by John Ellis
How should Christians view July 4, 1776? More specifically, what, if anything, does Kingdom ethics say about the American Revolution? This is a tricky topic to wade into because it carries the potential to increase unholy divisions within the Church. Unity is (should be) a hallmark of Christ’s Bride that serves to point unbelievers to God. I think we can agree that over the last few years followers of King Jesus (including myself) have frequently failed to love one another in ways that promote unity as a witness to the Resurrection. However, with the risks acknowledged, this is an important topic because it speaks into our definitions of flourishing and where we locate our telos as followers of King Jesus.
On January 11, Al Mohler waded into this topic via his podcast The Briefing. You can listen to the episode (or read the transcript) by clicking here. In the episode, Mohler contrasts the Jan. 6 insurrection (he doesn’t believe it was an insurrection, to be clear) and the recent revolt in Brazil with the American Revolution. Referencing comments he made after Jan. 6, he proclaims, “Once Christians recognize the legitimacy of a government, they have to treat the government as legitimate. If we decide that the government is illegitimate, then we have to take all the consequences and assume all the responsibility of deciding that a government is no longer legitimate.”
As to the question of how Christians are to determine if the government is illegitimate, Mohler doesn’t detail, unless you count his exposition of the events leading up to the American Revolution. I interact with his exposition below, but for now, it will suffice to point out that I do not consider it a template for how Christians are to determine the illegitimacy of the government. In the podcast he assumes the validity of his claim that Christians can determine that the government is illegitimate and that they are then biblically allowed to act on it.
After a brief excursus into Romans 13, a passage that Mohler later misuses, as I’ll show below, he returns to the issue of Jan. 6 and the American Revolution by insisting, “According to a Christian understanding, a long-term Christian understanding based in Scripture, there may come a point when Christian believers, to be faithful to Christ, have to come to the conclusion that the government is illegitimate. But as I said, if you make that decision and you exercise actions consistent with that decision, you have to bear the consequences of that decision.” Based off his later full-throated defense of the American Revolution, Mohler believes that overthrowing an “illegitimate government” via an armed revolt is an appropriate action for Christians to take.
Except the Bible is clear: Christ’s Kingdom is spread via the Spirit and not the sword. An unequivocal truth that many Christians throughout history have sinfully failed to acknowledge or obey. For example, almost immediately after Emperor Theodosius made Christianity the only legal religion in the Roman Empire, Christians picked up literal swords and forced pagans to convert. We could look to the Crusades, which were a great evil deceitfully perpetuated in the name of Jesus. Then there are the many religious wars and civil wars that ravaged Europe after the Reformation. During the American Revolution, pastors used their pulpits and pen to put forward contextually controlled missives written as propaganda to encourage colonists who didn’t have any actual skin in the game to side with those advocating for independence from Britain. Mohler references those colonial pastors but in doing so I’m afraid that he places himself in submission to the Machiavellian deceit of the colonists and not the Bible.
If he were to read this, Mohler would likely insist that I’ve conflated the spread of the Kingdom with a biblical ethic that calls Christians to love their neighbors by being actively involved in the polis. Obviously, Mohler believes that that activity can extend as far as violently overthrowing the government if that government is deemed illegitimate by some man-made yet unclear rubric. I disagree, on both counts. Historical acts of violence at the hands of Christians can’t be separated from Mohler’s argument. I mean, the colonists, especially the pastors he referenced, didn’t separate the two. John Witherspoon in his sermon The Dominion of Providence Over the Passions of Men encourages his listeners and readers – he published it as a pamphlet – to take up arms against Britain because the colonists’ religious liberty was being threatened which would prevent them from obeying God. About a decade earlier, John Adams made a similar argument in his pamphlet A Dissertation On the Canon and Feudal Law. Adams went so far as to claim that both the English Parliament and Crown were agents of Satan acting on behalf of the Antichrist. Throughout history, whenever Christians have taken up the physical sword as Christians (not as citizens under the civil authorities), the conflation of Christ’s Kingdom with an earthly kingdom is usually somewhere near the center of the justification.
While there are many tragic examples in history of professing Christians killing people in the name of Jesus, I don’t know of any biblically-sound, contemporary theologian that argues that Christians are allowed to overthrow the government. Disobey? Yes. Take up the sword and physically overthrow? No.
