March 12, 2015
The Right to Local Government: The Spirit of 1773
An article published by In These Times revisits the foundations of U.S. Independence, and questions how it applies to local initiatives like that in Mora County, NM to proactively ban oil and gas from the area.
After much debate by the people of the town, Col. John Ashley, moderator of the Sheffield, Massachusetts, Town Meeting, decided it was time to call for a vote. He then watched as every person in the hall raised their hand. The Sheffield Declaration—declaring control by England over the people of Sheffield null and void—was adopted unanimously.
To the south, Richard Barry watched a similar scene unfold in Charlotte, North Carolina, as his neighbors proceeded to adopt the Charlotte Town Resolves (also known as the Mecklenburg Resolves for the county in which Charlotte sits) by unanimous vote. The Resolves declared that “all laws derived from the authority of the King or Parliament are annulled and vacated.”
And so it went, as people in towns, villages and counties—more than 90 in all—collectively realized that the system of government under which they lived (which protected the rights of a few) had to be replaced by a system of government that served a much different purpose.