Long before the “Shot Heard Round the World” at Lexington and Concord in April of 1775, the new world rose from about 2,000 inhabitants in 1620, to 250,000 by 1770 and 2.4 million by 1775. Most came from the many countries of Europe but some came from as far away as Russia. It has been said that the first American baby was born in Roanoke, VA way back in 1578, 42 years before the landing at Plymouth Rock. That first baby was allegedly named Virginia Dare.
They came for religious reasons (the Puritans), or they came for free land, or they came for commerce and trade. It was a hard life and they paid a huge price. Over half of the people that landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620 died in the first year due to the harsh winter.
But these were British colonies ruled by the British Crown. In conflict with the British, France lay claim to much of the Ohio River Valley and most of South Eastern Canada. The British took exception to France’s claim. This led to the French Indian War (or Seven Years War) that covered most of New England, Pennsylvania, New York and parts of South Eastern Canada. The British cost of that war was huge and so the British decided that the Colonials should pay for it. This led to the Stamp Act of 1765. The Stamp Act required that many printed materials in the colonies had to be produced on stamped paper manufactured in London, a huge inconvenience and a significant cost.
The taxes and laws that Britain imposed on the colonies were voluminous. From 1651 to 1774, Britain passed huge numbers of acts and taxes on the Colonials. This included the Stamp Act of 1765 and the Tea Act of 1773, which led to the Boston Tea Party, a protest by Samuel Adams and the Sons of Liberty where 342 chests of Tea were dumped into the sea in direct defiance of British rule.
In 1765 the British passed the Quartering Act. This law required that the colonists needed to find or pay for lodging of British soldiers, or put the soldiers up in their homes.
For many decades the heavy hand of the British hammer came down on the colonials and they finally had enough. The Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776 and the Revolutionary War began against the tyranny of the English Crown. The rest is history.
What has happened to the 13 colonies since the Revolutionary War is a testament to what can happen when people are stacked upon each other in high dense urban cities ….. socialism and corruption.
Thomas Jefferson even said around 1800, “When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe.”
At the start of this great country, around 1776, there might have been 3 million inhabitants of the Continental United States, mostly concentrated along the East Coast in the original thirteen colonies, not including the native population. Now at 327,000,000, we are more than 100 times that 3,000,000. The highest density of population per square mile in big cities occurs on the East Coast in most of the original 13 colonies. The District of Columbia’s (Washington DC) density per square mile is 9.5 times higher than the most populated state, New Jersey. Perhaps this fact alone explains why America has become a powerful centralized government, instead of a nation of states and why the Democrats want to repeal the Electoral College.
The space between inhabitants in the late 1700’s was fairly significant. News was printed and sometimes took days, weeks, or even months to reach the far outreaches of the Republic. The country was mostly agrarian, as the industrial revolution and the corresponding rush to big cities had not yet begun. After the revolution secured America’s freedom, Americans took up the task of living as free individuals with the freedom of space to insulate them from the vagaries of abnormal human behavior. Americans were spread out, productive, creative, industrious, generous and mostly civil, the Hatfield and McCoys not withstanding. There was no government assistance available and yet they survived.
But agrarian living was sometimes sparse and did not provide predictable income. Weather, pestilence and erratic markets added to that unpredictability. Soon, new sources of power, like the steam engine, brought us the industrial revolution. As industries started sprouting up around big cities that provided the labor to keep those industries thriving and alive, people started moving off of the farms and headed for the big cities, where jobs were available and eking out a living was not quite as problematic. But for all actions, there are usually unintended consequences and such it was as city populations grew.
Sometimes the jobs would dry up as the industrial revolution evolved and technology, markets and fortunes ebbed and flowed. Sometimes large segments of the city populations would be out of work when a large manufacturer closed down. The Great Depression came along in the late 1920’s and large percentages of city populations could not find a job. City folk had no way to produce the food, clothing and shelter they needed to survive. In contrast, their country cousins could grow what they needed, had a roof over their heads and could live off of the land, no matter how primitive it might be. If they had a little extra, they would help out their neighbors, who by circumstances may have been a little less well off. Civility and mutual respect were the rural landowner’s creed and still is for the most part today.
Not so in big cities. The fact is, a hungry belly has nothing to lose by petitioning (or protesting) their government for a handout and civility is the last thing on their minds. If people are hungry enough, they have nothing to lose by resorting to violence. They either turn to crime or the government. The government was all-too-willing to provide that assistance in return for votes and thus socialism was born and socialism is where we are today, no matter what you hear to the contrary. Way too many people live in big cities and are incapable of helping themselves when times get tough. Hurricane Katrina at New Orleans showed us that in spades. Government thrives and grows on big-city dependency.
The behavior of individuals living tightly in big cities produces its own share of problems. High crime rates and noise, air, water and human waste pollution are just a few of the consequences. Big cities require large police forces to enforce laws and civility. Big cities dump their concentrated pollution on the environment but then demand that everyone else comply with environmental regulations. Even so, many big cities are out of control, like Chicago and Baltimore. The police are unable to contain the rising guns, drugs, gangs and violence.