Don’t misunderstand, Google can direct me to scores of arguments made by the current crop of Christian nationalists/theonomists who advocate for physical violence against “illegitimate” governments. I have some books behind me on bookshelves that make that argument. But those arguments are well outside appropriate biblical exegesis. So far outside of sound biblical exegesis, in fact, as to be in direct disobedience to God’s Word. I am fully aware, though, that what I have to say in this article will likely not only be unconvincing to avowed Christian nationalists but will also earn me their scorn and derision and ultimately exile to the gulag if they achieve their goals. So be it. They’re not my audience anyway. I’m writing to those brothers and sisters in Christ who are confused and torn by the arguments of Christian nationalists and, sadly, Al Mohler.
With a nod to my opening paragraph, I want to be careful and sensitive to what I say next and how I say it. That being said, in this discussion, it’s unhelpful to the point of practically impossible to ignore that Mohler’s arguments and logic are tortured and filled with fallacies and historical inaccuracies. I don’t know his heart, so I don’t know his motives. If I did, the podcast episode in question would likely make more sense to me. As it is, and as I told the friend who asked me to listen to it, I’m not sure who Mohler’s intended audience is. “Baffling” is the word I initially used to describe the episode to my friend after I had listened to it. I imagine that Christian nationalists are not happy with his derisive and insulting dismissal of Jan. 6. It appears that Mohler is attempting to thread a needle that only he can see.
His motives and audience aside, I believe that Mohler is wrong theologically and historically. To demonstrate that, my plan is to introduce some historical context that is largely lost in discussions amongst Christians about the American Revolution followed by a look at Mohler’s incorrect political theology. I will conclude with a specific look at an evolution of the colonists between 1765 and 1776. An evolution that is vital to the discussion but unfortunately few are aware of (including, apparently, Al Mohler). My thesis, if not already clear, is that Kingdom ethics do not allow Christians to take up the sword against the government over them, no matter how antichrist that government may be, and that stricture by Kingdom ethics includes the American Revolution.
Early 17th Century England Was Not Mid-18th Century England
This should go without saying, but the England the colonists rebelled against was not the England under King James that the Pilgrims fled from. The notion that King George was spearheading the persecution – financial, religious, political, whatever – of the colonists is laughable because he wasn’t the one in charge to begin with. It’s also laughable because what happened is far removed from any synonym of persecution, but I’m jumping ahead.
Several important events in England’s history happened between King James I and King George III. For starters, there was the English Civil War that deposed Charles I and saw Cromwell establish a “Protestant” Protectorate. This was followed by the Restoration that was reversed by the Glorious Revolution (called “glorious” because it was bloodless) and the subsequent reign of William and Mary. For his part, William III, or William of Orange as he was known in The Netherlands, only acquiesced to taking the English crown so that he could use the mighty English navy to protect his beloved home country from Spain and France. The English Parliament didn’t care that William didn’t even like England because they merely wanted a Protestant figurehead on the throne (not to mention, they needed The Netherlands’ economic might to fund the Glorious Revolution). During William’s reign, the constitutional monarchy of England as we now know it was born (see footnote #1). King George III, of course, was crowned King of England fifty-eight years after William III died. In other words, King George III was really the ruler of England in title only. In reality? Bound by a constitution, of course, and specifically Lord North for our specific time period purpose, Parliament was the real ruler of England.
Conflating 1621 England with 1776 England is a massive historical error. And one that I’ll circle back to after a brief look at Romans 13.
Nero Versus George III
In the podcast, Mohler sloppily compares Daniel and Paul to historical and contemporary revolutionaries. Unfavorably, compared to what happened on Jan. 6; and favorably, compared to the colonists who revolted against England. In other words, he conflates the biblically valid civil disobedience of Daniel and Paul with the wielding of the sword against the government by the colonists. To be fair, Mohler doesn’t do this explicitly but if you listen to the episode, you’ll hear the rhetorical connections made.
For example, right on the heels of discussing revolutions and rebellions after Christians determine the government isn’t legitimate, Mohler drops this, “But at the same time, you also recognize that once you do that, you are the enemy of the regime. You are the enemy of the government, and that will come with consequences. Again, just ask Daniel or just ask the Apostle Paul.”
There are a few other spots throughout the episode where Mohler makes the rhetorical connection between Daniel and Paul obeying God rather than man with armed revolts. Ironically, I think that the juxtaposition of Daniel and Paul in light of Romans 13 with overthrowing governments undermines Mohler’s very argument.
