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Pa. woman's first book compares themes dating to 18th century

November 27, 2011|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com
  • Karen Ramsburg recently published her first book, "Smith Rebellion 1765 Gives Rise to Modern Politics." In it, she draws similarities between an uprising in Mercersburg and unrest today.
By Jennifer Fitch/Reporter

MERCERSBURG, Pa. — A Mercersburg woman believes the themes of the Occupy movement and its focus on “the 99 percent” of people mimic ones dating back to the 18th century.

Karen Ramsburg recently published her first book, “Smith Rebellion 1765 Gives Rise to Modern Politics.” In it, she draws similarities between an uprising in Mercersburg and unrest today.

“There’s the history of the 1 percent that’s always been about taxes, and there’s the history of the 99 percent about land ownership and citizenship,” Ramsburg said.

Ramsburg moved from Frederick, Md., to Mercersburg in 2006. In 2009, she became a leader in a movement to preserve a stone house believed to be the former residence, tavern and gristmill of Justice William Smith.

Uncovered artifacts such as expensive pottery support that belief, Ramsburg said.

That house was the meeting place where the first armed resistance to British rule was organized, Ramsburg said. James Smith wrote a draft version of the Second Amendment right to bear arms there, she said.

“This is the best kept secret in America,” Ramsburg said.

The MMP&W Fire Co., which owned the Smith house, demolished it earlier this year, but turned over portions to preservationists who want to reconstruct it. Ramsburg said a foundation created for that purpose is raising money.

Research for the book, which was written in about nine months, came from other publications and discussions with several historians and professors, Ramsburg said.

Ramsburg said she is critical of policies that privatize government and “enrich the rich.” She says those policies didn’t work in 1776 and won’t work now.

“It channels all the money to the supply side,” she said. “You have to have a balance of supply and demand.”

At 143 pages, “Smith Rebellion 1765 Gives Rise to Modern Politics” is available at www.amazon.com and www.barnesandnoble.com.

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