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Educational Malpractice Pt 3: weaponized courts set to end your local control over schools

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Can you hear it?

Can you hear the faint, deep reverberations of thunder… the low grumblings of an angry sky?

There are storm clouds on the horizon.

Be wary.

Be wary.

It’s coming.

The movement to strip away citizen-control over local schools is coming to a school system near you!

Spoiler alert: The power-hungry, equity warriors and distributionists are gearing-up to use the courts against you!

Recap:

I won’t waste my word count on a lengthy recap. Thus far, I’ve been examining the issues of my local school system in hopes of raising the veil on educational malfeasance, bringing issues to light that likely occur in school districts around the county.

This is the last, and perhaps the most important, of a three-part series on education, covering the actions of a well-funded, collectivist army of adherents to the sustainability cult aiming to strip your community of local control of your schools.

You can read each of the previous parts by clicking on the links below:

Part 1: Fraud, Sex, & Football

Part 2: Failures of Identity Politics

 

“The Exodus”:

A “hostile takeover.” That’s how Tennessee Senator Mark Norris described the takeover of the then-acclaimed Shelby County Schools (SCS) system after the Memphis City Schools (MCS) system chose to dissolve their schools and consolidate with SCS.

He was right on the mark.

(I summarized this hostile takeover and its roots in racialized politics in Part 2.)

For one year, the Shelby County Schools district was the largest school district in America.

Shortly thereafter, in hope of removing their children from being under the control of notoriously crooked Memphis city management, six Shelby County cities held voter referendums so that their citizens could choose whether they wished to incur property tax hikes in order to form and, subsequently, to financially support locality-controlled municipal school districts.

The voters of those six cities voiced their approval at the ballot box, and six separate municipal school districts were formed.

This revolutionary, grassroots educational reform movement (which the Memphis media pejoratively termed an “exodus”) has spread beyond the borders of Shelby County. Cities across the state of Tennessee are studying the various municipal school districts in Shelby County in hopes of forming their own smaller districts.

This has prompted pushback from control-hungry collectivists, and has rekindled a fire of racist and classist accusations toward the citizens of the six Shelby county municipalities.

This defamation is once again taking place on a national scale, with big name media outlets joining the fight against the citizens of Shelby County.

 

The Statistics:

The deconsolidation movement is picking up steam both across the state of Tennessee and across the Country partly due to longitudinal studies detailing the negative impacts upon students which have become so characteristic of large school districts, accompanied by the statistical benefits which smaller districts offer students of every race and socioeconomic background.

According to the National Conference of State Legislators:

“The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reports that in the 2008-09 school year there were 100,713 public schools in 13,976 school districts serving 49.3 million students. That compares to an estimated 271,000 schools in nearly 130,000 school districts in 1920 serving 23.6 million students (Berry, 2004; Fischel, 2009).”

District consolidation actually began “as a duplication of the economy of scales models used in the automotive industry that saved production costs and delivered a quality product at a low cost (Howley 2011). However, as district consolidation grew tremendously and increased education’s accessibility, the price of education only increased (Howley 2011)” (Kennedy & Tolbert, 2012).  Now, years after the trend toward school district began, “sources have revealed that there is no significant difference in costs (Cox & Cox 2010; Groan & Murray 2004; Streinfel, Foldesy, & Holman, 1991),” (Kennedy & Tolbert,2012).

In fact, some researchers now assert:

“Maybe school consolidation ‘worked’ for a while, but to judge from the size at which operational costs are minimized (3,000 students for an entire district and with serious inefficiencies becoming evident at 15,000 students), district consolidation has proceeded to a scale at which the claim of ‘working’ appears hollow.”

A study by Duncombe & Yinger (2007), concluded that large school districts (due to consolidation) incur the following disadvantages, often referred to as diseconomies (Howley, Johnson, & Petrie, 2011):

(1) higher transportation costs;

(2) labor relations effect (i.e., seniority hiring);

(3) lower motivation and effort from educators (i.e., working for a large bureaucracy is demoralizing);

(4) lower motivation and effort from students (i.e., being housed in a large bureaucracy is demoralizing);

(5) lower parental involvement (i.e., dealing with a large bureaucracy is demoralizing).

