Steamboat Springs On Dec. 16, 1773, a meeting was organized by the Sons of Liberty and chaired by Samuel Adams at Boston's Old South Meeting House. The meeting was one of a series that had been organized to address the considerable objections of the colonists to the Tea Act. After Adams announced that, "This meeting can do nothing further to save the country," a band of between 30 and 130 men, some thinly disguised as American Indians, left the meeting bound for Boston Harbor. The men then boarded the Dartmouth, the Eleanor and the Beaver, and they dumped 342 chests of tea into the water to protest the tax and the manner in which it had been imposed.
This was the Boston Tea Party. Its participants are our philosophical forebearers - common people standing up against the intrusion of government and the unfair imposition of taxes.
About 236 years later on April 15, 2009, Denver's 9News reported, "A large protest was held outside the Routt County Courthouse in Steamboat Springs." This was, of course, the locally organized Tea Party, held on the same date as hundreds of others across the country, and inspired by the spirit of 1773. As one of the organizers of this Tea Party, I spoke with dozens of enthusiastic participants, all of whom were asking, "What do we do next?"
The crowd's enthusiasm and the desire to take a stand has resulted in the formation of the 1773 Club - commemorating the efforts of the brave people of Boston who stood up against government oppression in that year.
I am pleased to note that, despite mud season, about 50 people assembled Tuesday at the inaugural meeting of Steamboat's 1773 Club. In addition, and largely through connections with the Leadership Program of the Rockies, other 1773 Clubs are springing up across the state.
I have been asked to make the purpose of the 1773 Club clear. Here is my view of our mission:
The 1773 Club is a nonpartisan organization existing to promote the principles of the Constitution of the United States: liberty, limited government, lower taxes, fiscal responsibility, free-market capitalism, a strong national defense and individual rights and responsibilities.
We are firm believers in the notion that the United States is great because of its people and their freedom - not because of its government. We would hold with Gen. George Washington in his observation that, "Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master." And with Thomas Jefferson, who observed, "A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have."
We will make our voices heard. We will fight for your freedom, even if you are not inclined to do so yourself. You see, we also learned this from Jefferson: "When the people fear the government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty."
As Dr. Benjamin Franklin observed, the Constitution gives us "A republic, if you can keep it." That is precisely what we intend to do, and like Winston Churchill, "We will never surrender."
We invite like-minded patriots to join us in protecting our rights and our country - our Shining City on a Hill.
Rick Akin is an attorney practicing in Steamboat Springs and Austin, Texas; a former member of the Steamboat Pilot & Today Editorial Board; and a director of The Steamboat Institute. His great-grandparents moved to Steamboat in 1926. He holds a BA from the University of Oklahoma and a doctorate from the University of Texas.