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Lower Murray Philatelic Society

July sees the United States of America celebrate its independence from Britain of the 4th and France celebrates the overthrow of the monarchy and the establishment of the republic on the 14th with Bastille day.


Just a small sample of stamps and covers on these 2 events. Below are 4 US Miniature sheets dealing with significant events.

In Boston Harbor, a group of Massachusetts colonists disguised as Mohawk Indians board three British tea ships and dump 342 chests of tea into the harbor.


The midnight raid, popularly known as the “Boston Tea Party,” was in protest of the British Parliament’s Tea Act of 1773, a bill designed to save the faltering East India Company by greatly lowering its tea tax and granting it a virtual monopoly on the American tea trade. The low tax allowed the East India Company to undercut even tea smuggled into America by Dutch traders, and many colonists viewed the act as another example of taxation tyranny.


When three tea ships, the Dartmouth, the Eleanor, and the Beaver, arrived in Boston Harbor, the colonists demanded that the tea be returned to England. After Massachusetts Governor Thomas Hutchinson refused, Patriot leader Samuel Adams organized the “tea party” with about 60 members of the Sons of Liberty, his underground resistance group. The British tea dumped in Boston Harbor on the night of December 16 was valued at some $18,000.


Parliament, outraged by the blatant destruction of British property, enacted the Coercive Acts, also known as the Intolerable Acts, in 1774. The Coercive Acts closed Boston to merchant shipping, established formal British military rule in Massachusetts, made British officials immune to criminal prosecution in America, and required colonists to quarter British troops. The colonists subsequently called the first Continental Congress to consider a united American resistance to the British.

When Franklin went to France in the early part of the Revolution as the official diplomat and ambassador of the thirteen colonies, he came as a man of maturity, brilliance, ability, and as a world statesman. Upon his arrival in Paris, there was no other statesman or philosopher who could equal him in his ability and accomplishments. His presence in Paris annoyed the British minister and staff. Franklin enjoyed the situation. The years he remained in Paris were unusually fruitful ones for America and helping to work out the future destiny of the United States of America. In the early 1950's the United States published ten volumes of the United States Foreign Affairs during the Revolution, and the major part of the ten volumes covers the work of Franklin.


The colonies indeed needed help of every description--men, money, equipment, ships, and all things to fight a successful war. The long years of enmity between France and Britain opened the way for the leadership of Franklin. And he was not only the man to exploit it, but also the reason for the acceptance of thirteen states as a recognized nation in the world of nations.

In 1780, Rochambeau was appointed commander of land forces as part of the project code named Expédition Particulière. He was given the rank of Lieutenant General in command of some 7,000 French troops and sent to join the Continental Army under George Washington during the American Revolutionary War. Axel von Fersen the Younger served as his aide-de-camp and interpreter. The small size of the force at his disposal made him initially reluctant to lead the expedition.


He landed at Newport, Rhode Island on 10 July but was held there inactive for a year due to his reluctance to abandon the French fleet blockaded by the British in Narragansett Bay. The College in the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations (now known as Brown University) served as an encampment site for some of Rochambeau's troops, and the College Edifice was converted into a military hospital, now known as University Hall. In July 1781, the force left Rhode Island and marched across Connecticut to join Washington on the Hudson River in Mount Kisco, New York. The Odell farm served as Rochambeau's headquarters from 6 July to 18 August 1781.


Washington and Rochambeau then marched their combined forces to the siege of Yorktown and the Battle of the Chesapeake. On 22 September, they combined with the Marquis de Lafayette's troops and forced Lord Cornwallis to surrender on 19 October. The Congress of the Confederation presented Rochambeau with two cannons taken from the British in recognition of his service. He returned them to Vendôme, and they were requisitioned in 1792.



Upon his return to France, Rochambeau was honored by King Louis XVI and was made governor of the province of Picardy. He supported the French Revolution of 1789, and on 28 December 1791 he and Nicolas Luckner became the last two generals created Marshal of France by Louis XVI. When the French Revolutionary Wars broke out, he commanded the Armée du Nord for a time in 1792 but resigned after several reversals to the Austrians. He was arrested during the Reign of Terror in 1793–94 and narrowly escaped the guillotine. He was subsequently pensioned by Napoleon and died at Thoré-la-Rochette during the First Empire.

The American Revolution helped set the stage for the events of the French Revolution, having shown France that a rebellion based on Enlightenment principles, including natural rights and equality for all citizens, against an authoritarian regime could succeed.

