Rebellion to Tyrants – The American Tradition

During the War for Independence, the British oppressors called the American patriots “rebels.” George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Samuel Adams, James Madison, Patrick Henry, Benjamin Franklin – these eminent men were “rebels.” Just what does “rebel” mean? The handy website etymonline.com tells us that the term “rebel” comes “directly from Latin rebellis “insurgent, rebellious,” from rebellare “to rebel, revolt,” from re– “opposite, against,” or perhaps “again” (see re-) + bellare “wage war,” from bellum “war”.” 

A U.S. battle flag during the War for Independence

Drawing from Webster’s 1828 dictionary, we further learn that a “rebel” is:  

“One who revolts from the government to which he owes allegiance, either by openly renouncing the authority of that government, or by taking arms and openly opposing it.” 

And the act of rebelling means: 

“To revolt; to renounce the authority of the laws and government to which one owes allegiance. Subjects may rebel by an open renunciation of the authority of the government, without taking arms; but ordinarily, rebellion is accompanied by resistance in arms.” 

To rebel, then, is to make war against one’s own government or to renounce its authority. Usually, a rebellion requires the “rebels” to take up arms and extricate themselves from their government by force. Using these definitions, our Founding Fathers absolutely were “rebels” because they took up their rifles and made war against British tyranny. In so doing, these patriots won Liberty for America and helped establish the greatest nation in human history. 

Would any true American be so foolish as to suggest that the American Founding Fathers were villains for taking up arms and freeing our People from British oppression? Would any dyed-in-the-wool American be so treasonous as to say that the American Rebellion was wrong, that it was evil, or that it was not clearly justified beyond any reasonable doubt? 

There has never been a more just and holier war than the American Revolution – that great armed rebellion we celebrate every Independence Day. Don’t shy away from the term “rebellion.” It was a rebellion. Society has become indoctrinated to think of any act of rebellion as bad, wrong, or unjustified. We’ve been conditioned to see everyone labeled an “insurgent” or “rebel” as unpatriotic or a traitor. This is simply preposterous. 

The biggest rebels in U.S. history are also our biggest national heroes – the Founding Fathers, the Sons of Liberty, and their fellow Freedom Fighters. But they’d be a mere footnote in history had they not rebelled. If Thomas Jefferson hadn’t written the Declaration of Independence, would you even know he had existed? If George Washington hadn’t led a rag-tag team of militiamen and soldiers against his government’s professional army, would he be a household name today? Let’s be honest – the only reason our Founding Fathers are known, beloved, and venerated today is because they had the courage to rebel against their oppressive, corrupt, unworthy government. 

Thomas Jefferson’s personal seal

The personal motto of both Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, was “Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God.” Thomas Jefferson designed a striking seal to display this powerful phrase. The duo even proposed that the maxim become the national motto. Separate and apart from Franklin and Jefferson, “Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God” was a common thought at the time. Pastors taught that it was man’s duty to defend his God-given rights even if it meant taking up arms. Local militias stood up against the military when the latter came to town demanding: “Lay down your arms, you damned rebels, and disperse.” Americans high and low understood that servitude is Satanic and Liberty is godly. 

Armed with this knowledge and with a sense of duty towards their Faith, Families, and Freedom, thousands of patriots felt no qualms about taking up arms and rebelling. Sometimes we seem to imagine that these early Americans had their own country and were simply defending themselves against the British. Instead, we should remember that the King of England and British Parliament were the government. Knowing this makes our forefathers’ rebellion all the more impressive and consequential. It gave us the example that rebellion against government is not only allowed, but noble and right in the correct circumstances. 

The Declaration of Independence makes this abundantly clear. In words that should echo in our ears, Jefferson wrote and the Continental Congress ratified: 

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.” 

Read that again if you must, but let it sink in. Rebellion for rebellion’s sake is not advisable or desirable. However, when government perpetrates “a long train of abuses and usurpations,” and when government’s course is one of tyranny and centralization of power, it is not only just and good to rebel, but it is a solemn “duty” to “throw off such Government.” To reiterate, “it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish” their government whenever government fails to protect the rights of the People. 