On the topic of student achievement, broken down by demographic categories (race, socioeconomic status, etc.), the benefits of smaller school districts are clear. As one report (compiled for the state of Ohio) states:

“Currently, there are many studies comparing district and school size to student achievement. Many of the studies indicate that students, especially lower income, perform much better in smaller districts (Howley 2011). A study, analyzing students in Ohio – concluded, “Smaller districts reduced the influence of poverty on achievement in the range of 20 percent to 70 percent across grade and unit levels,” (Howley 2011). Therefore, consolidating these districts would likely negatively affect their students…. More than anything, the policy report believes that deconsolidating would be the best option for urban school districts.”

“In addition, multiple studies found negative correlations between low-income students and large school district size. Martin L. Abbott’s research found that large district size strengthens the negative relationship between low socioeconomic study and student achievement (Abbott 2002). Independent variables such as median household incomes and percent of students receiving free or reduced lunch supports the argument that the low-income students receive the most negative effects of large school district size. Craig Howley’s The Matthew Project: State Report for Ohio analyzed district performance on state achievement tests. Using school size, district size, and percent of free or reduced lunch as the independent variables, Howley discovered reducing school and district size will reduce the negative influence of poverty on performance (Howley 1999). In support of this argument, Jerry Johnson’s research on reading and mathematics scores in the state of Nebraska concluded smaller school systems in Nebraska reduce the harmful effects of poverty on student achievement (Johnson 2003).”

Nevertheless, these studies are of little interest too venture “philanthropist” organizations and big-money donors with dreams of widespread control, like those who fun “Edbuild.” (Details below.)

 

Venture Philanthropy Quietly Declares War on Local Citizens Control of Schools:

According to its website, “EdBuild is a catalyst organization, working to fundamentally disrupt the status quo of illogical & inequitable school funding.” The goal of Edbuild’s “national voice work” is to “build a public narrative around the illogical and detrimental construct of local school funding policies that create the incentive and ability to segregate along socioeconomic lines.” Edbuild’s “public narrative” work is “entrusted to a social justice organization to pursue greater systemic equity in the system via the judicial branch.

According to its website, Edbuild’s funders include the Center for American Progress, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Walton Family Foundation, and a host of other left-leaning venture philanthropies.

The state of Mississippi has hired Edbuild to completely re-image the state’s entire educational funding structure. Half of Edbuild’s fee for this job is being paid for by the state of Mississippi.

The other half of “the cost is being paid by the numerous entities that have contributed to the non-profit company” (Daily Journal). Edbuild “did not provide additional information about the private sources.”

 

Edbuild’s Public Narrative:

In June of 2017, Edbuild released a report on school system “deconsolidation” entitled, “Fractured: TheBreakdown of America’s School Districts.”

Edbuild specifically targeted the school system deconsolidation which occurred here in Shelby County, Tennessee, claiming:

“The case of Memphis and Shelby County is an extreme example of how imbalanced political power, our local school-funding model, and the allowance of secession can be disastrous for children. In 2014, six largely white and wealthy Tennessee suburbs broke off from the impoverished Shelby County school district after nearly a decade’s struggle. The county’s suburbs had long sought to keep their tax dollars from benefiting the more needy student population in Memphis…”

Ahhh, yes… Those greedy, stingy citizens of Shelby County, every single one of whom is an incarnation of Ebenezer Scrooge, fought long and hard to deprive poor, starving, needy children of the life-saving funds so desperately needed to survive in this cold, cruel world (sarcasm).

(Isn’t that what motivates you?)

“The repeal of the ban on new districts cleared the way for almost any Tennessee community seeking to segregate itself from its poorer neighbors,” the report claims. “Tennessee has some of the most permissive secession laws on the books, due entirely to the legislature’s solicitude toward the interests of these wealthy suburban areas.”

Edbuild’s CEO and founder, Rebecca Sibilia, who “holds a Bachelors degree in Political Science,” has since stated:

“This isn’t a story of one or two communities. This is about a broken system of laws that fail to protect the most vulnerable students.”

“This is the confluence of a school funding system that incentivizes communities to cordon off wealth and the permissive processes that enable them to do just that.”

“What we’re talking about here is the notion of people pulling out of a tax base that’s for the public good… That’s akin to saying you’re not going to pay taxes for a library because you’re not going to use it.”

