Debate Info

not to achieve less government was to achieve less government
Debate Score:36
Total Votes:41
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Argument Ratio

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 not to achieve less government (12)
 was to achieve less government (7)

Debate Creator

jafl(80) pic

The American Revolution

The purpose of the American Revolution

not to achieve less government

Side Score: 24

was to achieve less government

Side Score: 12
4 points

Contrary to libertarian dogma the American Revolution was not a rebellion against taxes, was not a rebellion against a strong central government and was not a rebellion against government in general, but rather a rebellion against foreign government. With very rare exception 18th century Americans were not opposed to the concept of strong government or even a strong national/centralized government; they did not rebel against law and order and they claimed no rights after the Revolution that they did not expect to have under British law and custom before the Revolution.

John Adams made it a point to provide legal counsel to the British soldiers that were charged in the Boston Massacre. Adams wanted to show the world that America was not a lawless frontier on the outskirts of civilization. Adams wanted everyone to know that law and order was still in place in America. Adams wanted the world to know that Americans were not opposed to legitimate government.

Furthermore, Americans with money and social prestige behind them were appalled by the destruction of private property that resulted from the Boston Tea Party, when the redistribution of property is usually the goal of revolutions (French, Russian, Cuban, Mexican).

And then the Constitution gave the federal government pretty much the same powers that the British government in London had exercised over and which Americans were supposedly rebelling against- if you believe the libertarians’ spin on history.

Contrary to what libertarians would have us believe, the American Revolution was not about getting less government.

Side: not to achieve less government
2 points

The American Revolution evolved into a coup by a cash-strapped slaveowning elite in alliance with a group of smugglers and land speculators against legitimate authority.

Even after the Townsend Acts, Colonists were very lightly taxed compared to Britons elsewhere, especially in Britain itself. Incomes were also substantially higher in the colonies for free men than in the Home Country. Much of the agitation against taxation was whipped up by corrupt local legislators and tax officials who were levying local (Non-British) taxes on the population and often diverting it into their own pockets.

Leading "Revolutionaries" were land speculators who objected to British laws to protect the theft of Indian land, smugglers and pirates who objected to the undercutting of their business by legally imported commodities, (the Boston Tea Party was in protest against a REDUCTION in the tax on and the price of tea and John Hancock was the leading smuggler of sugar), religious fanatics who objected to The Quebec Act that gave rights to Catholics and monetary swindlers who wished to continue issuing 'colonial script', a worthless, unbacked paper currency (Oh, how history has repeated itself) that was worthless outside of its issuing colony.

The Southern Plantation owners were in deep economic crisis. Rapid expansion and heavy purchases of slaves and the pursuit of "English Aristocrat" lifestyles had put them in deep irredeemable debt to London bankers- neither were the 'middling sort' of yeoman northern farmer immune. A post seven years war boom fuelled a credit binge and when foreclosures were made, legal action was in the name of the King so Britain was blamed by the agitators for local problems.

Only some 30% of people in the 13 colonies supported the revolution directly. Canada, Florida, Newfoundland, Bermuda and the West Indian colonies did not find it neccesary to rebel at all.

Why and how the rebels won is not the point here, but when they did they produced an unelected President, unelected Senators and commenced stealing the land and possessions first of Loyalists, then Indians. "No Taxation without Representation" was forgotten as Women, Indians, Negroes and propertyless White Males were denied the vote, yet taxed more than under the Crown. The elites, however, created plutocracies that endured for another eighty years.

As the man in the movie said, the Revolution is exchanging the tyranny of one man 3000 miles away for the tyranny of 3000 men one mile away.

Side: not to achieve less government

I believe the American Revolution was fought to finally break away entirely from British governance of any kind. It gave powers to the individual states, the thirteen colonies, which then became the United States of America. So it wasn't fought in order to have less or more government, it was fought so that America could begin it's own government and break away from British rule. The war lasted for seven years and ended, for all intents and purposes, in 1781. In 1783 with the Treaty of Paris, the United States won full liberty and leaving the British with no further claims on the United States.

Side: not to achieve less government
2 points

Well, the Bill of Rights and most of the Constitution was laws that the GOVERNMENT had to obey. They wanted a much less powerful government. The whole point was out of rebellion of Government Authoritarianism.

