The Natives are Restless for “Birthright” Jurisprudence – “Don’t Tread On Me”

Crush the Street – by TraderStef

The Gadsden flag “Dont Tread On Me” motto and coiled rattlesnake is representative of today’s birthright citizenship dispute, as roughly one of every 12 newborns in the United States are “anchor babies.”

Back in 1751, Benjamin Franklin penned a sardonic commentary in his Pennsylvania Gazette suggesting that colonists should send rattlesnakes to Britain as a “thank you” for their policy of sending felons to America. In 1754, he used a rattlesnake in the “JOIN, or DIE” illustration to drive home an additional point, and that was his first known political cartoon in an American newspaper. The rattlesnake’s sections represent the colonies and the curves imply the Atlantic coastline. The states of New England are merged into the head of the snake.  

A common superstition back in the day is that a snake cut into pieces might come back to life if its pieces are put back together before sunset. “JOIN, or DIE” initially had nothing to do with independence from Britain, but rather a call for unity to defend the colonies during the French and Indian War. Newspapers throughout the colonies reprinted Franklin’s political cartoon, and the Boston Gazette added the words “Unite and Conquer” flowing from the mouth of the rattlesnake. The rattlesnake became a symbol of unity and eventually appeared in art, banners, uniform buttons, caricatures, flags, newspapers, paper money, political cartoons, and a multitude of paraphernalia. Here is a newspaper header from the Massachusetts Sun:

Following the French and Indian War, Charles Townshend proposed a succession of acts in the House of Commons known as the Townshend Acts. Britain needed to raise money to pay for the seven years of war and believed the colonists were responsible for a fair share of the debt through various taxes since they benefited from Britain’s military strength. The series of acts included:

  • Commissioners of Customs Act
  • Indemnity Act
  • New York Restraining Act
  • Revenue Act
  • Stamp Act
  • Sugar Act
  • Vice Admiralty Court Act

The colonists were not happy about taxation without representation and unrest ensued. Britain dispatched the military to keep peace in the Boston region, but it turned out to be the trigger of outright rebellion. The presence of British troops on American soil angered the colonies and eventually led to the Boston Massacre in 1770. The majority of taxes were repealed immediately, but the tea tax led to the Boston Tea Party in 1773. The Townshend Acts, along with the Sugar and Stamp Acts, led to the Battle of Lexington and Concord in 1775 and a full-blown American Revolution as finality. In December 1775, an anonymous source reported to be Benjamin Franklin wrote a note to the Pennsylvania Journal. Here is an excerpt:

Read the rest here:

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