The Instigator
chasinheffers
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
wiploc
Pro (for)
Winning
15 Points

The Boston Tea Party

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
wiploc
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/4/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,725 times Debate No: 21703
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (6)
Votes (4)

 

chasinheffers

Con

It was wrong to throw tea into the bay, simply because of tea tax.
wiploc

Pro

Accepted.
Debate Round No. 1
chasinheffers

Con

At an early age, we Americans are taught the story of the Boston Tea Party from first grade. It is implied as a patriotic stance against the tyranny of taxation without representation; however, when it is studied in a less propogandic frame of reference, you observe this uprising, as no more than a few individuals mindlessly instigating ill will between already economically challenged citizens after a night at the tavern, shamefully dressing up like local natives(cowardly attempt)so as to focus attention on the blameless, and the empire who so many obviously admired. It was illegal, blatently traitoris, and led many too an untimely and uncalled for demise. I would like to extend my apologies to the British, as well as the Indians who subsequently incurred such irreparable damage.
wiploc

Pro

Thanks, Con, for this interesting topic.

Disguised as Indians:

First I'd like to dispose of the claim that participants in the tea party were ("shamefully" and "cowardly") disguised as Indians. When you wear green on St. Patrick's day, you are not pretending to be a shamrock, nor are you in shameful and cowardly manner trying to deflect blame for your drunkenness onto little green plants. No, you are wearing a symbol, not a disguise.

The Iroquois League was governed by a kind of parliament or congress called the Counsel of Fifty. The shocking (to Europeans) point is that they had no king. They governed themselves, if you can imagine. [1][2]

Some participants in the Boston Tea Party wore some feathers or such, trappings of native culture, not disguises. These trappings were symbols that marked them as supporters of kingless self-government. To stick an American feather in your European hat, while opposing the oppression of a European government is to say, "We don't need your king. We can rule ourselves."

No disguises were worn. No attempt was made (shameful, cowardly, or otherwise) to blame the Indians. [3]

Cowardly:

They knew that England would not have treated them kindly had they been apprehended. Yet these few people (according to Con) took flagrantly illegal action, while openly wearing revolutionary symbols, in the face of British authority, for long enough to dump the cargo of three ships!

That's not cowardly; it's brave. And the fewer they were, the braver it was.

Illegal and Traitorous:

Almost every regime change is illegal according to the old regime. Even the switch from the Articles of Confederation to the Constitution was never legally ratified according to the Articles. If illegality amounted to an argument against regime change, we could never have governmental progress. Look at all the "illegalities" occurring in the Arab Spring as people try to escape tyranny. We can only hold our breath, and hope they get something like what they hope for, rather than just another tyranny. (Okay, sometimes we establish no-fly zones.) But it wouldn't make sense for us to say, "No. Fighting tyranny is illegal according to the tyrants, so you shouldn't do it."

Think of the people who smuggled bibles into the Soviet Union, and those who smuggled slaves out of the Old South. Do we censure them because their acts were illegal? No, we laud them for their moral courage.

It's true that our founding fathers, Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, and the rest, were traitors. But do we disparage them for that? No, we praise their courage.

Consider too, that our oppressor was a British king, and that British lines of succession generally begin with illegal acts: treason or conquest. That is, our challenge to King George's authority was of the very type that established his authority in the first place.

"A Few Individuals Mindlessly Instigating Ill Will":

"Few," they may have been. I don't see how this is relevant to the argument. They were more than the eight Mormons who started the anti-slave movement in America. They were more than the twelve disciples of Jesus. Sam Adams and his supporters were early adopters of the self-rule meme. I don't see how this is a bad thing.

"Individuals": Really? This is a criticism?

"Mindlessly": The Crown had lowered the tea tax to the point where some people would be tempted to actually pay it rather than risk the penalties of smuggling. The Crown's reduction of tax was not mindless, nor was the response, which established that not-smuggling is risky too.

Wikipedia says, "The Tea Party was the culmination of a resistance movement throughout British America against the Tea Act, which had been passed by the British Parliament in 1773. Colonists objected to the Tea Act for a variety of reasons, especially because they believed that it violated their right to be taxed only by their own elected representatives. Protesters had successfully prevented the unloading of taxed tea in three other colonies…." [4] "The culmination of a resistance movement"? That doesn't square with Con's claim that this was a few individuals acting mindlessly.

