Why should a king be able to tell his subjects what to do, or a parliament, or a president for that matter? “No taxation without representation,” was not a battle cry for independence, but a cry for a voice. Unfortunately, a crazy king sort of thought, “I am king, my voice is all that matters.” Rational voices advising the king were ignored. Hot heads in the colony ignored their moderate comrades, took advantage of the king’s attitude, promoted independence, war broke out and the rest is all history.
Well, except for the fact that nobody knew how they were going to fund the new nation. That issue took a few more years for the wrinkles to be worked out. Luckily there was plenty of land wealth just to the west; land filled with untapped natural resources and rich farmland.
That great expanse of land to the west served a couple purposes for the new nation. The first was it acted as a great national income booster; land speculation and sales have always been good money makers. Secondly, it afforded people a place to migrate when they began to feel penned in by civilization and all the terrible ills of government. History tells of land rushes and land deals, of frontiersmen and pioneers, all taking advantage of the great western territory, ripe for the taking and cheap. True there was hardship and uncertainty, and one can’t forget the peoples that would have to be removed, displaced or killed, but what is a little hardship and genocide if it keeps your citizens happy and your national coffers from running dry? As long as the land didn’t run out, everything would be fine.
Yes, I am being a bit flippant with the issue, but barring a full history lesson which would probably bore you, this quick synopsis does the trick of setting up my point. You see as long as there was open land to the west, unhappy citizens could pack up their gear and move when they decided the government was interfering too much in their private lives. It is what our ancestors have been doing ever since the first European feet were planted on North American soil. True the rebels of the American Revolution told the king to take a hike, but then they turned around and created a government based on the constitutions of British colonies (i.e. Massachusetts and Virginia). Yes, yes, and yes, I hear your arguments streaming in, they did reform, reorganize and design a constitution of the people which could continually evolve as the nation grew. They did an excellent job, but citizens still got miffed and moved west from time to time. “Don’t tell me what to do – you’re not the boss of me,” was an attitude that settled the west. Just look at Texas, Oregon and Utah.
In the end, the government remained the boss. Contrary to what some might want you to believe, our current president is not a Crazy King George and still listens to the people. The same holds true for the majority of our elected officials and for the political candidates seeking office. However, with all the shouting, distrust and propaganda coming from all sides of the political world, it might be hard for any of them to actually hear what the citizens are saying. Too much noise and sensory overload can seriously get in the way. So if you really have something to say then research your point well, write a polite letter, and remember to sign your name. That is what rational, mature citizens do.
Oh, and if you want to know why the US government can tell you what to do, it is the price of citizenship. Don’t believe me, just check out the oath all new citizens take. “…I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America…”