It was 241 years ago today that King George III and the English parliament enacted the Stamp Act on the American colonies, further setting the stage for our eventual Revolution and Independence.

For those who don’t remember high school history (or were never taught it in the first place) the Stamp Act was enacted by the English in 1765 on the American colonists as a way to defray the costs of protecting the colonies and fighting the French in the French & Indian War. While not the first duty or tax levied in the colonies, the Stamp Act marked the first tax levied on goods that originated, and for the most part stayed in the colonies. It would require all paper (or similar) items that contained printed material to be embossed with an official stamp, or mark, at the cost of three pence per stamp. To the British rulers, this seemed like a reasonable cost to pass along to the colonists. The colonists, our forefathers, felt differently.

The big problem stemmed less from the tax itself than in the manner in which it was conceived and implemented. Remember the phrase “taxation without representation?” This is where it originated. The colonists were so incensed by the Act due to the fact that they had no input whatsoever on the why, how, and what of this new tax, and the fact that all the revenue raised would leave the colonies and head back to the English crown, despite the fact that the English were already working to strip the colonies of their resources, maintained martial law and the unwanted billeting of soldiers in citizens homes, and all around dismissed the colonists efforts at self rule and independence from a monarchy thousands of miles away.

The colonists revolted by not only by refusing to pay the tax proscribed by the act, but also by boycotting as many British goods as they could, which in turn created turmoil in England’s economy as well as it’s monarchs ability to maintain control over his territories.

In essence, the Stamp Act was one of the final straws heaped on the backs of colonists by what they saw as a despotic ruler who had no real right to rule in the Americas. We know less than 10 years later, the American colonies turned their revolt into revolution and began a war against the English for independence, a war that we won, solidifying our most basic beliefs into a country ruled by law, elective representation, and individual freedom.

Okay- the correlation for today? Where they fought against taxation without representation, today we must toil against representation without representation. Yes, you read that right. Our government today operates in a fashion not so unlike that of George the Third so many years ago. (It is ironic perhaps that this time, the despotism is being led by George II.) Our elected leadership no longer represents the interests of ordinary, average American citizens. They work for the corporations and special interest groups that yell the loudest. Politicians on both sides of the aisle don’t make efforts to represent the mainstream of Americans, who are not so ideologically divided as we are made out to be. Sure, we have different ways to reach our goals, but those goals are pretty much the same- Liberty, Security, and Prosperity.

As the current administration, their rubber-stamping colleagues in Congress, and the ineffective and unwilling minority party continue to chip away at civil liberties and funnel tax dollars towards corporate benefactors, Anericans need to ask themselves if this is the country that many hundreds of thousands have fought for and died for since the late 1700’s. Americans need to decide whether the excesses and abuses of King George III are being mirrored by Boy George II. If they are, as I and many others suspect they are, it’s time for another revolt in the streets of America. No need this time to take up arms though, we have a perfectly peaceful opportunity to turn the tide around.

This November, when it comes time to elect your new federal officials, don’t put your trust in politicians who don’t really represent you. Do what the colonists did, and did so effectively. Boycott the major political parties, elect independent or third party candidates, or at the very least, elect any non-incumbent you can.

The Stamp Act represented abuses against our forefathers by a distant, tenuous ruler. They had the courage and tenacity to stand up for freedom. So that their sacrifice, and the sacrifice of all who came and fought after them will not be tossed into the ash pile of history after a mere 241 years, won’t you rise up now and show the same courage?

(cross posted at Bring It On!)