The American Revolution: led by elites, sold to the masses

From James Grimmelmann’s “On the Second Life Tax Revolt“:

The Boston Tea Party was the expression of mercantile anger at taxes: the protesters wanted was a revision of British tax policies to favor colonial merchants at the expense of merchants in England. Economically speaking, the entire American Revolution was a scheme to improve the fortunes of colonial elites. But to convince their future countrymen to go along with their tax revolt, they developed one of the most inspiring ideologies of liberty and justice the world has ever seen. ‘No taxation without representation’ is a slogan that transforms ‘mere’ economics into egalitarianism. There are plenty of thinkers who will tell you societies as a whole can often reap enormous benefits by letting one particular group get rich; these benefits are hardly confined to material wealth.