Professor of law Richard Samuelson over at the Library of Liberty and Law points out a striking difference between Senator Chuck Schumer’s attitude toward the private property of dissidents and that of the “Father of our Country”. When some members of the population seemed to prefer the protection of the British rather than the freedom of the new country and were thinking of leaving:
“General Washington did not demand that such enemies of their native country, as he thought them, should pay an exit tax. The Americans were fighting to protect their property from arbitrary taxation. Loyalists were free to choose loyalty, and they were free to take their personal property with them. If there was, on principle, no exit tax demanded in the darkest days of the American revolution, it is hard to see how one could be justified now.”
Quite apart from the fact that for Schumer the concept of “private property” is precisely what the Secretary of the Treasury says it means, something no revolutionary American would dream of , the right to renounce according to George Washington was essential to protect the rights of minorities.
Even so, in that time when the young nation was at war with Great Britain and was trying to distinguish between friends and enemies, Washington wrote a Proclamation Concerning Loyalists that forced a stark choice to be made: declare your loyalty to the republic, or leave. And if you do not so proclaim and you do not leave, you will be treated as an enemy. God help us if it comes to that again.
Now I’ve heard that many loyalists paid dearly, perhaps more in the form of mob action. So it is nice to hear that George Washington himself was more magnanimous.
He was regarded as almost a god in his day, he had such integrity. He deliberately confined himself to two presidential terms, establishing a tradition they all followed till FDR ruined it for everybody. He remains the only president ever to have received 100% of the electoral votes, and he did it twice; he refused to join a party believing they would undermine the republic (how prescient!); he was the first commander to have successfully fought a revolutionary war against a colonial power. He came to oppose slavery and freed his slaves on his death. He also paid for retraining for his young slaves and pensions for his older ones.
If only there were men like him in Congress today.
I wonder what George Washington would think if he saw what was coming from the city bearing his name.
Washington, along with the rest of America’s founders would have renounced by now!
“Where freedom dwells, there’s my country” – Me
Or thrown the scoundrels out on their collective ear.
You’re probably right. And Jefferson believed “every generation should experience a revolution.” So tarring and feathering probably would have been the order of the day.