We’ve reached the point in our "road" where we begin to diverge from our British brethren – for though, as Burke said, a nation is "an idea of continuity," by the 18th century we were clearly building something new and unique upon the legal, cultural, economic and political foundations brought from across the sea. Burke’s Speech on Conciliation with the Colonies,given at Commons 2 March 1775, was an attempt to explain Americans to his bewildered fellow MPs.

So how did a New England "Joe Rumkeg" (no sixpacks back then!) differ from his counterpart in Old England? First, it is almost a certainty he could read, and a solid chance he owned land – thus qualifying him to vote. The white male literacy rate was over 90%, while in England it was 50-60%, and the land ownership figures were even more divergent. This was in large part was due to his religion. Burke described the New England faiths as "…a refinement on the principle of resistance; it is the dissidence of dissent, and the Protestantism of the Protestant religion," giving him "a fierce spirit of liberty." It was obligatory for him to know his King James Bible front and back. To insure this, New England had the first public school system in the New World. Land was plentiful, and his KJV taught him to "be fruitful and multiply.," which he viewed as an economic command as well as a biological one.
Either he, or his immediate ancestors, possessed enough guts and gumption to make the dangerous voyage across the Atlantic, and start a new life on a frontier, with all that entails. The weak of body, mind or character either didn’t go, died before producing many children, or quit and went back. (Notice the word "weak" here, not "sound" or "good" character. Many an emigrant to the colonies was of the rougher sort, and many were escaping one fix or another, but that just gave Americans an edge when matters came to tomahawk blows and musket shots. Rogues can be useful.)
Our "Joe" might not be a lawyer, but there were plenty around, and Burke said that even the non-lawyers were at least "smatterers in law." And why not? "Joe" would have no trouble understanding laws – he and his neighbors made most of them at a town meeting at one time or other. Laws coming from the Crown or the Colony were, at first, also easy to get – don’t murder, don’t steal, etc.; commonsense Ten Commandments stuff. That is until the tax thing got out of hand, and out of HIS hands, which angered him more than the taxes themselves.
Oh, and one more thing – He was a good shot.
So after a few generations, it came to pass that "Joe" and his neighbors would learn to "…augur misgovernment at a distance; and snuff the approach of tyranny in every tainted breeze." As the 1770s wore on, that "breeze" was starting to smell like a three day old codfish.
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