The Blood of Tyrants 3-29-11

Posted: March 29, 2011 in Uncategorized

In the Divine Rights monarchies of Europe, people believed that God granted kings and queens the right to rule. But then, in the 1700s, a group of intellectuals suggested that governments were “instituted among men” by men and that it was the People who granted monarchs the right to rule. This was a radical departure from the established wisdom of the time.

Even more radical was the idea that the people could change or overthrow a government that ruled against the wishes of the people. Many revolutions have been inspired by that thinking, but two prominent revolutions occurred in the 18th century: one in France and the other in the 13 British Colonies.

Thomas Jefferson, one of our Founding Fathers and one of the leaders of the American revolution against England, seemed to defend the possibility of violence in changing governmental power when he wrote,

The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.

This quote made comeback recently when it appeared on a sign being held outside a Town Hall Meeting that US President Barack Obama was conducting. While the words were a cause for concern, the semi-automatic handgun strapped to the sign holder’s leg were of greater concern. Was this a call for violence? Was the man suggesting that Obama was a “tyrant” whose blood should “water the tree of liberty?” When asked this, the man said,

I wanted people to remember the rights that we have and how quickly we’re losing them in this country … It doesn’t take a genius to see we’re traveling down a road at breakneck speed that’s towards tyranny.

Having rights and freedoms are at the very heart of what America was founded upon. Consider and answer these questions:

What rights do you have that you think are most important?
Under what conditions do you think violence against a government is justified?
Is there any circumstance that the assassination of the US president could be morally or constitutionally justified?

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Comments
  1. Darin H says:

    Freedom of speech so we can tell people what is right and wrong. If the violence is in a protest then it is alright. If it is personal problems then it isn’t. The assassination of the President could be constitutionally justified if it is in a revolution.

  2. Cyler A says:

    I think freedom of speech is our most important but people use it as a crutch to say and do things that most people would frown upon. Violence against a governemnt is justified is when the people and the military says ‘ur outa here’ and they kick him out. When the president is not doing a good job or hes just not doing his job.

  3. taylorL says:

    holding a concealed weapon.
    when the gov. starts going corrupt.
    If he intentionally tries bringing down America or taking our rights away.

  4. Feige says:

    I think that freedom of speech is probably one of the most important right that we have. When the government starts going corrupt. If he tries taking our rights away.

  5. kenneth c says:

    the most important right we have is freedom of speech. i don’t really think violence should be used against anyone of anything for a cause. the circumstances for a president to be assassinated they would have to be corrupted like where they try to take away our rights, start a war or some other evil sinister thing.

  6. Maddie S. says:

    I think the right, freedom of speech is one of the most important right we as americans have, it gives us the right to speak freely and openly about our opinions. I think some violence against government is justified this man was not harming anyone just making a statement, I believe he has the right to speak about his feelings, now if he were to start shooting people and the government that wouldn’t be right. Assassinations against a present would be very hard to justify but if it was done in a way to protect the country then yes.

  7. Makaygan P says:

    I believe that the most important rights are to have free speech and freedom to do what you want. People need to be able to be themselves but still follow the constitution. The one time violence against a government is justified is if it is a dictator that rules the people, and the people don’t want him in power anymore and he refuses to step down or change. There are very few limited times that an assassination would be justified.

  8. Miranda Schwanke says:

    Rights for free speech, without it we wouldn’t have music,books, or really anything.
    The only time that i would consider it ok to use violence against government is when the ruler is a terrible person.
    No i don’t think there is justification in assassination of a president, so far we may not have had the best of presidents but at least they were good rulers.

  9. Megan R says:

    I have the right of freedom of speech, being able to say anything I wish to. I think that violence against a government is justified only when the government plans to do something that is really dumb. If a lot of people get upset over something, then I guess it would be ok for them to say and do something about it. I think that the assassination of anyone is probably a bit too far, it would be wrong either way.

  10. Lauren Y says:

    We have the freedom of religion and the right to a fair trial. These are important because people should be free to worship in whatever religion they want and we need to have a fair trial with and impartial jury and evidence that is completely true. I think if the government takes away some of our rights as a people then we should be able to fight against the government for those rights. Morally probably not because most people would feel guilty about murder but constitutionally if the president is working with another country to help them kill people in this country then probably alright to murder the president.

  11. Allison I. says:

    I think freedom of speech and religion are the most important rights we have. I think as long as no one gets hurt violence against a government is justified. I don’t think that there is any circumstance that the assassination of the US President could be morally or constitutionally justified.

  12. Tori D says:

    Freedom of speech is very important.
    I don’t believe violence is ever the answer.
    No, that never be the right thing to do.