The current oath of office sworn by members of Congress reads: 

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.” 

This oath has been amended slightly over the years, but what has changed but little is the first crucial line: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States.” The president swears the same. This is the key! If we want to know whether our elected representatives are faithful or whether they are traitors, we need simply observe and consider whether they support and defend the Constitution. If they do, then rebellion is off the table, inappropriate, and destructive. If they don’t uphold and obey the Constitution, and the normal recourse of elections and trials can’t remedy the situation, then rebellion is not only justified, but a sacred duty! 

Thomas Jefferson often wrote of the necessity of rebellion: 

“I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical. Unsuccesful rebellions indeed generally establish the incroachments on the rights of the people which have produced them. An observation of this truth should render honest republican governors so mild in their punishment of rebellions, as not to discourage them too much. It is a medecine necessary for the sound health of government” (Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, January 30, 1787). 

More famously, after Shay’s Rebellion, Jefferson exclaimed: 

“God forbid we should ever be 20. years without such a rebellion. The people can not be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. We have had 13. states independant 11. years. There has been one rebellion. That comes to one rebellion in a century and a half for each state. What country before ever existed a century and half without a rebellion? And what country can preserve it’s liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it’s natural manure” (Thomas Jefferson to William Stephens Smith, November 13, 1787). 

Compare these enlightened sentiments with those of the current regime and media talking heads who refer to the American patriots who rallied at the Capitol Building on January 6 as “domestic terrorists” and “insurrectionists.” They were nothing of the sort and to say so is dishonest, divisive, and deeply asinine. 

Let me express a feeling I had on January 6. When I saw the minor breach at the Capitol (allowed and encouraged by police in order to frame conservative America) on January 6, I was ecstatic. I thought, maybe, just maybe, the American People were waking up and were finally prepared to stand up for their rights. Instead, it turned out, that the People were content to wave flags and talk the talk, but not actually walk to the walk and force their tyrannical overlords in Washington to fulfill their oaths to the Constitution. 

So many otherwise decent people on our side almost boast that we aren’t the ones who rebel. My question is – why not? Why no revolution? Why no rebellion? Have we lost our courage? Have we lost our sense? Have we lost the spirit of Liberty that animated our forefathers to rebel against their corrupt government? The crimes committed by our government today and over the past hundred plus years dwarf in scale and savagery anything committed by the British against early Americans. The comparison isn’t even close. Yet, we’re too afraid to do our duty and alter or abolish the usurpers who tyrannize us. We’re afraid to be revolutionary. 

Many people think, contrary to what their forefathers believed in 1776, that rebellion is “unbecoming” and that we owe blind obedience to government no matter what. Christians twist Romans 13, for instance, to support the unsupportable idea that all governments get their authority from God and that every act of government is legitimate. Many people of my own faith also misquote a canonical statement saying that “sedition and rebellion are unbecoming every citizen.” If they were honest, they’d read the entire context and find that the statement falls in line with the spirit of the Declaration of Independence. It notes: 

“We believe that all men are bound to sustain and uphold the respective governments in which they reside, while protected in their inherent and inalienable rights by the laws of such governments; and that sedition and rebellion are unbecoming every citizen thus protected, and should be punished accordingly; and that all governments have a right to enact such laws as in their own judgments are best calculated to secure the public interest; at the same time, however, holding sacred the freedom of conscience” (The Doctrine and Covenants 134:5). 

Did you catch that? My Church believes, and so do I, that rebellion is wrong in times when everyone enjoys their rights and has proper recourse under the law. However, when “inherent and inalienable rights” are not protected, all bets are off. Only those duly protected by law are prohibited from rebelling; and those not “thus protected” actually have a duty to rebel. 

In his momentous Farewell Address, President George Washington stated: 

“This government, the offspring of our own choice, uninfluenced and unawed, adopted upon full investigation and mature deliberation, completely free in its principles, in the distribution of its powers, uniting security with energy, and containing within itself a provision for its own amendment, has a just claim to your confidence and your support. Respect for its authority, compliance with its laws, acquiescence in its measures, are duties enjoined by the fundamental maxims of true liberty. The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government. But the Constitution which at any time exists, till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all. The very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established government.” 