However, Ms. Sibilia failed to mention, whether purposely on her part or perhaps out of a lack of knowledge, that every single property tax paying citizen of Shelby County continues to fund the large Shelby County Schools district regardless of which city one resides. The residents of the six smaller cities, who each formed municipal school districts, then pay additional property taxes – taxes on top of their Shelby County property taxes – which subsequently fund their own city-bound schools.

Nevertheless, the report maintains the stance that “…these better-off neighborhoods transform public education from the public good it’s meant to be—providing the same opportunities to all of America’s children—to something far less accessible.”

Nowhere does the “report” ever address the financial states of the Memphis City Schools system prior to its dissolution, in 2013, into the Shelby County School, nor does the report address the racial and socioeconomic “segregation” between the Memphis City Schools system and the Shelby County Schools system prior to the merger. I discussed both in my last article, including the funding superiority that MCS had over the SCS; funding which Memphis residents forfeited by choice.

Details-schmetails.

Having smaller school districts, the “report” erroneously states, is “bad financial management. Creating new, duplicative bureaucracies to educate a small number of students in a secession district is inefficient, and it’s wasteful of the state tax dollars paid by all citizens.”

“The financial impacts of the secessions were immediate. In just one year, Shelby County’s budget was slashed by 20% [source #133, as listed in the report]. Declining enrollment has forced drastic measures: Seven Memphis-area schools have closed since the 2014–15 school year alone,134 and the district laid off about 500 teachers in both 2015 and 2016 [source #135, as listed in the report].”

(Hmm…. Something doesn’t smell right…)

Edbuild, it appears, suffers from a bias-induced proclivity toward misstating information for political expediency. For example:

  • By reading source #133 (linked above), we learn that the SCS budget decreased because:

(A)“Much of the cost-cutting is being driven by shrinking enrollment.” – The drop in enrollment was due to three factors: the formation of municipal school districts; the state of Tennessee took of over 27 failing schools, adding four more schools the year this article was published; and the high rate of mobility in the City of Memphis. (In other words, the 20% stated in the “report,” which wasn’t even stated in the article sourced, was due to a combination of factors, rather than being the sole result of school system deconsolidation as the “report” claims.)

(B) “The $90 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is [was] scheduled to dry up.” (*This did not end up occurring after all.)

  • By reading source #135 (linked above), we learn that the “district, which is one of Memphis’ largest employers, already has rehired or replaced at least half of the displaced teachers and expects to find placement for most of the rest.” (In other words, the “report” cites outdated and irrelevant information regarding teacher employment, because the layoffs, in the end, did not actually occur.)

Sneaky, sneaky.

I suppose this type of bias shouldn’t be surprising for an organization who’s methodology for  “research” largely depends on “new stories.”

“We searched the internet for news stories, meeting minutes, legislation and any other pertinent material about attempted or successful school district secessions…”

“Using internet search engines, we found news articles, meeting minutes, legislation and other pertinent material…”

We all know how unbiased the news media is, after all.

Finally – and here’s the kicker – the “report” asserts:

“Calls for ‘local control’ carry a troubling historical resonance, especially in areas like Birmingham, Memphis, and East Baton Rouge. It may no longer be legal to segregate school systems by law, but school district secession allows states to exploit the legal loophole created by Milliken to resegregate their schools, and state funding laws provide explicit and numerous incentives to do so.”

 

Edbuild’s “Solutions”:

The non-profit has set big goals, all of which at to be achieved at a rapid pace. “EdBuild’s workstreams were constructed with actionable end goals in mind, meaning that we have made a strategic choice to achieve our mission within 5 years, and then close our doors.”

Edbuild’s “report” lists the following “solutions” to the menace of school district deconsolidation (also referred to as succession):

  • “Disallow secessions entirely” using a “blanket ban.”
  • “If states are unwilling to enact blanket rules prohibiting secession,” legislation “must be carefully crafted to ensure” racial and socioeconomic equity of both the new district and the district being left behind. Otherwise, succession must not be permitted.

“[D]istricts must consider the fiscal effect of the reorganization, the socioeconomic and racial composition of the new and old district, and the geographic characteristics of the affected district.

  • School funding should no longer be generated from property taxes, and unequal property taxes between localities but end: all cities’ property taxes must be the same.
  • Remove local control of the schools and disallow voters’ rights;
  • End locally governed funding structures.
  • Overturn, repeal, or otherwise work around (to undermine) the Supreme Court ruling in Milliken v. Bradley.

