Monday, November 18, 2019

To what extent were the diggers who staged the Eureka rebellion of Essay

To what extent were the diggers who staged the Eureka rebellion of December 1854 motivated by democratic ideals - Essay Example Although, the miners lost the battle, they succeeded in gaining greater equality for the miners including the abolition of the License and Gold Commission, as well as the vote for all males. The Eureka stockade can be regarded as the birthplace of Australia’s political system as marked the inception of the right to vote, political equality, and freedom of speech.1 The Eureka revolution represented an earnest attempt at democratic government. The paper maintains that the miners who staged the Eureka rebellion were mainly motivated by democratic ideals, by values and principles against injustice and oppression. Background The gold can be regarded to have been a social transformer, a democratic mineral given that whoever who found had cash in their hands. In order to maintain control on the colony’s critical pastoral industry and preserve its conventional values, Governor La Trobe instituted an emergency system where commissioners enjoyed both judicial and executive powers . This set the stage for the confrontation as the military and the police transformed into an arbitrary force, whose decisions almost unchallenged. A heavy tax as imposed on all individuals who went to dig in an effort to deter men from leaving their regular employment, especially within the pastoral industry. Furthermore, the diggers bought the license at a high price, more than what the squatters paid to graze sheep. Unsurprisingly, the license tax was opposed right from its inception and the majority of the colony’s men condemned the tax and the manner in which the police enforce the tax.2 The failure by the conservative legislative council to substitute the detestable tax with an equitable and less confrontational export duty on gold set the stage for future rebellion. The new governor, Hotham ordered twice-weekly searches to weed out unlicensed miners, which further disillusioned the miners. The move heightened hostility to the overworked and undermanned police force. At the same time, larger complaints were emerging, which rendered licenses to be symbolic. The burning of the licenses derived from the fact that they represented the most evidence of government's injustice.3 The seeds of discord, sown into the soil, can be highlighted as a series of miscarriages of justice, latent within the system. The incidences police mistreatment was subsidiary to the deeply entrenched distrust fuelled by serious miscarriage of justice over the murder of James Scobie by Bentley, who was an ex-convict owner of the Eureka Hotel and exonerated of the murder charge.4 The burning of the hotel in protest to the Bentley verdict marked a turning for both sides. The Eureka episode created disaffection between the two camps, which had threatening undertones. What started as a disconnected series of events triggered by the same flawed system of control gained momentum when the populace reacted to the enquiry into the hotel’s destruction while seizing the opportunity to highlight the long-standing litany of grievances against the government.5 Hotham declined to accept the recommendations, which demanded that the licenses be abolished, and the police return to standard work, but used delaying tactic of a royal commission. The Ballarat miners were by then organized, united, and determined to success. The governor and other officials, on the other hand, sought to conquer the defeat the rebel movements even if it meant the use of military force. The retrial and subsequent conviction

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