Recall that this comes from the man who led the Rebellion against his government in 1776! General Washington knew full well that rebellion was proper and just on certain occasions. On July 2, 1776, this great man who was a defender of duly-constituted government and rule of law, issued this order to his troops: 

“The time is now near at hand which must probably determine, whether Americans are to be, Freemen, or Slaves; whether they are to have any property they can call their own; whether their Houses, and Farms, are to be pillaged and destroyed, and they consigned to a State of Wretchedness from which no human efforts will probably deliver them. The fate of unborn Millions will now depend, under God, on the Courage and Conduct of this army—Our cruel and unrelenting Enemy leaves us no choice but a brave resistance, or the most abject submission; this is all we can expect—We have therefore to resolve to conquer or die: Our own Country’s Honor, all call upon us for a vigorous and manly exertion, and if we now shamefully fail, we shall become infamous to the whole world—Let us therefore rely upon the goodness of the Cause, and the aid of the supreme Being, in whose hands Victory is, to animate and encourage us to great and noble Actions—The Eyes of all our Countrymen are now upon us, and we shall have their blessings, and praises, if happily we are the instruments of saving them from the Tyranny meditated against them. Let us therefore animate and encourage each other, and shew the whole world, that a Freeman contending for Liberty on his own ground is superior to any slavish mercenary on earth.” 

To General Washington, there was “no choice” but to rebel against the tyrannical government and carve out Freedom by force. No one fought harder for Liberty than Washington. No one was a bigger “rebel” than the Father of our Country. 

Ultimately, the sunshine patriots aren’t the ones who will decide the matter. Rather, it will be the seasoned soldiers of sanity who will step forward to secure their sacred rights. Samuel Adams warned: “If ever the Time should come, when vain & aspiring Men shall possess the highest Seats in Government, our Country will stand in Need of its experienced Patriots to prevent its Ruin” (Samuel Adams to James Warren, October 24, 1780). 

Are you one of those “experienced patriots” who will step forward? If you’re not prepared to step forward and be counted at this crucial juncture, stop calling yourself a patriot. If you’re not prepared to act – to rebel if need be – you’re not a patriot; you’re a coward and a traitor. If you’re too scared to rebel in any way necessary against one of the most wicked cabals ever to oppress a free nation, then Samuel Adams was speaking directly to you when he exclaimed: 

“Contemplate the mangled bodies of your countrymen, and then say, What should be the reward of such sacrifices? Bid us and our posterity bow the knee, supplicate the friendship, and plow, and sow, and reap, to glut the avarice of the men who have let loose on us the dogs of war to riot in our blood and hunt us from the face of the earth? If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquillity of servitude than the animating contest of freedom—go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen!” (Samuel Adams, Speech, August 1, 1776). 

In 1776, our forefathers declared Independence and rebelled against their vile government. They fought for Freedom. They secured it at the price of blood and treasure. They then wisely safeguarded it by establishing the rule of law via a written Constitution. 

Today, we don’t need Independence; we have it on paper, legally, and by right. What we don’t have is a government that honors its commitments, fulfills its oaths, and protects our legitimate, God-given agency. Instead, we have a criminal clique that has hijacked our government and retains its illicit power through mass media manipulation and outright election fraud. They are the occupiers. They are the usurpers. They are the ones who owe allegiance to us. This clique has ruled for decades from the shadows, but now it openly flaunts its lordship over us and dares us to do something about it. 

No, we don’t need Independence from these banker-backed, Marxist-minded, internationalist occupiers; what we need is to oust them from power over us. When a robber breaks into your house, you don’t concede defeat and leave to find a new place to live. Instead, you fight back and reclaim what’s yours. Dear American, what’s yours? What is your birthright? Is Freedom your heritage? Isn’t a republican, representative government of limited scale promised to you in Article IV, Section 4 of the Constitution? 