When Paul wrote Romans, the emperor was Nero. Widely acknowledged by historians as having been a vile, violent, ineffective, and self-serving ruler, Nero was the governing authority when Paul commanded, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities.” Paul’s “revolt” was to continue to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. Not once did he pick up the sword. To be sure, there were times when as a citizen of Rome he appealed to the law. But he and the other apostles joyfully endured the persecution of the state without ever even insinuating that Christians should pick up the sword in response.
If that was true under Nero – submitting to the governing authorities – how much truer was it in the mid-18th century when the colonists were called to submit to a nation with an actual Christian for a king and a parliament that wasn’t asking the colonists to disobey God (except in regards to slavery, but that wasn’t among the colonists’ complaints). King George III was a far cry from Nero, and that’s assuming that it was King George that the colonists were actually rebelling against (spoiler: they weren’t, which I’ll explain below).
Seriously, though, what was England asking the colonists to do that violated God’s commands? Looking at the colonist’s complaints, some of them were valid, to be clear, but none of them rose to the level of needing to obey God rather than man. To be fair, Mohler’s notion of “illegitimate government”, which wasn’t really defined nor delineated from “legitimate government” apart from begging the question, attempts an end-run around this. Except, his end-run attempt demonstrates a lack of understanding of what was happening in the colonies between 1765 and 1776.
Hey, Parliament! … Whoops, We Meant, Hey, King George!
One of the things I found the podcast episode confused about was the non-existent distinction between the U.S. government in 2020 and England in 1776, at least, from the standpoint of those who participated in the Jan. 6 insurrection. While I disagree with them 100%, the insurrectionists of Jan. 6 believe and argue that the election was illegally stolen and that the current U.S. government is illegitimate. Even if I were to be convinced by their arguments, I would still be opposed to their ethics – their actions. It doesn’t matter if the current U.S. government is “illegitimate”, Romans 13 and the whole counsel of Scripture forbids Christians from taking up arms against it. As a follower of King Jesus, I am called to spread the Kingdom through the preaching of God’s words and my actions that glorify my King and bear witness to the Resurrection.
However, Mohler denies that Jan. 6 had any collective ideology or goals. He referred to it as “farcical.” But to say that the colonists had the biblical right to revolt against England and those on Jan. 6 did not have the right to revolt against what they’ve deemed an illegitimate government, Mohler needs to lay out the argument that the current U.S. government is legitimate and 1776 England was not. He didn’t do that, of course, because he realizes that’s a trap for him. Dismissing the Jan. 6 insurrectionists as farcical clowns is his best option. This allows him to argue on behalf of the revolutionary colonists without getting weighed down by contemporary debates that move in and out of conspiracy theories that many of his followers believe and that he likely doesn’t want to go on record as either accepting or denying.
So, setting aside discussions about the legitimacy of the Jan. 6 insurrectionists’ complaints because that’s what Mohler did, I want to look at his historical justification for his claim that the colonists were right to revolt because England was not their legitimate governing authority. I’m going to quote him in full and at length because I want to make sure that readers see that I’m not taking Mohler out of context nor am I strawmanning him.
The next three paragraphs are Al Mohler’s words copied and pasted from the podcast’s transcript:
“In the years leading up to the Revolution, you need to understand that the Americans, by means of the Continental Congress and by other legal mechanisms, were actually making appeals to King George III to rule over them, to exercise his authority as king. Technically, the American colonists were not seeking, first of all, to become un-British or to revolt against King George III. They were asking, by means of remonstrances and other official statements, they were asking King George to save them from the threat of the British Parliament, taxation without representation. At this stage, the American colonists were asking the king for relief. They were basically saying, ‘See us as your subjects. And by the way, your subjects are represented in Parliament. And by the way, your subjects have the right to call upon you for relief against tyranny.’
King George III did not respond in such a way to respect his colonists there in the United States or what later became known as the United States. So there arose a second or a next phase. And in this phase, the big question among Christians in the United States was whether or not George III was, in the sense of Romans 13, actually the ruler over them. If he wasn’t exercising his rule, if he wasn’t responding to them as subjects, then what sense did it make for them to recognize that a king thousands of miles away across a vast ocean was actually legitimately the ruler over them?
