The Phaserl


The Seeds of Revolution, Reborn

RIP Fourth Amendment

by Adam English, Outsider Club:

In February 1761, on the second floor of the Old State House in Boston, a former attorney for the British Colonial government that recently resigned in disgust rose to challenge the authorities.

James Otis, Jr. represented 63 merchants who had been subjected to the whims of British customs agents who were effectively “above the law.” At issue were the writs of assistance that were used to search any property at any time, and seize anything they decided was contraband.

To promote molasses sales from the British West Indies, Parliament placed a prohibitively high tax on any molasses from non-British colonies. But by catering to one colony, Parliament threatened to ruin another. Colonial America had developed vibrant trade between Dutch, French, and Spanish colonies, exchanging lumber, food, and other products for molasses to make rum.

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