Earlier, you read the oath that our elected representatives in Congress swear. Are they fulfilling that oath? Are they safeguarding the Constitution like they swore to do? Of course not! They’re perpetual liars who trample the Constitution at every turn. And this goes for Republicans as well Democrats. From Mitt Romney to Nancy Pelosi and from Chuck Schumer to Mitch McConnell, the Congress is infested with traitors and oath-breakers, conmen and enemy abettors. 

The Constitution is not defunct or broken; the men who conduct our national affairs are corrupt and treasonous. As one colorful figure of the nineteenth century stated: “I love the government and the constitution of the United States, but I do not love the damned rascals who administer the government.” Again, I repeat, that our constitutional system is not at fault – the fault lies with the men who break their oaths and the apathetic citizenry which allows them to get away with it. 

What we need is to revive the Constitution. We need a Constitution Revolution. We need a rebellion against the tyrants who have usurped power over us. We need invoke our natural rights and wage war against traitors in the spirit of 1776. The traitors are easy to identify. Look at who promotes free will and constitutional protections on individual Liberty and who proposes policies that restrict free will and suggest coercion and you’ll know which side to stand on. 

I call for a Constitution Revolution. We need a revolution in our minds and hearts. We need to revolutionize our understanding of the Constitution. Founding Father James Wilson said

“Were I called upon for my reasons why I deem so highly of the American character, I would assign them in a very few words—That character has been eminently distinguished by the love of liberty, and the love of law. . . . 

“But law and liberty cannot rationally become the objects of our love, unless they first become the objects of our knowledge. The same course of study, properly directed, will lead us to the knowledge of both. Indeed, neither of them can be known, because neither of them can exist, without the other. Without liberty, law loses its nature and its name, and becomes oppression. Without law, liberty also loses its nature and its name, and becomes licentiousness. In denominating, therefore, that science, by which the knowledge of both is acquired, it is unnecessary to preserve, in terms, the distinction between them. That science may be named, as it has been named, the science of law. 

“The science of law should, in some measure, and in some degree, be the study of every free citizen, and of every free man. Every free citizen and every free man has duties to perform and rights to claim. Unless, in some measure, and in some degree, he knows those duties and those rights, he can never act a just and an independent part.” 

To restate Wilson’s words, you can’t be an effective patriot if you don’t know our nation’s charter of Liberty – the Constitution. You cannot love what you do not comprehend. That goes for God, the law, a spouse, ad infinitum. We need a revolution in our understanding of the Constitution and of the law of Liberty. Unless we first acquire this fundamental understanding, any other type of revolution will fail. 

After we come to understand the Constitution, we’ll know how we’ve been deceived, tricked, and abused. We’ll comprehend how our elected representatives broke their oaths and sold out our Freedom for thirty pieces of silver. And we’ll realize the wisdom in Jefferson’s words: 

“[W]hen a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.” 

As Constitution Day dawns, I call for revolution and rebellion – a revolution in our principles and understanding of our national documents and a relentless rebellion against the tyrants who have illicitly usurped power over us. Resist peacefully, if you must; but resist. Freedom is never granted or given – it is won at the price of self-sacrifice, blood, treasure, tears, and toil. Are we prepared to do what must be done? Are we prepared to fight for the Constitution? Are we prepared to live the American tradition and rebel against tyrants? 

George Washington said that “the constitution is the guide, which I never will abandon” (George Washington the Boston Selectmen, July 28, 1795). I second his pledge. I echo the voices of those fifty-six good men who signed their names to the Declaration of Independence, those who fought against their countrymen for Liberty, and those who crafted the Constitution. They won Freedom and it’s our task to restore it by reviving the Constitution and making it our gold standard once more. 

Yes, I side with the “rebels”! The rebels were on the right side of history in 1776. Rebellion to tyrants is always right. Nothing is more American than “Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God.” I’m prepared to renounce and make war against anyone and anything I need to – including my government which has been hijacked by criminals – in defense of my Faith, Family, and Freedom. What could be a nobler cause to rebel over than Freedom? 

Zack Strong, 
September 16, 2021 

One thought on “Rebellion to Tyrants – The American Tradition

  1. Pingback: The Ongoing Bolshevik Revolution | The American Citadel

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