“The only way to truly ensure that school district borders are not used as a tool of segregation and inequity is to revisit the Supreme Court case that created this problem: Milliken v. Bradley. In granting school district boundaries such exalted status that state governments cannot enforce desegregation plans across them, the Court valued those borders above the fairness and equity of states’ education systems. As a result, every new boundary that is drawn—whether for legitimate or discriminatory reasons and whether in the interests of students or not—immediately takes on this near inviolability. This, combined with state funding formulas that allow for inherently inequitable local property taxes ensures that boundaries can be drawn to specifically disadvantage our most vulnerable children.”

 

Milliken v. Bradley:

This SCOTUS ruling is the thorn in the side of every power hungry, collectivist, social engineer there is.

In 1974, a district court, via court fiat, instituted a desegregation plan for Detroit schools which included busing rural/suburban white children who attended non-Detroit school district schools into the inner-city Detroit School district.

The Supreme Court ruled that school district borders were sovereign and, thus, this desegregation plan failed.

As briefly described below:

Issue: Whether the racial composition of the schools at issue amounts to racial segregation in violation of constitutionally guaranteed rights to equal protection? Whether the District Court had the authority to craft a remedy to the problem that encompassed the operations of school districts that were not parties to the litigation and had not been presented with the opportunity to be heard?

Holding: No, the policies at issue here do not violate constitutional guarantees as Court-ordered desegregation does not guarantee any particular racial composition in public schools but instead bans intentionally discriminatory policies. The district court judge, even if he had been correct on the underlying claims, exceeded his authority by adopting an overly broad remedy that significantly diminished the local control of schools without affording those schools the opportunity to be heard.”

You can read more here and here.

However, Edbuild, in its “report,” laments this SCOTUS decision. Edbuild supports instituting desegregation across school district borders to achieve “Edbuild-approved” race quotas.

While it sounds implausible, this movement is gaining momentum, especially after the recent court ruling in Alabama which has officially stopped school system deconsolidation in the Birmingham area.

So, here we are, America. 

To spite the stats supporting school deconsolidation, there are wealthy groups, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation, etc. (who fund Edbuild), who seek to continue to socially engineer America all the way down to our local school systems. These people and groups are supported by the media and present factually inaccurate “reports” that go entirely unquestioned by local media outlets and  news providers (like the Commercial Appeal in Memphis, as blatantly obvious here and here).

The five-year plan is already in full swing.

If you want to keep local control over your schools, you’ll have to be prepared to join the battles ahead, the looming courtroom wars. For the sake of your children and for your community, don’t sit idly by only to become a sitting duck.

A storm is coming.

Be prepared.

Paige Rogers is a Christian artist and author, and a former professional practitioner in the field of Early Childhood Development. She is the creator of ThePaintingPastor.org, a blog offering Christian reflection, exhortation and discernment alongside various artistic techniques visually documented through Paige's unique artistic endeavors. A lover of learning, Paige is an avid enthusiast of history, civics, political geography and human nature, physical geography and the sciences. She is an incurably inquisitive and chronically creative “egghead.” Paige is a strong supporter of America's service members and veterans.

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Education

A Tale of Two Shootings

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It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. Charles Dickens probably never thought of a shooting as the best of times, nor would anyone else. However, if you HAVE to have a shooting, then the obvious “best of times” is one where only the gunman dies. Unfortunately that isn’t always the case.

Today we had yet another, preventable shooting at a soft-target school, where the best defense the government can come up with is making the school a gun-free zone, and occasionally a couple of cops.

The facts will continue to play out, but while two police officers acted heroically today (take note, Broward County Sheriff’s Office) what we do know is that there were still far too many innocents killed. The first officer was shot before he knew what was happening, and the second seems to have moved as fast as he could, though no one can be everywhere at once.

This will obviously be a story that is played out in the press for days, while the talking heads on Fox News and CNN spout various “solutions” to the problems of mass shootings. Most of these talking heads won’t have the first clue what they are talking about.

