and ends with the statement, “and finally by abandoning the helm of government, and declaring us out of his allegiance and protection. By which several acts of misrule, the government of this country, as formerly exercised under the crown of Great Britain, is totally dissolved.” (Pages 119- 120)

    The Declaration of Independence says of George III, “He has abdicated Government here by declaring us out of his Protection and urging War against us.” (Page 123)

    “The Declaration [of Independence], therefore, in the name of thirteen unanimous states, proclaims that the monarch who had been obeyed, loved, and honored by them had removed himself from office. George had violated the compact between sovereign and subject just as James II had done, an action for which Parliament had dethroned James in 1688.” (Page 59)
 

CONCLUSION


    Once the facts are known it becomes obvious that it was the king, not the Colonial governments, who attempted to overthrow the rule of law.

    A review of, “the Revolution Myth” published 1981, by Bob Jones University Press

[Note: One man who visited my web site felt that I contradicted myself by praising of the Declaration in one place while asserting that revolution was wrong in another. Like those who see contradictions in Scripture, he simply imagined that a contradiction existed because he was ignorant of the facts.]