Taxation Without Representation
lyrics by Mr. Matsuya’s class
may be sung to the tune of the “Ground Theme” composed by Koji Kondo
(a.k.a. the Super Mario Brothers video game theme)
After the French and Indian War in the year 1764
Parliament levied heavy new taxes on sugar and molasses
The colonists were so angry that we decided to hang King George in effigy
When the tax was repealed the next year the people cheered
Congress votes on our taxes today, we pay whatever they ask us
But when we were taxed by a land far away we grabbed our torches and axes!
Parliament levied new taxes again, it’s a fact, when they passed the Stamp Act
Everything made out of paper must pay and we wished it would go away
Tax collectors employed by the crown found much of their property burned to the ground
We sent Ben Franklin to London to say we would not pay
When Congress votes to tax you and me, we freely pay them whatever
But when we were taxed from over the sea, we grabbed our tar and our feathers!
Finally in 1773 Parliament tried to mess with our tea
Boston got awfully ugly that year and some loyalists fled in fear
The Sons Of Liberty dressed up one day and dumped all the tea right into the bay
When King George tried to settle the score, it led to war
We know with government, nothing comes free and we have to pay for our nation
But we responded militantly when taxed without representation!
This song came out of one of my school songwriting residencies. Mr. Matsu and his fifth grade students at Haskell STEAM Magnet in Granada Hills, CA wanted to explore the events leading up to the War of American Independence. After a lot of research and argument, they determined that it came down to taxation, specifically to the popular sense that our taxes were being set and collected by a government we no longer recognized as our own.
The main academic standard addressed here is CA HSS 5.5.1: understand how political, religious, and economic ideas and interests brought about the Revolution (resistance to imperial policy, the Stamp Act, the Townshend Acts, taxes on tea, Coercive Acts). Note I am using California standards here (the Common Core does not really get into history except as a subset of language arts) but most U.S. States cover early American History in 5th grade, so I hope you will find this one useful as well as fun.