The settlers thought the Indians bizarre
for holding land in common. From afar
they brought this lesson: life and liberty
derive from ownership of property.
Rebelliousness defined the colonists.
They felt that any legislator who insists,
as England did, on laws and taxes from afar,
should be rejected. Settlers thought bizarre
the Indian approach to sharing land,
endeavoring to make them understand
the modern system -- individual
free market rights, instead of ritual
appeals to sacred ground, since liberty
derived from ownership of property.
The rich got richer, true, but less a class
society existed, and the mass
of new Americans was gaining ground.
Our fortunes, said de Tocqueville, would abound.
Some groups (the Regulators were a prime
example) demonstrated for a time
against the local governments, but still
this best revealed their independent will.