Paine explains why the current time is a good time to break free of Britain. Primarily, Paine focuses on the present size of the colonies, and on their current capabilities. He presents an inventory of the British Navy and gives calculations revealing how America could build a navy of comparable size. Paine recommends this as a way of ensuring America's security and prosperity in trade. Paine also argues that America is sufficiently small as to be united now. If time were to elapse, and the population of the colonies to grow, the same feeling of unity would not be present. Paine adds that if the Americans revolt now, they can use the vast expanses of uncharted land to the West in order to pay down some of the debt they will incur.
Passed by Parliament in 1765, the Stamp Act levied a tax on a large body of printed material in the colonies. The tax was aimed at recouping some of the large costs incurred by the British in the French and Indian War . This tax was met with great resistance by the colonists, who refused to buy stamps, rioted, and threatened tax-collectors. Furthermore, delegates from nine states convened at a Stamp Act Congress in order to voice a unified protest against the king. Parliament repealed the Act, although it also issued a Declaratory Act in 1766, asserting its right to tax the colonies.
In the late 20th century, the Cherokee Nation voted for restrictions on membership to only those descendants of people listed as "Cherokee by blood" on the Dawes Rolls of the early 20th century, excluding most Cherokee Freedmen (by that time a term referring to their descendants). In addition to arguing that the post-Civil War treaties gave them citizenship, the Freedmen have argued that the Dawes Rolls were often inaccurate, recording as freedmen even those persons who had partial Cherokee ancestry and were considered Cherokee by blood. The Choctaw Freedmen and Creek Freedmen have similarly struggled with their respective tribes over the terms of citizenship in contemporary times. (The tribes have wanted to limit those who can benefit from tribal citizenship, in an era in which gaming casinos are yielding considerable revenues for members.) The majority of members of the tribes have voted to limit membership, and as sovereign nations, they have the right to determine their rules. Descendants of freedmen believe their long standing as citizens since the post-Civil War treaties should be continued.