The National Assembly of France even used the American Declaration of Independence as a template when drafting the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen in 1789. The Americans' victory over the British may have been the "single greatest impact" on the start of the French Revolution


Following the Seven Years' War and the American Revolutionary War, the French government was deeply in debt. It attempted to restore its financial status through unpopular taxation schemes, which were heavily regressive. Leading up to the Revolution, years of bad harvests worsened by deregulation of the grain industry and fifty consecutive days of below-freezing temperatures in the winter of 1788/1789 inflamed popular resentment of the privileges enjoyed by the aristocracy and the Catholic clergy of the established church. Demands for change were formulated in terms of Enlightenment ideals on democracy, and contributed to the convocation of the Estates General in May 1789. During the first year of the Revolution, members of the Third Estate (commoners) took control; the Bastille was attacked in July; the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen was passed in August; and the Women's March on Versailles forced the royal court back to Paris in October. A central event of the first stage, in August 1789, was the abolition of feudalism and the old rules and privileges left over from the Ancien Régime.


The next few years featured political struggles between various liberal assemblies and supporters of the monarchy intent on thwarting major reforms, promoted by the Jacobins, led to the Insurrection of 10 August 1792 and the arrest of Louis XVI and the royal family. The Republic was proclaimed in 22 September after the first French elections and the victory at Valmy. Its goal was to unify France and to introduce the same taxes and democratic elections for more citizens. It opposed prerogatives. In a momentous event that led to international condemnation and an internal struggle in the Convention between the Girondins and Montagnards, Louis XVI was executed in January 1793.

The content of the document emerged largely from the ideals of the Enlightenment. The principal drafts were prepared by Lafayette, working at times with his close friend Thomas Jefferson. In August 1789, Honoré Mirabeau played a central role in conceptualizing and drafting the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen.


The last article of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen was adopted on the 26 of August 1789 by the National Constituent Assembly, during the period of the French Revolution, as the first step toward writing a constitution for France. Inspired by the Enlightenment, the original version of the Declaration was discussed by the representatives on the basis of a 24 article draft proposed by the sixth bureau led by Jérôme Champion de Cicé. The draft was later modified during the debates. A second and lengthier declaration, known as the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen of 1793, was written in 1793 but never formally adopted

  

Article I – Men are born and remain free and equal in rights. Social distinctions can be founded only on the common good.


Article II – The goal of any political association is the conservation of the natural and imprescriptible rights of man. These rights are liberty, property, safety and resistance against oppression.


Article III – The principle of any sovereignty resides essentially in the Nation. No body, no individual may exercise any authority which does not proceed directly from the nation.


Article IV – Liberty consists of doing anything which does not harm others: thus, the exercise of the natural rights of each man has only those borders which assure other members of the society the fruition of these same rights. These borders can be determined only by the law.


Article V – The law has the right to forbid only actions harmful to society. Anything which is not forbidden by the law cannot be impeded, and no one can be constrained to do what it does not order.


Article VI – The law is the expression of the general will. All the citizens have the right of contributing personally or through their representatives to its formation. It must be the same for all, either that it protects, or that it punishes. All the citizens, being equal in its eyes, are equally admissible to all public dignities, places, and employments, according to their capacity and without distinction other than that of their virtues and of their talents.


Article VII – No man can be accused, arrested nor detained but in the cases determined by the law, and according to the forms which it has prescribed. Those who solicit, dispatch, carry out or cause to be carried out arbitrary orders, must be punished; but any citizen called or seized under the terms of the law must obey at once; he renders himself culpable by resistance.


Article VIII – The law should establish only penalties that are strictly and evidently necessary, and no one can be punished but under a law established and promulgated before the offense and legally applied.


Article IX – Any man being presumed innocent until he is declared culpable if it is judged indispensable to arrest him, any rigor which would not be necessary for the securing of his person must be severely reprimanded by the law.


Article X – No one may be disquieted for his opinions, even religious ones, provided that their manifestation does not trouble the public order established by the law.


Article XI – The free communication of thoughts and of opinions is one of the most precious rights of man: any citizen thus may speak, write, print freely, except to respond to the abuse of this liberty, in the cases determined by the law.


Article XII – The guarantee of the rights of man and of the citizen necessitates a public force: this force is thus instituted for the advantage of all and not for the particular utility of those in whom it is trusted.


Article XIII – For the maintenance of the public force and for the expenditures of administration, a common contribution is indispensable; it must be equally distributed to all the citizens, according to their ability to pay.


Article XIV – Each citizen has the right to ascertain, by himself or through his representatives, the need for a public tax, to consent to it freely, to know the uses to which it is put, and of determining the proportion, basis, collection, and duration.


Article XV – The society has the right of requesting an account from any public agent of its administration.


Article XVI – Any society in which the guarantee of rights is not assured, nor the separation of powers determined, has no Constitution.


Article XVII – Property being an inviolable and sacred right, no one can be deprived of private usage, if it is not when the public necessity, legally noted, evidently requires it, and under the condition of a just and prior indemnity.