And the Bill of Rights are rights bestowed unto the people that the government CAN NOT infringe on. It's to ensure that the government can not become powerful.

Side: was to achieve less government
jafl(80) Disputed
3 points

Great Britain has a bill of rights that predate the U.S. version by more than a century.

The British King cannot establish law courts without Parliament’s consent, nor can he act as a judge in any court proceedings. The same is true for the U.S. President.

Only Parliament can levy taxes, as is the case with the Congress under the U.S. Constitution.

British subjects have a right to petition the crown for redress of grievances- comparable to the 1st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The British government cannot have standing armies during peacetime; under the U.S. Constitution Congress can establish and maintain an army providing that money for the purpose cannot be appropriated more than 2 years in advance. The British Army cannot be deployed against British subjects without Parliament’s permission except during wartime. As commander-in-chief the President of the U.S. can call on the national guard to enforce federal law as per federal law even in peacetime. In this regard the President has more power than the king.

Protestants could bear arms in their own self-defense. The right to bear arms in self-defense was inherent in American society long before the 2nd Amendment was ratified.

British subjects have freedom of speech comparable to the U.S. 1st Amendment.

Members of Parliament have freedom of speech while in Parliament. Members of the U.S. Congress cannot be sued for anything they say during the proceedings of the Congress.

The British government cannot impose cruel or unusual punishment or impose excessive bail; comparable to the 8th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

No British subject can be punished for a crime without a trial and Congress cannot pass any bill of attainder.

Furthermore, English subjects had enjoyed a right to trial by jury, due process of law and a speedy trial for over 500 years as per the Magna Charta.

Side: not to achieve less government
1 point

Supporting jafl80. Britain still has no written constitution--because a written constitution can be twisted anyway one likes.

Side: not to achieve less government
DEL681651(70) Disputed
1 point

"More" or "less" government is irrelevant. What is relevant is not the size of a government, but how democratic it is. Democratic governments are generally good, nondemocratic ones are generally not, regardless of size. The United States has historically, and still does, fail miserably at being truly democratic.

Side: not to achieve less government
jafl(80) Disputed
1 point

If the American Revolution was meant to achieve a democratic government, explain how and why the Constitution as it was written in 1787 left it up to the states to decide who could vote (meaning that women, blacks, Indians and the poor could be kept out of the voting booth) and then U.S. representatives were the only offices in the federal government that these voters could choose. The state legislatures essentially choose the president and vice-president and the U.S. Senate and the president and Senate choose federal judges. Anything the People wanted, i.e., legislation passed by the House of Representatives, could be vetoed by the Senate or the President or be overturned by the Courts.

The United States is a republic, not a democracy and this is how the Founding Fathers wanted it to be since they feared democracy as nothing more than mob rule.

Side: was to achieve less government
ThePyg(6737) Disputed
1 point

True Democracy has been considered a failure since the Greek times. Democracy killed Socrates and banished Plato.

Side: was to achieve less government
1 point

A better and lesser government with an emphasis on WE THE PEOPLE! (((((=

jafl(80) Disputed
2 points

Your proof for any of this is what? Why did the likes of Patrick “liberty or death” Henry not play an active role in leading the Revolution the way a John Adams or an Alexander Hamilton did? Henry could be considered an 18th century libertarian, but he was not in the forefront of the independence movement and he refused Virginia’s request that he serve as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention- likely because he knew the country was in no mood for his brand of liberty. The American Revolution was essentially conservatives trying to maintain the status quo.

Side: not to achieve less government
frenchieak(1131) Disputed
3 points

First of all, it's funny to me how you ask him for proof as you list off statements with no sources, not only in this argument, but in a huge chunk of text to the left over there <--.

For a bunch of conservatives just trying to maintain the status quo, there really were some radical changes in government. Without a doubt, the type of government that was set up by the founding fathers of the United States was not only very different from that of Britain at the time, but it is also much more flexible and much weaker with respect to the figurehead. Sure, the President is a powerful person, but nowhere near as powerful as a King.

Side: was to achieve less government
JakeJ(3255) Disputed
1 point

"Your proof for any of this is what?"

Just read the declaration of independence.