The Volokh Conspiracy

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Today in Supreme Court History: April 18, 1775


4/18/1775: Paul Revere's ride.

NEXT: Adam Cox and Cristina Rodriguez Respond to Critics and Commentators on their Book "The President and Immigration Law"

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  1. The American Revolution. Yet another catastrophic, lawyer dumbass mistake. The British raise taxes from 1% of GDP to 2% of GDP. So now, we have to lose our minds and kill thousands of people. Hey, dumbass. The money went to fund ruinous military campaigns against the Indians, to protect the lands of the rich lawyer dumbass.

    Of course, the American Revolution caused the Civil War, yet another all lawyer dumbass production. Had we stayed a British colony, slavery would have ended in 1833, by law, enforced by a sheriff, as it did across the British Empire. It compensated slave owners, a choice dumbass lawyer Lincoln was offered to avert war. Mr. Please Do Not Sue Your Neighbor chose war. That cost 600000 lives, like 2 million today. It killed race relations for 100 years.

    Bad? Another pedophile, lawyer dumbass and good pals with Adolf Hitler, liberated India from British rule. In that mistake, 10 million were ethnically cleansed, and a million were killed. Trains were stopped, and the civilian passengers were slaughtered, down to the last chicken. Good job lawyer dumbass. The ensuing domination of the Indian government by dirty Commies killed untold millions by poverty and by starvation over decades.

    1. I toured Monticello, a wonder. I asked, how could Jefferson afford all this? The one word reply? "Lawyer."

      1. He couldn't. He lived beyond his means.

    2. I always wondered what became of Paul Revere’s horse and that mystery is now solved. Its rear end is now posting here under the name Daivd Bihar.

    3. The American Revolution *was* a civil war.

      It was a war between social classes in an economy that was transitioning from European trade/conquest to subsistence agriculture, in the midst of a post-war recession.

      And Ilya will love this -- it also involved immigrants taking away the jobs of Americans. That's what caused the Boston Massacre -- off-duty British soldiers were allowed to work and as they had no living expenses (their food & housing provided by the Crown), they were able to work for far less than the Americans were.

      1. it also involved immigrants taking away the jobs of Americans. That’s what caused the Boston Massacre

        WTF? That's utter nonsense.

        1. I'm not saying the British weren't justified in shooting -- John Adams made a fairly convincing case that they were. Crispus Atticks swung a "piece of cordwood" -- a 4 foot long log -- at the head of one of the soldier. (Swing a baseball bat at the head of a cop today and tell me what will happen next...)

          The cordwood was relevant in a different sense -- the British burned an incredible amount of wood in their highly-inefficient open fireplaces and this was cut along the Coast of Maine (then Oak & Maple) and then sailed down to Boston as that was easier than hauling it 20 miles over the rutted dirt roads of the era.

          Much of this was traded for grain, e.g. wheat, which simply did not grow on the foggy Coast of Maine -- it doesn't today, either, but I digress.

          Well the men who worked along the shore (the 'longshoremen) didn't appreciate the British soldiers taking their jobs away from them and that's what led to the trading of verbal insults, and then the snowballs which soon escalated into the throwing of ice and then rocks. Someone pulled the fire alarm, i.e. rang the church bell, and that's when things really got interesting.

          Remember too that this had been escalating for some time, that there had been incidents earlier that day, and much of it initially was on a very personal basis between specific individuals.

          1. Nope, this is still nonsense. Until you have a source for the tensions between the colonists and the redcoats being based on the redcoats taking colonist jobs, this just looks like more Ed made up bullshit.

            1. Ah, we're back for another round of "Sarc's Reflexive Posts: Malice or Incompetence?"

              Nearly every single hit on the first page of results from "Boston Massacre British jobs" discusses the phenomenon. One example here:

              Hostility toward the soldiers escalated. Not only did the colonists object to their presence, but now "the Redcoats" or "lobsterbacks," as the soldiers were commonly known, were taking jobs from Boston's workers. Low wages had led many soldiers to secure part-time jobs in their off-duty hours.

    4. It would have just happened a few years later over something else.

      Large foreign nations can’t be ruled over the long term. People figure out they don’t need the rulers and would be better off without them.

      1. Ummm -- Nova Scotia did not join the Revolution, and there were efforts to encourage it to do so. New Hampshire really didn't want to, it just had Massachusetts on both sides and was largely forced into it. And what's not mentioned about either Vermont or Maine east of Casco Bay (i.e. Portland) is that these were Loyalist strongholds. The *Americans* built the fort at Castine (at the mouth of the Penobscot River).

        Remember too that a full third of the American population actively supported the British cause -- wanted to remain part of the empire. I don't think this was inevitable.

        Now eventually moving to some sort of self-government like Canada and Australia did, quite likely, but the British f*cked things up worse than we did in Vietnam. For example, while the British *Army* was at war with the Americans, the British *Navy* wasn't and hence the British supply ships were being captured by the Americans within sight of the docks in Boston.

        Because the *Navy* wasn't at war with the Americans, they couldn't do anything before the ships were captured, and as this was in the days of sail and done on days when the anchored warships would be downwind, they couldn't do anything afterwards, either. They had to watch this happening -- I've read some of the letters that the frustrated officers wrote to their sponsoring lord in England.

        And then there was Fort Ticonderoga -- yes, Henry Knox was an engineering genius to somehow get those cannons down to Boston, but if the British had been paying a scintilla of attention, the fort would never have been captured in the first place.

        1. Yeah, lots of details. No examples of large-population nations with economic power being ruled by foreign powers for the long term. Something always happens.

          Smaller or less powerful nations mostly end up getting their independence too.

