John Wilkes, as distinct from John Wilkes Booth...the way George Washington is distinct from George Washington Carver, or Martin Luther from Martin Luther King. U.S. Representative Morgan Griffith shares the story in this week's E-Newsletter:
"John Wilkes, Rand Paul, and Mike Lee
I noted with interest last week that Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) took to the Senate floor to talk against the Patriot Act provisions that allow the National Security Agency (NSA) to gather data on all Americans.
As you know, I feel this is a violation of the United States Constitutional provisions against unlawful search. I have spoken previously about that in this column, and referenced John Wilkes.
As you may recall, John Wilkes is a character from English history who thought George III was a bad King, and put it in writing. The King did not appreciate that sentiment, and because Wilkes was writing anonymously, the King’s minions ordered a general search of East London. The people found this revolting, and historians would later call the movement the "Wilkesite Rebellion."
In his more than 10 hour discussion, Senator Paul also reminded people that it was in fact the Wilkesite Rebellion and his close contacts with the Sons of Liberty that ultimately led to the Founding Fathers recognizing in the Bill of Rights that law abiding citizens have the freedom of speech and freedom against "general warrant" searches.
Joining Senator Paul was Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), who also brought up John Wilkes.
Nearly 250 years later, I am glad the actions of one brave man standing up against tyranny are still echoing liberty in the halls of the United States Congress.