I am a former military and civilian firearms instructor. I still teach friends and family who want to learn, but I don’t charge anymore. I was a Texas Concealed Handgun Instructor. I know the law in Texas. A 17 year-old having access to his father’s weapons like what happened today is a felony for the father. Yes, there is a DEFENSE to this charge if the gun was used in self-defense, but this was not the case here, and so the father can not use this defense in court, though I’m sure his lawyers will try if they’re paid enough. The father of today’s shooter (I won’t use his name and give him the fame so many of these killers desire) WILL see time in prison, if Attorney General Ken Paxton has anything to say about it. The father may have obtained his guns legally, but in no way was a 17 year-old legally using them.

Obviously, today’s shooting was the worst of times.

The best of times happened just yesterday in Dixon, Illinois, when a school resource officer shot a would-be school shooter. There were snippets about this in the NY Times and other major news outlets, but that story has already gone away, while this one will not. It SHOULD be talked about just as much as today’s shooting. We need to talk about successes in stopping school shootings just as much as we talk about failures. We need to have an honest conversation about what DOES and what DOES NOT work.

I’m not going to use this piece to go into a great detail on the gun-control debate, though I’m sure that’s where the Left will continue to take us, even though they admit there are no additional laws they want that would stop these horrific tragedies. I DO want us all to come to some common ground on this issue of school shootings though.

1. ALL of us (we, the common people) want these to stop. I say we the common people because there are a great number of politicians on both sides of the debate, but particularly on the Left, who make a great deal of hay when these incidents happen.

2. We have to have an honest conversation about what does and does not work. An HONEST conversation, by the way, Lefties, does not mean what levels of gun control we’re willing to accept.  And for those on the Right, yes, we need to talk about gun control. It’s our job to demonstrate to those who are ill-informed why gun control has not and never will work.

3. We need to approach this with logic and facts, not emotion.

This honest conversation has to begin with certain undeniable facts:

1. The shootings with the lowest body counts are those stopped by a good guy with a gun. It’s not ALWAYS a cop. Arming responsible teachers who both desire to carry and have demonstrated that they can handle a gun is something we need to talk about. I’ve heard good arguments for this, and one or two reasonable concerns against.

2. In nearly every incidence, mental health has played a factor, and could be seen BEFORE the shooting.

3. In MOST (not all) incidences, there were already mechanisms in place within current law that COULD have and SHOULD have stopped the gunman from obtaining firearms. Take today for example. Daddy is going to go to jail, and he should, for not having his firearms secured where his son could get them. I’m speculating here, but I’m willing to bet a lot of money as the investigation goes on, that the father of the gunman knew his son was disturbed, and should not only have kept his firearms secure from his son, as is the law in Texas, but also should have been seeking mental health for his son.

4. The Left is going to hate this one, but it’s an undeniable fact. Almost every one of these mass shootings, and ALL of them in schools, are in gun free zones. Those who know little to nothing about guns may think this irrelevant, but it is one of the most important points. They are soft targets that are chosen because most if not everyone there is completely defenseless.

There is more we could talk about on today’s shooting. We could talk about the explosives, the fact that neither of the guns used are ones the Left (currently) claims it wants to ban, or the instant calls for gun control. I did see something just yesterday that I found interesting from the Left. They were complaining that Parkland was disappearing from the news and it wasn’t getting any attention anymore, a month later. They wanted to push for gun control and nothing else.

Well, I have a solution for this. Adhere to the above rules for a conversation, and accept the undeniable facts above, and then engage us with logic and reason, instead of pure emotion. The kids from the Parkland shooting got famous not for their calm reason, but for their rage.

And before you think I’m not emotional ENOUGH about all this, just keep in mind I have two little boys in public school here in Texas. Yes, I’d love for the teachers and administrators in their schools (those who want to be) armed and willing to protect my kids. I’ll donate the time on the range to help them become proficient. I’ll even pay for the ammo and range time.

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Education

Hidden History: Colonial Rebellion Against Corporate Oppression

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Was “The Boston Tea Party” truthfully all about taxation?

It started with a famine-

Eight years after the Battle of Plassey in 1757, when British Major-General Robert Clive defeated the Nawab of Bengal (India), Clive granted British governmental powers of civil administration to the British East India Company in Bengal (BBC History Magazine, 2010).

As the functioning government over Bengal, the East India Company imposed taxes on goods, land taxes, and trade tariffs. A monopoly over tea and grains was achieved (Cambridge Forecast, 2006).