Or to put it another way, most of those colonists came to the conclusion that King George III was not the legitimate ruler, and his government was not the legitimate government. And thus, the argument at this stage among the majority of the Christians involved in the Continental Congress was not that some kind of revolt against a lawful king was authorized, but rather that, by his actions and by the geography, King George III was by no means the actual rightful ruler over them. And that led to what became known as the Revolution.”
To start with, I have yet to hear or read anything that supports the insistence from Mohler that the colonists were justified in their debate and subsequent belief that King George/England wasn’t their rightful ruler according to Romans 13. More importantly for the goal of this article, the colonists were playing a very flimsy shell-game regarding who had authority over them. Violating their own proclaimed Whig political ideology, the colonial leaders, including the pastors Mohler references, had done a complete one-eighty by 1775 after William Knox boxed them into a corner regarding Parliament in his 1769 pamphlet The Controversy Between Britain and Her Colonies.
As all good Americans should know, the whole thing started in 1765 with the much-reviled Stamp Act. What many Americans may not realize is that the inciting incident for the Stamp Act was the French and Indian War.
The larger geopolitics of the French and Indian War and its relation to the larger Seven Years War that began two years into the conflict in the New World are debatable. Regardless of how those debates play out in your estimation, the fact is that England supplied and paid for the colonist’s defense during the French and Indian War. After the Treaty of Paris in 1763, England found itself in an economic depression. Saddled with having to pay off war debts alongside trying to jumpstart the island nation’s ailing economy, Parliament thought it would be only fair to ask the colonists to help pay for both the war and the subsequent need for English soldiers to be stationed in the colonies. Especially considering that the colonists, by 17th century standards, were living high on the hog, most people in England believe this was only fair. The colonists disagreed, arguing they’d already paid their fair share and that they didn’t want the soldiers stationed in the colonies in the first place. This is where the Stamp Act served to ignite the fury that led to war in 1776.
The Stamp Act of 1765 required the colonists to use paper with a revenue stamp for most of the documents they published and used. This was a direct tax on the colonists, and a tax they refused to pay (apart from a brief time in Georgia). Not only did they refuse to pay it, but the colonists also set about rioting, burning buildings, and kidnapping and tar-and-feathering Parliament’s agents tasked with collecting the tax. In October 1765, the colonists convened a congress in New York City and wrote a series of declarations they sent to Parliament. It’s important to note that they prefaced those declarations with an open and robust acknowledgement of Parliament’s authority over the colonies. They just denied Parliament’s right to tax them without representation. Parliament had a hard time grasping the colonists’ complaint because, according to Subminister Thomas Whately who replied for the confused Parliament, the colonists were represented.
In political theory, there is a distinction between virtual representation and actual representation. By definition, actual representation requires voters to vote for their representative. That was impossible in 17th century England since less than ten percent of the citizens had suffrage. Even today, in 21st century America, actual representation isn’t fully adhered to. If it were, for example, those who don’t vote for whomever wins the presidency could argue, “he’s not my president.” Whenever a President refers to himself as the President of all Americans, regardless of how they voted, he’s exhibiting how even now we have a combination of virtual and actual representation. Parliament in 1765 believed that they represented the interests of the colonists because they believed in the concept of the “universal Englishman.” The colonists rejected that.
I want to pause and ask, regardless of your views on virtual representation, does submitting to it cause someone to disobey God?
The colonists didn’t help their cause because they argued that virtual representation was legitimate in England but not the colonies. That created a problem that they attempted to solve by creating a distinction between the colonies and England. Considered then and now to be one of the most important primary documents in the debate, Daniel Dulaney claimed that England and the colonies were two distinct peoples in Considerations on the Propriety of Imposing Taxes in the British Colonies, for the Purpose of Raising a Revenue, by Act of Parliament (1765). As historian Gordon S. Wood put it, “This was an ominous argument.”
I hope Christians can see the rebellious self-serving nature of the argument. Until their authority figure did something they disliked, the colonists were happy to consider themselves as one with England. The bifurcation didn’t come from a desire to obey God but the desire to not have an external authority over them. However, the debate waters weren’t done being muddied.
Benjamin Franklin, in a speech before Parliament in 1766, explained that Parliament had the right to impose and enforce trade regulations and impose import and export duties. But, he argued, they didn’t have the right to impose internal taxes on the colonists. Parliament failed to accept Franklin’s distinction because, frankly, it didn’t make any sense. That didn’t stop John Dickinson of Pennsylvania from picking up Franklin’s tortured argument. In his very popular Letters from a Pennsylvania Farmer, he freely accepted Parliament’s right to regulate trade but, like Franklin, denied them the right to directly tax the colonists.
