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Monday, 30 August 2010


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That it was a civil war is surely undeniable. But I'd like to know what it was about, other than the usual "Who Whom?". That some "Patriots" were fighting because they didn't like the government's policy of honouring its treaties with the Indians and therefore stopping the further theft of their land seems certain - but surely that wouldn't be enough to make (say) 20% of the population support the rebels? Ditto those who were fearful of the British success of the abolitionists, ditto those Bostonian tea-smugglers who were against the reduction of the duty on tea, et cetera. Good reasons all, but do they really add up to enough of an explanation? On the other hand, the yarn with which American children are all indoctrinated - a spontaneous uprising against a tyrranical king - is daft in the other direction; it proves too much. If the absurd claims about Farmer George had been true then near enough 100% of the colonists would have rebelled and it would all have been over in a fortnight.
Mind you, there is a pretty good clue in a remark by Washington, who seems to have been much the best of the FFs. He said something to the effect that you can't get much done except by an appeal to "interest".

The problem, for someone who'd like to find a full, intelligent, critical history is a problem of incentives for the would-be author. Presumably no-one forms a potentially profitable readership for American history but the American public, and all they want to hear is the usual guff, save for a tiny proportion who want useless Marxist guff instead.

Well, for once I remain carefully neutral on the meat of the argument because I simply don't know enough. However, I like your point concerning personal "interest", it's bound to be in there somewhere, it just needs to be sought after.

DM makes a point but doesn't extend it. (I should probably drop off and spend a proper bit of time but since that's unlike my general habit) it was basically, all "interest." The opening skirmishes did occur in the northernmost areas where resided 'our' good John Adams who said to 'our' good Thomas Jefferson, "You Sir are a Southerner and since 'our' natural leadership resides in the south, the document should be of southern vintage." The extreme north, home of shipping and very difficultedly farmable (not conducive to slavery) land provided banking and men like Thomas Paine who, once the war was won, headed off to France to join their rebellion.

'Our' Mr Washington receiving the nod toward Generalship led 'your' fellows into the swamps along the southern borderlands where generally speaking, a relatively small highly mobile force is less cumbersome to move about than one formed on the European model. Coincidentally perhaps, that left the northern population centers relatively unmoved to participate in anything, much less joining a few rich white guys in places where malaria and typhoid were rife.

Apparently, 'your' guys had studiously prepared your ocean away battlefront, by pissing off your neighbors who, at their first seizeable moment, did just that and tied up 'your' blockading ships. A ship at anchor in a port, again generally speaking, is more difficult to utilize than a ship underway. With ships trapped in ports, troop movements were then necessarily by land. A regiment marching through forested land in rigid formation, can be successfully harried by again, a relative few sharpshooters who had not picked up gentlemenly habits and rather than lining up and shooting into the ranks - climbed trees and sniped at the officers.

After the last few shots and toasts all round, the first seven or so Southern gentlemen succeeded each other as President while the relatively few northern gentlemen consolidated an economic powerhouse.

Furthering the opinion it was a 'civil war' as opposed to a general rebellion - take 'our' good Ben Franklin and Son. Throughout the "American Revolution" father and son had irreconcilable differences. Dad wining the ladies of the French Court while Son toiled away doing His Majesty's duties. Dad died in America, Son died in England.

There now friends, that wasn't too difficult was it?

All very well, JK, but what on earth was it all about?

Tea I think. But for a definitive answer you'd need ask Sarah Palin.

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