The other consequence of high-dense urban living is the steady lowering of the bar of civility, respect and trust. Human behavior changes under the conditions of living closer together. It does so because of a basic human fact. No matter what the government, socialists, psychologists, or the environmentalists will tell you, people like and need “their” space and the space does not come in a 1,000 sq. ft. apartment in a 25-story building, surrounded by concrete on all sides, in a big city.
Suburbs became a partial answer to the human need for space. But then the suburbs began to increase in density as governments got into the act of “planning” where we live and work. Environmentalists came along and lobbied the government planners to stop suburban expansion because it took up too much land that animals needed to survive.
History has shown us that people don’t behave well when crammed together in big cities. Big cities are bastions of socialism, dependency and government control. Big cities, with their majorities, control the legislative process and give us legislators that support socialism, more laws and environmental extremism. The people who inhabit big cities are more apt to believe whatever the government tells them and act like mindless lemmings. The current propaganda and mass hysteria of man-caused global warming is a prime example. Yes, big cities are large markets of consumers and bring us commerce that helps to fund the country. But we wonder if the price is worth it.
There is now a determined social justice and environmental protection agenda by American policy makers to cram more people into large cities. Liberal, over-educated, government-paid planners spend all of their time drafting plans, acts, laws, rules, restrictions, regulations and ordinances to direct the movement of populations ever tighter into big cities. Draconian environmental protection laws are purposely designed to drive more people out of the rural areas and force them into big cities. The rural areas are to be protected from humans at all costs, without regard to constitutional protections or the rights of rural landowners.
This purposeful design was first created in a 1992 United Nations policy paper entitled, Agenda 21. It was then codified into American law by presidential executive orders, without a treaty being ratified. This socialist policy now permeates every level of government and is taught in our K-12 public schools and our very liberal colleges. Government sanctifies this policy with soft sounding names like “Social Equity”, “Smart Growth”, “Sustainable Development”, “Endangered Species”, “Conservation”, “Biospheres”, “Wildlife Corridors” and “Wilderness Protection”. One of the motives for all of this propaganda is to drive more people into big cities, where government can more easily control large urban populations.
Big government loves big cities, as they feed off of the occupants’ dependency and big-city voters continue to re-elect the handout providers. But big government doesn’t give one whit about civility. If the population gets more uncivil, government just adds police to bring the people into compliance and increases taxes to pay for it all. In the case of the black ghettos on the south side of Chicago, the authorities mostly just let the inhabitants kill each other.
Big cities encourage the growth of corruption. As a result, government gets bigger, more corrupt and more powerful every day. The institutionalized corruption of big cities produce people like Bill and Hillary Clinton, Huma Abedin, Cheryl Mills, Anthony Weiner, John Edwards, Eric Holder, Janet Napolitano and a whole host of Congressmen and Senators. In the end civility, respect, trust, honor, integrity, honesty and freedom lose and corruption and avarice takes their place.
Unfortunately, this socialist mindset that exists in big cities controls the voting and electoral processes. The “Blue” states are “Blue” because of that “Blue” big city socialist mindset. Most of the big cities are concentrated east of the Mississippi River and that is why the presidential candidates concentrate their campaigning in the so-called battle ground states. The Western States might just as well not exist, except maybe socialist California with its 55 Electoral Votes. (See “America’s Night Light Pollution“)
The truth is that big cities are hazardous to your health as well as freedom, but the Democrats don’t care. They maintain their perpetual power from the socialist, government-dependent big-city vote. As big cities become ever more dense, the political power of conservatives will be eroded into extinction, if it hasn’t been already.
In 2019 Virginia, one of the 13 Colonies has now been taken over by the Democrats. They control the executive and legislative branches of government. With their newfound power they have decided to shove massive gun control legislation down the throats of Virginians. Rural Virginians are resisting the Democrats, just like the Colonials did to British rule. Sanctuary gun cities and counties are springing up all over Virginia. The Democrats will have none of that and have threatened to call out the National Guard to take guns away from Virginians. The fight is heating up and the full story has yet to be told, but the story could end up in a Virginia civil war.
The 13 colonies gave birth to freedom and they are now killing it because of big cities. What has happened to the 13 colonies is now happening to other states like California, Oregon, Washington and Illinois. Big cities are and will be the death knell of freedom in America.
© 2020 Ron Ewart – All Rights Reserved
~ The Author ~
Ron Ewart, a nationally known author and speaker on freedom and property issues and author of his weekly column, “In Defense of Rural America“, is the President of the The National Association of Rural Landowners (NARLO), a non-profit corporation headquartered in Washington State and dedicated to restoring, maintaining and defending property rights for urban and rural landowners. Mr. Ewart can be reached for comment at email@example.com.
Mr. Ewart has been a continuing contributor to the Kettle Moraine family of publications since May of 2007.