In the long list of “abuses and usurpations” the Declaration documents, taxes don’t come up until the seventeenth item, which is neither a complaint about tax rates nor an objection to the idea of taxation. Our Founders remonstrated against the British crown “for imposing taxes on us without our consent.” They were concerned about “consent”— that is, popular rule— not taxes. The very first item on their list condemned the king because he “refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.”
Note that the signers wanted to pass laws, not repeal them, and they began by speaking of “the public good,” not about individuals. They knew that it took public action— including effective and responsive government— to secure “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Their second grievance reinforced the first, accusing the king of having “forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance.” Again, our forebears wanted to enact laws; they were not anti-government zealots.
Dionne, E.J (2012-05-22). Our Divided Political Heart: The Battle for the American Idea in an Age of Discontent (p. 266). Bloomsbury Publishing Plc. Kindle Edition.
more highlights from my Kindle:
They were concerned about “consent”—that is, popular rule—not taxes.Read more at location 4817
They hugely valued individual freedom, but they were steeped in principles that saw the preservation of freedom as a common enterprise. They were influenced by the Bible and the Enlightenment, by liberalism and republicanism.Read more at location 4847