        2. As for NH, my ancestors lived there, and one of them led his militia company to Boston and fought at "Bunker Hill". Killed a lot of Brits until the Americans' ammunition ran out. Later, he and his fellow NH men were at Saratoga to help the Americans force the British surrender. The Brits were unable to replace their losses, but the Americans kept bringing up more and more NH militia. The American victory at Saratoga led to the French decision to support America, and eventually to the end of the British attempt to hold onto their American colonies. Doesn't sound so pro-Brit to me.

          As for Vermont being pro-British, I guess you'd have to ask Ethan Allen about that. My folks didn't get there until well into the 19th century. By then we were abolitionists.

  2. Why doesn’t Josh want anyone to think about Gonzalez v. Carhart, decided by a 5-4 vote on this day in 2007? Why does he post yet another historical tidbit totally unrelated to the Supreme Court?

    1. Also oral argument related in Katzenbach v Morgan.

      1. *held not related. Not sure how that happened.

    2. A rare defeat of the vile, feminist lawyer enemy, and a rare compliance of this out of control Court with Article I Section 1 of the constitution. While 4500 died in the American Revolution, 60000 viable babies were ripped out, to diced and to be sliced before this rare decision.

  3. Okay can you at least go through the effort of outlining how this discrete event resulted in some event related to the Supreme Court? Otherwise you might as well just put any random fact because it could arguably have a causal connection to something related to the Supreme Court.

    1. Simple. If it hadn’t been for Revere alerting the Colonials that the British were moving to seize munitions, the Americans might have lost the Revolution, and then the Constitution, empowering the Supreme Court, wouldn’t have been written.

      Hey, if a few indentured Blacks in 1619 caused systemic racism, why not?

      1. Where does the constitution permit judicial review? I would like to read that.

        1. Try Article III.

          1. Hi, David. Here is Section 2. Where does it say, a law enacted by Congress may be cancelled?

            Section 2
            The Judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority;—to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls;—to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction;—to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party;—to Controversies between two or more States;—between a State and Citizens of another State;—between Citizens of different States,—between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.

            1. "The Judicial Power"

      2. Just another failed gun grab by the government.

      3. Because John Hancock & Samuel Adams -- whom the British wanted to arrest -- were such key players in the Revolution.

    2. Possibly Josh doesn’t want to talk about Gonzalez, in which the Court countenanced a cynical Republican attempt to politicize and demonize a horrible personal tragedy, a pregnant woman’s worst nightmare. He would rather identify himself with fellow freedom fighter Revere, who risked hanging, whereas all Josh risks is not getting invited to more elite webinars and perhaps a case of carpal tunnel syndrome.

      1. I think he’s just lazy.

        1. Yes, that’s a simpler explanation.

        2. Lazy? It looks like Josh works at full speed 80 hours a week.

          1. For some definitions of "work."

  4. Prof. Barnett's name is on this shambling work, too. Does he figure his tenured position at a strong mainstream school enables him to disregard shabby work published in his name? Or perhaps that flouting "elite" facts and standards could provide some conservative street cred to offset his affiliation with a liberal-libertarian mainstream institution?

    1. Hi, Artie. If you are implying, anyone should be cancelled, you need to be cancelled.

      1. He really has become tedious and utterly predictable the past few years.

        1. He never says anything lawyerly. Until he confirmed being one, I never thought he was.

  5. "'Tis all very well for the children to hear
    Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere;
    But why should my name be quite forgot,
    Who rode as boldly and well, God wot?
    Why should I ask? The reason is clear—
    My name was Dawes and his Revere."

    Revere got caught -- William Dawes didn't.

    And as an example of how much Boston is filled-in land, the British rowed across what is now the railyard north of North Station (the double-decked portion of I-93) and came ashore at Leachmere Point, which is near the MBTA's Leachmere Station on the Green Line.

  6. No doubt Josh posted this as a valuable reminder, since

    "Hardly a man is now alive
    Who remembers that famous day and year."

    1. When our teacher was reading this, my friend Kevin Meehan said, "Hardly?!"
      We were in fifth grade. This would have been 1967. He was a smart guy but somehow got put into the "B" track in junior high and I never saw him again, except maybe once or twice passing in the hall. Probably ended up putting up sheet rock.

      1. While Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote that in 1860, some 85 years later, as he was born in 1807 (only 32 years later), he quite likely had known people with memories of it. For example, Jonathan Harrington, the young fifer for Lexington's militia during the battles of Lexington and Concord, died at the age of 96 in 1854.

        But the larger issue is that Longfellow was an Abolitionist who was trying to unify the North on the cusp of the Civil War -- and while slavery was viewed as reprehensible in Maine (where Longfellow was from) it wasn't exactly unpopular in Boston because of all the mills which depended on the slave-picked cotton which they then spun and wove into the textiles that were a significant portion of the Massachusetts economy at the time.

        Like after Pearl Harbor, attitudes changed quickly after Fort Sumter was fired on, but before that there were real questions about the willingness of the Northern states to fight to preserve the union.

        1. Remember too that Paul Revere was involved in the clusterf*ck that is known as the Penobscot Expedition and was kicked out of the militia for it. Longfellow's grandfather, Peleg Wadsworth, was Revere's commander and not charged because he was considered responsible for somehow managing to get the survivors through the wilderness (overland) from what is now Bangor, Maine.

          For those who are interested, remnants of the American ships were found when the bridges which carry Route 1A and I-395 across the Penobscot River were built.

  7. For a few days now I have pondered what Paul Revere had to do with the Supreme Court.

    I haven't come up with anything.

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