Franklin and Dickinson’s arguments were at odds with Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England that spelled out how Parliament held sovereign power over England and all English colonies. To make matters even more difficult, the leading minds of the colonies used Blackstone’s Commentaries extensively in the development and support of local laws and jurisprudence. But Blackstone’s authoritative refutation of the colonist’s arguments paled in comparison to the Parliament’s response penned by William Knox.
Before getting to The Controversy Between Britain and Her Colonies Reviewed by William Knox, a couple of things need to be pointed out: Parliament quickly revoked the Stamp Act but also passed the Declaratory Act of 1766 that codified their authority over the colonies. In 1767, the legislature in New York set about to dictate to Parliament what authority they could and could not exercise over the colonies. However, between 1766 and 1776, Parliament levied many import duties on the colonies (the Townshend Acts). Although the colonists’ argument was that while Parliament didn’t have the right to impose internal taxes, Parliament did have the right to impose import and export duties on them, guess what the colonists’ response to the duties was? They rejected them. What do you think the Boston Tea Party was about? Keep in mind, the Townshend Acts, according to Franklin, Dickinson, and other colonial leaders, fell under the authoritative purview of Parliament. This was all very confusing, absurd, and contradictory, which lead to Knox’s pamphlet.
Knox’s arguments were airtight. You either accept Parliament’s authority or you don’t. You don’t get to pick and choose when and how you’re going to obey and acknowledging Parliament’s authority meant that the colonists didn’t get to dictate to Parliament the terms of that authority. If you don’t accept Parliament’s authority, then the dissolution of the relationship between England and the colonies was the only remaining option, according to Knox.
Now, this dissolution was not what the colonists had been angling for. They had wanted their cake and to be allowed to eat it, too. They wanted to be internally left alone but also be able to enjoy the trade privileges that came with being part of England (not to mention the benefits of having the English army and navy as their defense). In a sense, the colonists were like teenagers who want to be emancipated from their parents but still live in their parents’ house and the parents continue to pay all their bills. In other words, they want all the benefits of having parents but none of the responsibility or obedience required that comes with having parents. It’s difficult to see how the colonists were much different.
Years ago, I read through the Parliamentary Records of the 1760-70s (only the bits about the colonies), and it was funny to “hear” the exasperation, annoyance, and confusion in the words and tone of members of Parliament trying to come to terms with the contradictory and often nonsensical arguments made by the colonists. At the same time, the anger over the kidnapping, torture, and even murder of Parliament’s agents at the hands of the colonists was eye-opening. Whether or not you agree that Parliament’s actions were lowering the colony’s economic ceiling, nothing Parliament did justified the violent actions by the colonists to civil servants simply trying to do their job. And, again, even if you do believe that Parliament was acting in the economic self-interest of England at the expense of the colonies, nothing Parliament did even came close to falling under the Kingdom ethic of “obey God rather than men.”
(For the record, I do believe that Parliament was acting in the economic self-interest of England at the expense of the colonies. What I’ve written above and what I’ll write below is only a snapshot of the events. A snapshot that gives a clearer, more complete picture than most Americans have of the events leading up to the American Revolution, I believe, but I have never claimed nor do I believe that the colonist’s didn’t have legitimate gripes. But those gripes, legitimate though they were, did not justify an armed revolt against their governing authorities. Also, it bears mentioning that even with Parliament’s mercantilism that prioritized England proper over the colonies, the average colonist’s economic outlook was much higher than the average Englishperson’s. It was the colonial elites who were affected by Parliament’s actions. They wanted to move into the rarified air of English nobility but were hindered by Parliament.)
And this brings us to Mohler’s claims about the colonists’ appeals to King George III.
The colonists’ arguments were stymied. Instead of submitting to the two options – submit to Parliament or completely dissolve their union with England – they invented a third option that largely ignored their previous arguments: Their sovereign was the King and not Parliament.
Mohler’s correct in that after 1774, all the famous colonists that we learn about in history class began appealing to the King. “Up to 1775 the colonists had carried on their debate with Great Britain within the confines of the English constitution.” Afterwards, here’s what they did: Completely ignoring all their previous statements about Parliament’s legitimate authority over them, the colonists claimed that they were solely the subjects of the Crown.
