King George III a Conservative and George Washington a Liberal
By Susan Steffen-Kraft
Many of you no doubt think that George Washington was a Conservative. You would be wrong as King George III was the Conservative. Those who opposed the king would have been labeled Liberal and patriotic. Those who supported him would have been considered conservative. In fact, one daresay that in Europe the definition of a Conservative would have referred to, in the extreme sense, those who wished to return to a monarchy which certainly many in America did not.
In fact the word Conservative was meant to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditional ones, and to limit change. Certainly, King George III would have approved of that definition. In Europe, a conservative would probably in the extreme want to stick to a monarchy which at the time of the Revolutionary War. Some in America truly wanted to stick to the monarchy as they considered themselves his loyal subjects. They were in the true sense at the moment, conservatives.
In the end the terms political terms for liberal, progressive, socialistic, populist, conservative, libertarian, and even centrist are all so skewed that their meanings depend on those who use them as well as their motives. Certainly humans take a meaning and add to it how they want and how they think. History has proved that. G.K. Chesterton’s observation, “The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected.” There is truth aplenty to Mr. Chesterton's statement in our day and age. Does not say too much about how we define the meanings of our words.
After the Constitution was ratified things changed because a brand new set of beliefs were established. Anyone who embraced the Declaration of Independence was now a Conservative. I bet that King George III was puzzled by that one. Saying you are a Conservative and not stating a belief or the why that you are tells no one anything however.
In the 1770's being rebellious for a cause was considered being a patriot but now it is considered radical. However, be careful of being rebellious because violent protests that destroy others property and injury people is beyond the pale of what our forefathers would have tolerated and does not make you a Liberal. What some do now is mindless and stupid. What was done in the 1770's was thought out and carried out for good reasons; freedom from tyranny of a Conservative and rigid king who took and did not give.
The Boston Tea Party really did not have a lot of violence and was well thought out. It happened because of taxation without representation. George Washington was all for the Revolution but not really for the destruction of private property. That being said the quote below describes how the Boston Tea Party was handled.
"Besides the destruction of the tea, historical accounts record no damage was done to any of the three ships, the crew or any other items on board the ships except a one broken padlock. The padlock was the personal property of one of the ships' captains and was promptly replaced the next day by the Patriots. Great care was taken by the Sons of Liberty to avoid the destruction of personal property-save for the cargo of British East India Company tea. Nothing was stolen or looted from the ships, not even the tea. One participant tried to steal some tea but was reprimanded and stopped. The Sons of Liberty were very careful about how the action was carried out and made sure nothing besides the tea was damaged. After the destruction of the tea, the participants swept the decks of the ships clean, and anything that was moved was put back in its proper place. The crews of the ships attested to the fact there had been no damage to any of the ships except for the destruction of their cargoes of tea.
My oh my, today's protesters could learn a whole lot. But they are not true liberals in the sense Washington was nor are they like The Sons of Liberty.