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This Week in History

April 14-20, 1775 and 1689:
The American Revolution Begins:
The "Shot Heard 'Round the World" and the Andros Rebellion

April 2013

Increase Mather.

It was April 19, 1775, when the American revolutionaries fired the "shot heard 'round the world" at Lexington and Concord in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, thus starting off the process of military rebellion against the British Empire. But, as historian Graham Lowry and the LaRouche movement generally have emphasized, it is totally wrong to consider this the start of the American move for independence. That began at least 86 years earlier, on another April 19, in 1689, with the so-called Andros Rebellion.

As the name "Commonwealth of Massachusetts" implies, the founders of New England set out from the start to create a republic on these shores. They had succeeded in getting a charter of liberties which they guarded jealously, and intended to use as the basis for spreading the settlements on this shore into a continental republic.

However, there was no way to isolate developments in the Western Hemisphere from what was occurring in England. With the restoration of the monarchy after the English Civil War, steps were taken which threatened the way of life established by the Puritan founding fathers. Specifically, the monarchy appointed a governor of New York, named Major Edmund Andros, in 1675, who proceeded to violate the Massachusetts Charter by seizing lands in Connecticut.

Sir Edmund Andros.

The Massachusetts Bay Colony, still led at that time by John Winthrop, Jr., immediately challenged Andros, militarily and politically. But within a year, the conflict took on a different character, as the Crown utilized its pawns within the Indian population, to instigate what was called King Philip's War, which was a bloody conflict with the Indians which lasted for a number of years.

In 1686, however, the British Crown decided to redeploy Governor Andros to become governor of New England. At that point, a direct conflict erupted between Andros's rule and that of the Puritan fathers, led at this point by Increase and Cotton Mather. Andros had stepped all over the Massachusetts Charter, including by ordering the disenfranchisement of members of the dominant Congregationalist churches, imposing taxes not approved by the institutions of local government, and the like. Indeed, this was the first time, according to Lowry, that the term "no taxation without representation" actually surfaced in America.

Chafing under Andros's rule, the Massachusetts leadership sent the venerable Increase Mather to England, in order to seek the recall of the oppressive governor. While his petition was denied, he remained in England during the fateful intervention by Holland's Prince William. News of William of Orange's invasion arrived in Boston at the beginning of 1689, and led the Commonwealth's republic leadership to consider how it could take advantage of this instability.

How the Nation Was Won: America's Untold Story 1630-1754

Published in 1988 by H. Graham Lowry. Available for purchase in PDF format only.

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Governor Andros was himself unnerved, fearing that the Mathers and Winthrops would use the occasion to restore the New England republic. In a desperate effort to gain control, Andros ordered a special council meeting for April 18—to try Cotton Mather for preaching sedition. Instead, the New England republicans amassed a contingent of the militia and, between April 18 and 19, rapidly occupied Boston, and declared their intention to arrest Governor Andros and other royal officials. Thus was the Andros Rebellion accomplished.

As a result, a Committee of Safety ruled New England, while they waited for Increase Mather to negotiate a charter in London with King William III. While the result was to get significantly less freedom than the previous charter, the precedent of rebellion had been set, and tested. As Lowry put it, the groundwork had been laid for a broader fight to come, on the continent as a whole.


The original article was published in the EIR Online’s Electronic Intelligence Weekly, as part of an ongoing series on history, with a special emphasis on American history. We are reprinting and updating these articles now to assist our readers in understanding of the American System of Economy.