John Hancock is perhaps best known for his bold flourish of a signature on our Declaration of Independence. But not all of his bravery was applied toward objectively noble ends. In addition to his general refusal to pay taxes, Hancock smuggled cheap sugar and 1.5 million gallons of molasses per year from the French West Indies to his home in the North American colonies – costing the British empire more than 36,000 pounds annually.
The goods were legal, so Hancock is often fondly remembered for his fearlessness in providing these commodities at a time when a brutal monarch’s taxes rendered them so expensive. Today, cash-strapped Michigan provides job security for a new generation of smugglers by taxing the butt off cigarettes and tobacco products. But we’re not learning from history, here. What were the implications of Hancock’s audacity? His actions strengthened the nation which later took premeditated action against a country they didn’t like. What are the implications for today’s John Hancock? Who among the smugglers roaming the streets today is the strengthening another system - who will play cat-and-mouse here in order to strengthen a nation preparing to move against us? Continue reading