Let monopolies and all kinds and degrees of oppression be carefully guarded against.
—Samuel Webster, 1777
ALTHOUGH THE FIRST SHOTS WERE FIRED IN 1775 AND THE DECLARATION was signed in 1776, the war against a transnational corporation and the nation that used it to extract wealth from its colonies had just begun. These colonists, facing the biggest empire and military force in the world, fought for five more years—the war didn’t end until General Charles Cornwallis surrendered in October 1781. Even then some resistance remained; the last loyalists and the British left New York starting in April 1782, and the treaty that formally ended the war was signed in Paris in September 1783.
The first ...