Domestic terrorism being defined as, "[involving] groups or individuals whose terrorist activities are directed at our government or people in US without foreign direction. Terrorism is the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion." In this case coercion to repeal the new health care legislation via acts of violence and threats.
Some of the people who have opposed this health care legislation have used a quote from Thomas Jefferson to justify their actions: "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants." They often follow that quote with a statement like, "She's looking very thirsty lately!" However, this type of 'revolutionary' sort of statement isn't what Thomas Jefferson was saying. Let us break this down by year to demonstrate:
- 1766 Sons of Liberty formed, meeting under a tree when they met...e.g. liberty tree.
- 1773 Boston Tea Party
- 1776 Declaration of Independence from British rule
- 1781 Articles of Confederation - our first constitution
- 1781-1789 governing body in the United States was the Congress of the Confederation made up of delegates appointed by the legislatures of the states
- 1786 (Aug)-1787 (Feb) Shays' Rebellion, made up of armed farmers angry about debt and taxation. They also used the 'Liberty Tree' or a 'Liberty Pole' to symbolize their cause.
- 1787 (Jan) Over 1000 Shaysites arrested.
- 1787 (Feb) Those involved in Shays' Rebellion came up against the local militia of Springfield, Mass. The government militia fired warning shots from cannons. Two of the cannons struck persons of Shays' Rebellion, killing 4 and wounding 20. The remaining Shaysites fled.
- 1787 (Sept) Constitution of the United States of America adopted
- 1787 (Nov) Letter from Thomas Jefferson to William S. Smith contains the quote concerning Shays' Rebellion
- 1789 Bill of Rights introduced and in effect by Dec 1791
- 1789-1797 George Washington Presidency
- 1797-1801 John Adams Presidency
- 1801-1809 Thomas Jefferson Presidency
Thomas Jefferson was referring to the Shaysites that happened to be killed as the "tree of liberty" being "refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." Here is the full quote:
"God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. ... And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure."
Here is another explanation that I found recently from a blog called "The Rude Pundit":