The colonist’s almost sudden reversal of whose authority they were under violated their Whig ideology, as those in England at the time loved to point out. To reject Parliament and embrace the monarchy was so anti-Whig that Lord North was utterly baffled by the colonial Whigs’ new arguments. But the duplicitous reversal of arguments was not over.
After some desultory appeals to the King over their grievances, the colonists “reclaimed” their robust Whig ideology. In A Summary View of the Rights of British Americans, Thomas Jefferson accused – carefully worded so as to avoid charges of treason – the King of overstepping his bounds and oppressing the colonists.
The colonists had landed on their final argument. And that about-face allowed them to then claim that the English constitution didn’t allow the King to tax them. The problem was that the King had never imposed a tax on them; Parliament had. To solve that problem – and you can check the colonists’ writings from before 1775 and after – they begin dismissing Parliament’s role in all this. Check the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson turned his ire on King George III. Famously, the text blurts, “The History of the present King of Great-Britain is a History of repeated Injuries and Usurpations, all having in direct Object the Establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.” That incredibly false statement – to the point of being a lie – is followed with the list of complaints that all begin with, “He has …”. Parliament barely gets a mention. A complete reversal from their bulk of their complaints beginning in 1765 and continuing through 1774.
1775 also saw the colonists shift from talking about their rights as Englishmen under the English Constitution to suddenly talking about natural rights. I would love to dive into this, but for the sake of a growing word count, I’m going to leave it unexplored. I do believe that Christians who tout natural law should account for this shift in the founding fathers of America.
This brings me back to Al Mohler’s exposition of the events leading up to the American Revolution. Mohler’s contention that the colonists were responding to the unlawful authority of King George III is based on a lie. The colonists only began talking about the King after they had been boxed into a corner regarding Parliament. And Mohler’s exposition is also based on a misunderstanding of what the colonists were doing. The colonists weren’t asking the King to save them from Parliament. They were blaming the King for Parliament’s actions and then insisting that the King didn’t have the constitutional right to make those actions and exercise that authority over them. They ended up playing a deceitful word game so as to trick the average colonists who weren’t actually affected by Parliament into siding with the colonial merchants who wanted to grow their economic empire. It wasn’t about freedom; it was about money.
Al Mohler’s misunderstanding of history aside, the Bible is clear that Christians do not have the right to take up arms against their civil authorities. Kingdom ethics tells us that we are called to obey God rather than man, and then faithfully and joyfully accept the consequences, even to death. God is good, and Romans 8:28 applies when Christians are being burned at the stake. That’s our flourishing. Our hope is in our King and his return. That’s our telos.
No matter what you think of the Jan. 6 insurrectionists’ claims, they were in violation of Romans 13. Likewise, the colonists were in violation of Romans 13 when they refused to obey the Stamp Act and also when they resorted to violent rebellion eleven years later. Contra Al Mohler, it’s not our job to determine the illegitimacy of the government and then take action. It’s our job to be a faithful witness to the Resurrection. Locating our flourishing and telos in the here-and-now puts us at odds with King Jesus. Locating our flourishing and telos in the Kingdom puts us at odds with the here-and-now. Our faithfulness to our King in spite of ostracization and even persecution we may face testifies to the gospel. Armed revolt testifies to the Fall.
Soli Deo Gloria
 After William’s coronation, the country went through some growing pains as the Tories and Whigs vied for control over Parliament. William III vacillated back and forth on his support for the Tories or Whigs based on which group approved his main desire to protect The Netherlands. Over the course of his reign, three acts – the Bill of Rights (1689), the Triennial Act (1694), and the Settlement Act (1701) helped shift the balance of power from the Monarchy to Parliament.
 Thomas Jefferson did complain that the King was preventing the colonists from abolishing slavery which was a laughable claim. The slave holding colonists, including Jefferson, were the ones preventing the colonies from abolishing slavery.
 The colonists weren’t a monolith and there were those who sided with Parliament.
 No doubt, you’ve heard this very sentiment expressed. Unfortunately, President Trump furthered this along by often speaking as if there were two Americas – those who voted for him and those who didn’t. He couched himself as the President of those who voted him and as having little concern for those who didn’t.
 Gordon S. Wood, Power and Liberty: Constitutionalism In the American Revolution (New York: Oxford University Press, 2021), 15.
 Wood, Power and Liberty, 29.
 Thomas Paine ran with this. Common Sense is total nonsense.
 I encourage you to read Founding Finance by William Hogeland.