"Instigating Ill Will": According to Winston Churchill, the revolution was "inevitable." The American colonies were too far away to be ruled effectively from England. England had been so absorbed in other world affairs, that the Colonies had been effectively under self rule for a long time. So, when England had some slack time in which it could turn its attention to squeezing some profit out of its investments, it was "inevitable" that we would break their tenuous grasp on us. [5]

Think about it: there were three possibilities. 1. England could have let us be represented in Parliament; in which case we might have eventually moved the king to Virginia, and left the British Isles as a backwater of empire. 2. We could have, like India, suffered subservience to Britain for longer, until some other Sam Adams, Gandhi, or Robespierre led us to freedom at a later time. 3. We could have separated at the time we actually did, which some people think worked out pretty well.

Consent of the Governed:

According to the Declaration of Independence, Government gets legitimacy from the consent of the governed. [6] This idea is hard to argue against. Does Con think we should have continued under a government that we regarded as oppressive and tyrannical?

Conclusion:

Since it doesn't help his case, I let slike Con's claim that first grade is propagandistic.

Con called our founding fathers traitors, which is just true, but, in the circumstances, admirable.

Con said the Tea Party was illegal, which is also true; but, as I have demonstrated, illegality in response to tyranny is not always a bad thing.

Con's every relevant claim has been refuted: The Boston Tea Party was far from mindless, far from cowardly, did not involve disguise or attempt to blame the Indians, was part of a successful freedom movement as opposed to being the whim of some drunks from a bar.


Con has the burden of proof.


Vote Pro.

1. Some guy, of American Indian extraction, who seemed obsessive on the topic.

2. Wikipedia: The Iroquois League.

3. Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbooks Got Wrong, by James W Loewen. It's a great read, highly recommended.

4. Wikipedia: The Boston Tea Party.

5. Some history book by Churchill. Perhaps a volume of the History of the English Speaking Peoples.

6. The Declaration of Independence.

Debate Round No. 2
chasinheffers

Con

Well said i must say; however, two wrongs do not make a right. What is admirable to some, is a terrible transgression to many. You claim they were not the few, but the majority of colonists were against this agression, and thought it nothing more than a waste of tea, which led to, by the way, of colonists forced to scavenge from native shrubs roots to suffice for tea(thus common name for the shrub New Jersey Tea) which added a bitter(mind the pun) taste to an already unbearably hard lifestyle.
The onset of the King's intolerance which followed, brought about the wealthier class of colonists(our founding fathers of renown)to revolt in bad form, exploiting the less fortunate citizens in their ignorance(still used to this day)and putting them in harm's way, in hopes of taking the entire nation for themselves, which is exactly how the unfortunates were rewarded: with a republic disguised as a democracy, and nothing more than an ogiarcy which still survives today.
It's all pretty to talk of freedom, liberty, and throwing off the oppressor, but is nothing but political reteric that has been improved upon and utilized until this very day. In fact, the founding fathers knew, that a self government by the people and for the people was an absolute bad strategy, for they knew it wouldnt be long before those self governing citizens would be hanging them, and the king was the least of their problems.
Therefore, hide the facts with reteric, and make the constitution in a fashion that could not be changed readily, only by themselves. They were not looking to the future welfare of the country, but their own good position. Observe how they crafted the Electoral College and the election of delegates, the difficulty of changing the Constitution, just a few items in which they conspired against the people. The declaration of independence was not a letter to the king, but a letter to the people, who in fact had no idea they were being oppressed, or even that they were being taxed without representation. In fact, we are taxed without representation to this day, more than then. Nice words like liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and throwing off said government, was merely a ruse as it remains still.
The Boston Tea Party was treason by any stretch from any frame of reference. Didnt your mother tell you dont pick up stuff that does'nt belong to you?
They were instigating public fear and hatred of the crown. They needed this diversion to hide their true motive, as always; more money. It is a sad story, but now that we know the truth, lets not hide it under a bushel, let us bring it into the light, and not place these common thugs on a pedastel, but impale them on the truth where they belong.
wiploc

Pro

Thanks, Con, for introducing this interesting topic.