Laws were also passed prohibiting the Bengalese from “hoarding” goods, such as rice. “This prevented traders and dealers from laying in reserves that in other times would have tided the population over lean periods,” (Cambridge Forecast, 2006).

When a semi-regular dry spell, causing a decline in crop production, came upon the region in 1769, the peasantry’s surplus of staple crops proved inadequate for sustaining the population (Strasser, 2010).

Famine struck in 1770, “killing at least 1.9 million people – this was equivalent to half the population of the 13 American colonies at the time” (BBC History Magazine, 2010).

A plethora of bad press soon haunted the British East India Company.

The horrified public of Great Britain rightfully cast blame upon the East India Company for the man-made disaster.

Horace Walpole, the 4th Earl of Orford, wrote:

“The oppressions of India…. under the rapine and cruelties of the servants of the company, had now reached England, and created general clamour here,” (BBC History Magazine, 2010).

 

The American Colonies were slated to be next-

In 1773, the Crown devised a plan to aid the now economically flailing British East India Company in ridding itself of 17.5 million pounds of excess tea (BBC History Magazine, 2010).

The Tea Act was passed by Parliament in May of 1773.

The act imposed no new taxes.

Rather than imposing a new tax on tea, the Tea Act merely reinforced the taxes already in existence, put in place years before with the passage of the 1767 Townsend Revenue Act. Instead of imposing a new tax, the Tea Act of 1773 granted a full monopoly on the import and subsequent sale of tea in all American colonies.

This monopoly was granted to the British East India Company.

Americans feared that they too would suffer the fate of the Bengalese under the ruthless, corporate despotism of the East India Company.

“As Americans were well aware, the East India Company had turned itself into the actual government of east India, and there, the Company‘s irresponsible, ruthless, and inhumane greed had been directly responsible for millions of deaths in the Bengal famine of 1770” (Charleston Law Review, 2012).

In an impassioned objection against the East India Company, John Dickenson, a Pennsylvania lawyer, wrote:

“Their Conduct in Asia, for some Years past, has given ample Proof, how little they regard the Laws of Nations, the Rights, Liberties, or Lives of Men… cast their Eyes on America, as a new Theatre, whereon to exercise their Talents of Rapine, Oppression and Cruelty. The Monopoly of Tea, is, I dare say, but a small Part of the Plan they have formed to strip us of our Property. But thank GOD, we are not Sea Poys, or Marattas, but British Subjects, who are born to Liberty, who know its Worth, and who prize it high,” (BBC History Magazine, 2010).

For Americans, the issues at hand were quite simple:

“Would they allow England to press down upon America the corrupt class of royal toadies who would rule America by force, as they did east India? Would they allow England to siphon off the productive wealth of Americans and gladly watch Americans die in order to enhance their own corrupt profits?” (Dave Kopel, Charleston Law Review, 2012).

Their answer? No!

And so, on the evening of December 16, 1773, approximately 100 Bostonians –“supported by a crowd of thousands who safeguarded them”- boarded three ships filled with East India Company cargo and dumped 46 tons of tea into the waters of the harbor (Charleston Law Review, 2012).


Citations:

  1. “Bengal Famine of 1770,” Richard Melson, Cambridge Forecast, October 2006, Retrieved at http://www.cambridgeforecast.org/MIDDLEEAST/BENGAL.html
  2. “British East India Company and the Great Bengal Famine”, Strasser, 2010, retrieved at https://strassers.wordpress.com/2010/02/01/british-east-india-company-and-the-great-bengal-famine/
  1. “Defiance of The Patriots: The Boston Tea Party & The Making of America”, Benjamin L. Carp, (2010).
  2. “How the British Gun Control Program Precipitated the American Revolution, 6 Charleston L. Rev. 283, 2012, Retrieved at https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1967702
  3. “The global origins of the Boston Tea Party”, BBC History Magazine, 2010 (Christmas Issue), Retrieved at https://www.historyextra.com/period/the-global-origins-of-the-boston-tea-party/

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Education

Hidden History: The Disarmament of Boston

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The first shots were fired in the American War for Independence on April 19, 1775, when 700 British Redcoats, led by Major John Pitcairn, attempted to seize American arms at Lexington and Concord (American Bar Association, 2012).

