There has been quite a bit of news from the capitol this week. The most prominent being that the Department of Revenue has stopped scanning most documents during the driver's license application/renewal process. DOR will continue to scan certain things such as test scores from driver examinations and non-citizen information. I will devote more time to this and other news stories in the next Capitol Report. However, this week I would like to reflect a bit on the Declaration of Independence.
The road to independence did not occur suddenly, rather it took several years. The crisis began with the end of the French and Indian War in 1763. The British Parliament decided the American colonists should help pay the bills; wars are expensive! The Stamp Act of 1765 sought to place a tax on all public documents and papers. The colonists responded by calling the Stamp Act Congress. In turn, the organized resistance of the colonists led to a repeal of the act, but Parliament regrouped.
Parliament stated its right to tax the colonies in the Declaratory Act of 1766. Parliament followed with the Townshend Act and a threat to disband the Massachusetts legislature the subsequent year. However, within three years Parliament repealed the Townshend Act after the Boston Massacre. In this incident, a British captain and eight soldiers were tried for firing on a Boston crowd: all were acquitted except two soldiers found guilty of murder, later reduced to manslaughter. The colonists were upset.
In 1773, Parliament passed the Tea Act to save the British East India Company from bankruptcy. The Massachusetts colonists responded with the Boston Tea Party, tossing the taxed commodity into the Boston Harbor. In 1774, Parliament passed what they called the Coercive Acts, which the colonists labeled the Intolerable Acts: a direct punishment of Massachusetts. In response, the colonial leaders called the First Continental Congress, and tensions rose. On April 19, 1775, colonists squared off against British regulars at Lexington, Massachusetts. The American militiamen fired "The shot heard 'round the world." Another skirmish occurred at Concord. Quickly, the Second Continental Congress convened, and established the Continental Army with George Washington in command. Events accelerated quickly.
The Second Continental Congress sent the Olive Branch Petition to King George III, but he refused to look at the document and declared the Americans in open rebellion. In January 1776, the publication of Common Sense by Thomas Paine increased the clamor for colonial independence. In June, Congress formed the Committee of Five and on June 28, the committee reported to Congress. For the first four days of July, Congress debated. On July 2, the British arrived in New York and Congress declared independence. Finally, on July 4, Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence. The rest, we know, is history.
Have a great Fourth!
It is an honor to serve the 51st District in the Missouri House of Representatives. Each week I will issue a capitol report to keep you informed of activities in Jefferson City. Any concerns or issues you might have are of great interest to me. I look forward to your input and thoughts, so please feel free to contact me at any time if you have questions, concerns, or ideas to improve our state government and the quality of life for all Missourians. My telephone number is 573-751-2204 or you may contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for working me to make Missouri a great place to live.