Let's look at the issues Con raised in his original post.

- First grade is propagandistic: Stipulated but irrelevant.

- Con's preference for "less propagandic frame of reference": Abandoned. (His final post is all propaganda, all ranting opinion with no offer of reason to believe the propaganda. We could call this a turn, but it's not a relevant turn.)

- The Boston Tea Party was "a few individuals mindlessly instigating ill will between economically challenged citizens after a night at the tavern": refuted and dropped.

- "shamefully dressing up like local natives(cowardly attempt)so as to focus attention on the blameless": outrageously false, refuted, and dropped.

- Many admired the British Empire: Stipulated, irrelevant, and now reversed. (We still admire it, but we still don't want to be ruled by it. And Con now adds, "what is admirable to some is a terrible trangression (sic) to many.")

- "Illegal and traitorous": Dropped. (I showed that illegality and treason can, in circumstances, be highly admirable. Con had no more to say on the subject.)

- People died in the revolution: Stipulated, but Con never offered to show that they died for a bad or unworthy cause. He never linked this up to his claim that the Boston Tea Party was somehow a bad thing.

- Con apologized to the British: Stipulated but inexplicable and irrelevant.

- Con apologized to the Indians: Stipulated. I'll add my apology too; we've generally treated the Indians very badly. But the Boston Tea Party was not one of those times. At the Boston Tea Party, we honored them, holding up their kingless self-rule as an ideal, as a better way of life, as a radical improvement over stale European institutions.

So, nothing is left of Con's opening case. It is emphatically defeated. Let's look, then at the new "case" he has introduced in the last round:

- At the time of the BTP (Boston Tea Party) most colonists were against it. No citation. No reason to believe it. But, just for the sake of argument, let's assume it's true. Does that mean the revolution became a good thing once a majority were in favor? Does that mean that all social changes are bad until they achieve majority support? Where was Con is going here? He never linked this alleged factoid to his case. It comes to nothing.

- Con thinks the BTP caused a shortage of tea, so colonists had to drink lesser drinks. <Shrug.> He doesn't want to blame the Crown for giving the tea monopoly to the East India Company. He doesn't want to blame Britain for not letting us have representatives in Parliament. He doesn't even argue that cheap and plentiful tea is better than freedom. So, again, his alleged factoid is not linked to his case.

- Con makes some not-too-clear point about rich people. He apparently thinks that the BTP was a bunch of drunk millionaires who had nothing else to do after the bars closed. Does he think the Colonial insurgents were richer than the King and Parliament? How is this relevant? Con neither explains his point nor gives us any reason to believe it.

- Con says we revolted "in bad form" and exploited ignorant poor people. He says this goes on yet today. Does he think the British rich are more gentle and supporting and educating of their poor? Is this why he wishes we were still paying taxes to Britain? He doesn't say. Once again, we don't know how Con thinks this relevant to his case. What we do know is that, historically, when it comes to educating the poor, independent America has been a light unto the world.

- Con claims that we are a republic "disguised as a democracy," without giving any hint of a reason to think that is worse than a monarchy. This is a turn; it is Con defeating himself, unless some voter prefers monarchies to republics.

- Con calls modern America an oligarchy. (An oligarchy disguised as a republic disguised as a democracy?) He doesn't say whether that is good, nor why we should believe it, nor whether Britain is an oligarchy, nor whether we would be an oligarchy if the BTP hadn't happened. Once again, this point has no apparent relevance to the resolution being debated.

- Con says the founding fathers opposed rule by the people. But so did the British. Con doesn't link his claim to the resolution.

- Con criticizes the Constitution, as if the BTP were somehow related to it. But the BTP lead to the Articles of Confederation. Nobody in Boston Harbor that night envisioned the Constitution.

- Con spews some aimless bile over the supermajorities required to amend the constitution, and over the Electoral College. As near as I can tell, Con is for mob rule. Perhaps he prefers the French Revolution to the American one. (I'm not trying to put words in his mouth. I'm just trying to guess what his issue is.) Regardless, I don't see how this is relevant to the resolution. We didn't have mob rule (or whatever Con wants) under British rule. After the revolution, we had smaller government, more local, able to react much faster than British could, what with their need to send messages back and forth across the ocean (sometimes several times) before they could make decisions.