  13. Chelsea Murphy says:

    Freedom of speech
    It really shouldn’t be they are our rulers and we have to respect that and not take it to extreme levels.
    Some people may think so but that certainly isn’t right. The president is the person that our country voted to rule over us and we need to respect that.

  14. Catrina W says:

    As an American teenager I have the right to an education. Compared to an adult in America, I don’t have many rights. I don’t believe violence is ever right, and I don’t believe assassination is ever acceptable. Murder is wrong period, even in self defense.

  15. Kylie R. says:

    I think one of the acts of freedom we have that are very important is freedom of speech. It is important because people should have the right to say what they think and if it doesn’t hurt anyone thats okay. I think the assassination of the president could be justifies, but only if it is a revolution.

  16. Amanda W says:

    I think that one of the most important rights that we have is freedom of speech. It is a good thing to be able to voice your opinion and your thoughts. I think that violence against a government is not really an okay thing. There is better ways to handle it outside of violence. I don’t think that assassination is ever morally or constitutionally justified. Killing someone is not the answer and is never okay.

  17. Emily R. says:

    Freedom of speech i think is one of the most important, cause it allows us to say what we want and what we think if something is wrong or right. I dont think that the violence is right, even if it just protesting violence isnt right they should just have freedom of speech to say there opinion thats it.

  18. Riley L. says:

    What rights do you have that you think are most important?
    I think that freedom of speech and freedom of the press are very important rights.
    Under what conditions do you think violence against a government is justified?
    when the government no longer shares the views of the people, it is time for a change/revolution
    Is there any circumstance that the assassination of the US president could be morally or constitutionally justified?
    Yes, If a president per say, by some chance, didn’t do much of anything while they were in office and tried their hardest to put the country in debt and really just try to destroy it, then I believe it would be justified.
    For example, If a president was pushing laws threw that they knew were bad and not going to help the people, he should “water the tree of liberty”.

  19. Jordan F. says:

    I have the right to marry anyone who i choose to. I also have the right to vote when i am 18. Yes i think violence against a government is justified. Yes i think the US president could be morally or even constitutionally justified.

  20. Alex T says:

    I think the right to freedom of speech and the right to bear arms are the top ones for me, i think right to bear arms because it is a right that we have had forever, if it were to go away the crime rates would go up, reasoning for that would be a bunch of angry gun owners. I don’t think that you should ever be able to take an act of violence towards the nations leaders. I don’t think assassination is out of the question for any president but it could be growing quickly with all that goes on day to day with the Obama.

  21. Heth says:

    The man wasn’t in a call of violence but in a call for attention and it seemed to work since we are looking at his picture rite now. He wanted to get a message out and he did with his “rights” so I don’t think he is losing any rights of he would have been shot by the secret service rite there.
    Some most important rights we have is freedom of speech, religion etc.
    If the people in the country are rebelling government it would be justified if they win, if they lose the rebel they would be in a lot of trouble.

  22. Eli Plunkett says:

    The tree of liberty, being watered by the blood of tyrants, is nothing more than a neanderthal act. The brutality, is just another poor excuse for people to be inhumane and murder unjustified acts. Its Bull-crap that someone can think that for us to remain strong in government and as a country we need to kill. Where do you see anywhere that murder = freedom? America: kills people for killing people. Because killing people is wrong.
    America is nothing but hypocritical, we need not slay tyrants to remain a strong government and have liberties, and freedoms. This man is just like the PHELPS AND WBC, speaking out with his given rights of speech, but doing nothing successful and stirring up people for popularity, he has no right to think that by showing his want for murder, will anything in this government change.

  23. Zach A says:

    I believe that freedom of speech is one of the most important. Without it, we can’t speak our mind. I believe it is just to revolt when words alone do not work to overthrow a government. Also, I think is it necessary for a majority of the people to want this revolt.

  24. Mandy T says:

    In my opinion the most important right that people should have is to have the freedom of speech and to to do what you want. I only believe that under the condition of the government taking over and abusing peoples rights justified for violence. I do not beleive the anybody should be assassinated because everybody should be forgiven no matter how bad th person was.

  25. Emily B says:

    I think that some of the most important things for the people are freedom of speech and the right to vote. Without freedom of speech we wouldn’t be able to speak out for ourselves. I think that an assassination of the president would not be the right thing to do. Even though the president might be doing the wrong thing, it is still a bad thing to do.

  26. David S. says:

    I think that the most important rights I have are the rights to life and autonomy, because these are prerequisites to enjoying any other rights

    I think that violence against a government may be justified when there are serious violations of those rights.

    The assassination of the President would never be constitutionally justified, but it could be morally justified under the same conditions as the second answer.

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