The patriots, however, had already moved their supply of arms to safety.

After an initial, successful battle against the patriots at the bridge at Lexington and Concord, the Redcoats were ambushed and eventually outnumbered 2:1 by American re-enforcements arriving from surrounding towns (Charleston Law Review, 2012, p. 310).

While some American fighters had arrived organized – illegally-formed local militias – a large number arrived and fought on their own, even taking up sniper positions whenever possible. Patriots who joined the fight even included a number of women and the elderly. Before long, the armed Americans harried Pitcairn’s Redcoats back into Boston (Charleston Law Review, 2012, p. 310).

“One British officer reported: ‘These fellows were generally good marksmen, and many of them used long guns made for Duck-Shooting.’ On a per-shot basis, the Americans inflicted higher casualties than had the British regulars” (American Bar Association, 2012).

Boston, where the Royal Governor, General Thomas Gage’s Red Coats were stationed, was now surrounded by armed American patriots.

Since their attempt to seize American’s arms at Lexington and Concord had gone badly for the British, and now finding themselves surrounded by armed patriots, Royal Governor Gage devised an alternate plan for disarmament.

On April 23, 1775, General Gage made an offer to Bostonians trapped within the city: turn in your arms and you can leave Boston.

“The Boston Selectmen voted to accept the offer, and within days, 2,674 guns were deposited, one gun for every two adult male Bostonians,” (American Bar Association, 2012). Arms collected included: “1778 fire-arms (muskets or rifles)… 634 pistols… 973 bayonets (bayonets attached to the long guns)… and 38 blunderbusses (short-barreled shotguns),” (Frothingham, 1849).

However, after “having collected the arms, Gage then refused to allow the Bostonians to leave. He claimed that many more arms had been secreted away than surrendered,” (American Bar Association, 2012). While inhabitants of Boston were supposed to receive certificates permitting departure from Boston, this rarely occurred in practice. Indeed, before long, “passes to leave issued by Gage quickly dried up,” (Halbrook, 2008).

Further complicating the matter was the fact that those Bostonians who were permitted to leave, were prohibited from taking any belongings with them (Halbrook, 2008).

The situation for Bostonians worsened over time, as food shortages began to take effect.

As one Bostonians wrote, in a letter to an acquaintance in Philadelphia (New England Historical Society, 2014):

You request my writing freely, which I must be cautious of, for reasons which will naturally occur to you. As to the inhabitants removing, they are suffered to go out under certain restrictions. This liberty was obtained after many town meetings, and several conferences between their Committee and General Gage. The terms mutually agreed to were, “that the inhabitants should deliver up all their arms to the Selectmen.” This was generally done, though it took up some days. On this occasion the inhabitants were to have had liberty to remove out of Town, with their effects, and during this, to have free egress and regress. But mark the event: the arms being delivered, orders were issued by the General, that those who inclined to remove must give in their names to the Selectmen, to be by them returned to the Military Town Major, who was then to write a pass for the person or family applying, to go through the lines, or over the ferry; but all merchandise was forbid; after a while, all provisions were forbid; and now all merchandise, provisions, and medicine. Guards are appointed to examine all trunks, boxes, beds, and every thing else to be carried out; these have proceeded such extremities, as to take from the poor people a single loaf of bread, and half pound of chocolate; so that no one is allowed to carry out a mouthful of provisions; but all is submitted to quietly. The anxiety indeed is so great to get out of Town, that even were we obliged to go naked, it would not hinder us. But there are so many obstructions thrown in the way, that I do not think, those who are most anxious will be all out in less than two or three months — vastly different from what was expected, for the General at first proposed, unasked, to procure the Admiral’ s boats to assist the inhabitants in the transportation of their effects, which is not done, and there are but two ferry-boats allowed to cross. They have their designs in this, which you may easily guess at. We suffer much for want of fresh meat.

“After several months, food shortages in Boston convinced Gage to allow easier emigration from the city,” (American Bar Association, 2012).

In the end, it was the “seizure of these arms from the peaceable citizens of Boston who were not even involved in hostilities,” which ultimately “sent a message to all of the colonies that fundamental rights were in grave danger” (Halbrook, 20008).

Citations:

  • “The Founder’s Second Amendment: Origins of the Right to Bear Arms”, Stephen P. Halbrook, 2008.

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