- Con says the colonists didn't know they were being oppressed, and didn't know they were taxed without representation. This is counterfactual; it is just Con's fantasy. We had printers. We had broadsides and newspapers. We had Tom Paine and other pamphleteers. The causes of the war were famous, much talked about. Our oppression was so famous that Edmund Burke, a loyal Englishman in England, gave us the rationale that resulted in the electrifying call, "No taxation without representation." [1] I don't think any reader of this debate can believe that we were ignorant of the arguments for and against revolution. And, even if Con's outlandish claim were true, how would that have made the BTP a bad thing?

- Con calls the founding fathers thugs, says their purpose was to get more money. Con does not support this claim, and does not link it to the Boston Tea Party. But, even so, according to http://www.davidstuff.com..., five of the fifty-six signers of the declaration were captured and tortured before they died. Nine died of combat wounds or military privation. Two lost sons in the war. One had sons captured. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. One lost his ships, his properties, his home, and died in rags. One served without pay, lost his possessions, and ended in poverty. Eight had their properties looted. When Cornwallis set up in Thomas Nelson Jr.'s home, it was Nelson himself who urged Washington to destroy it. One had to flee his wife's deathbed, to live in caves and forest; he died of starvation and exhaustion.

These results were foreseeable. What could they have expected when they took on the world's greatest military power? It is impossible to believe that the founding fathers were in it for the money. Not that any of this has to do with the Boston Tea Party, but Con angers me when he claims that the revolution was a scheme to enrich the founding fathers.

A quote from the above link: "They had security, but they valued liberty more. Standing tall, straight, and unwavering, they pledged: "For the support of this declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of the divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor."

Conclusion:

In his opening salvo, Con made some claims relevant to the resolution. Those relevant claims have been refuted and dropped. Since then, all of Con's claims have been some combination of irrelevant, unsupported, or obviously and spectacularly untrue.

Con had the burden of proof, which he didn't come close to lifting.

Please vote Pro.

[1] Imagining Other Political Philosopy - A Primer: Edmund Buke, Tom Paine, and the French Revolution of 1789. http://www.imagining-other.net...


Debate Round No. 3
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by wiploc 4 years ago
wiploc
Here's what I read:
"The League is embodied in the Grand Council, an assembly of fifty hereditary sachems."

And here's what I wrote:
"The Iroquois League was governed by a kind of parliament or congress called the Counsel of Fifty."

I had no idea that I'd made a mistake, so thank you for pointing out my error.
Posted by chasinheffers 4 years ago
chasinheffers
I was hoping for some explanation for the Iroquois league(centered in the ohio valley and of no apparent connection) and the council of fifty(mormon religious group founded long after the destruction of the tea with no connection)remarks. I thought maybe you had some inside info that you could relate. They were dressed in Mohawk garb(a local tribe)Even the speaker Sam Adams tried to stop them...to no avail; nevertheless, i enjoyed the experiment. My goal was only to shed light on public school deficiency in this country.
Posted by wiploc 4 years ago
wiploc
Thanks. :)
Posted by chasinheffers 4 years ago
chasinheffers
Good show, I think you defended admirably and quite informatively. Its been a pleasure to read your response.
Posted by wiploc 4 years ago
wiploc
Typo Correction: I let *slide* Con's claim that first grade is propagandistic.
Posted by chasinheffers 4 years ago
chasinheffers
Thanks to the brave wiploc, for his timely acceptance.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by Travniki 4 years ago
Travniki
chasinhefferswiplocTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro gave complete refutation to everything con said and that was not dealt with entirely
Vote Placed by 1dustpelt 4 years ago
1dustpelt
chasinhefferswiplocTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro rebutted all of Con's arguments, causing instigator not to meet BOP.
Vote Placed by imabench 4 years ago
imabench
chasinhefferswiplocTied
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Reasons for voting decision: what mimshot said and also that con failed to prove that the Boston Tea Party was not necessary and only mentioned that it was "rude" or something
Vote Placed by Mimshot 4 years ago
Mimshot
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Excellently done. Pro applies impeccable argument to an extensive knowledge of history.