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#1 lonzomac

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Posted 23 January 2015 - 08:04 AM - 092101

Being exposed to so many different people from so many different countries and with all of you being educated,I thought that I'd start a history discussion/debate. I have been watching different documentaries about the American Revolution (mostly American and British in origin) and some of the causes and circumstances along with the war itself have really peaked my interest. Growing up in Tennessee, USA we were taught that basically Britain was being unfair to the American Colonies and it resulted in a heroic group of ragtag militia defeating the most feared military in the world at the time. To be clear, the issues I'm about to mention would make most Americans slam me as being disrespectful and unpatriotic but that's not hardly the case. I've served my country and like the idea of free speech and of the press, unfortunately the majority of my countrymen are mindless drones that perpetuate the stereotype of the fat stupid American slob. Back to my thoughts. Recently it's come to my attention that the founding fathers were kinda being pricks towards King George. A commonly held belief is that the whole thing started because of taxation. The Colonists felt that it was unfair to have taxes levied against them yet have no representation in Parliament. I too don't agree with taxation without representation. At the same time, the British government shelled out quite a bit of money and resources including troops, ships, food etc. defending the Colonies against the French and Indians in the 7 years war, and believed the Americans should pull some of their own weight and foot some of the bill via new taxes. I totally agree with that idea. That's just one example of something that probably could've been fixed easily by giving the Colonies a voice or two in Parliament. What are your thoughts? I'd love for some Brits to give input. I believe that the relationship between the American Colonists and the British homeland had several possibilities to be salvaged. If that'd happened, perhaps Britain would still rule the world instead of it's rebellious colony. Please be civil, please abstain from bashing either nation. What alternative outcomes do you think could've been achieved? How do you think the world would be different if we'd have kissed and made up? Obviously King George sorely underestimated the Contenintal Army, do you think that if Britain had had a different monarch that things would've been different? Lastly, I'm interested in how the Revolutionary War is portrayed in foreign schools. I know you learn about it because we're just that awesome lmao.
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#2 TankKiller

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Posted 23 January 2015 - 08:25 AM - 092102

As my non-contribution to this debate: I'd like to do some research and contribute to this discussion when I get time.

In my school I was taught about history from ~1055 onwards, but naturally most of it pertained to Britain or the two World Wars. Considering it's not such a significant historical event to us as it obviously is to Americans (no offense intended; it's only natural), I don't know of any school here where the American Revolution is studied. Still, this sounds like an interesting discussion, so I'll try to do some research and participate when I get time!


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#3 Mandystalin

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Posted 23 January 2015 - 10:01 AM - 092103

The American Revolution is one of the most myth-heavy pieces of history around - and certainly one of the most emotive.

I can understand why, but as both a Brit and someone with a keen interest in history it bugs me :)

I should point out that I have a great deal of admiration & respect for the USA*, and frankly believe that the world is a better place because of its existance. However, that doesn't stop a fun debate ;)

 

 

A few random samples in addition to Ionzomac's points:

 

 

The Boston Tea Party was actually in response to a lowering of the tax on tea, which meant that all the tea smugglers would be out of a job

 

Exactly one representation as made to the British Parliament to protest about a tax in the Americas. That tax was stopped as a result

 

'Taxation without Representation' was actually a very small part of the problem. There were (as ever) a host of reasons, some of which ran counter to the ideals that are now promoted as part of the Revolution. The most obvious here is religious intolerance on the part of the rebels - one big cause on unrest was that the British were allowing Catholics to settle in the Americas and the colonists didn't like that.

 

 

 

*Not least because theirs is one of the very few armed uprisings that actually resulted in a democratic country as a result - really quite an impressive achievement.


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#4 Aurelius

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Posted 23 January 2015 - 10:03 AM - 092104

What I know of the American Revolution, I know mostly from watchin John Adams and various dramatisations of the war. We did study it in my first year of high school alongside the French Revolution but, I have to be honest, as a 11 year old the French Revolution was much more interesting with all that guillotining.

That said, I'm very interested in American history and politics (although my interests tend to focus on the Civil War period, FDR and Kennedy). Whilst I'm sure that there are probably more complexities to the issue of the American Revolution, than simply those British taxing you without representation (although, interestingly enough, that was enough to scare the British into giving Australia responsible government when we started rumbling about it), the perception, at least in Australian schools, is that the British were taxing the crap out of you so you gave them a hiding (with a bit of help from the French). Then the British decided, "Meh" and ended up having the biggest empire ever, covering 20% of the world, just to spite you guys (that last bit I added in).
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#5 Aurelius

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Posted 23 January 2015 - 10:04 AM - 092105

But then you guys got one back on the Brits by telling them to dismantle their Empire after the war. So all good in the end. :P
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#6 Mandystalin

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Posted 23 January 2015 - 10:16 AM - 092106

 the perception, at least in Australian schools, is that the British were taxing the crap out of you so you gave them a hiding (with a bit of help from the French). Then the British decided, "Meh" and ended up having the biggest empire ever, covering 20% of the world, just to spite you guys (that last bit I added in).

 

This is generally the perception pretty much everywhere as far as I can make out.

 

Taxes in the Americas were (almost?) entirely used for the defence of the American colonies - from hostile foreign powers (Spanish & French) and the locals (who oddly disliked being kicked off their land and occasionally massacred)

 

The 'bit of help' from the French was a global war (from the Americas to India) in which France, Spain and the Netherlands all fought againt Britain, as well as supplying arms etc. Essentially the rebellion became someting of a sideshow.

Interestingly it was the cost of this war that was a major factor in the destabilising of France which led to the French Revolution


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#7 The End

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Posted 23 January 2015 - 01:27 PM - 092107

 

Being exposed to so many different people from so many different countries and with all of you being educated,I thought that I'd start a history discussion/debate. I have been watching different documentaries about the American Revolution (mostly American and British in origin) and some of the causes and circumstances along with the war itself have really peaked my interest. Growing up in Tennessee, USA we were taught that basically Britain was being unfair to the American Colonies and it resulted in a heroic group of ragtag militia defeating the most feared military in the world at the time. To be clear, the issues I'm about to mention would make most Americans slam me as being disrespectful and unpatriotic but that's not hardly the case. I've served my country and like the idea of free speech and of the press, unfortunately the majority of my countrymen are mindless drones that perpetuate the stereotype of the fat stupid American slob. Back to my thoughts. Recently it's come to my attention that the founding fathers were kinda being pricks towards King George. A commonly held belief is that the whole thing started because of taxation. The Colonists felt that it was unfair to have taxes levied against them yet have no representation in Parliament. I too don't agree with taxation without representation. At the same time, the British government shelled out quite a bit of money and resources including troops, ships, food etc. defending the Colonies against the French and Indians in the 7 years war, and believed the Americans should pull some of their own weight and foot some of the bill via new taxes. I totally agree with that idea. That's just one example of something that probably could've been fixed easily by giving the Colonies a voice or two in Parliament. What are your thoughts? I'd love for some Brits to give input. I believe that the relationship between the American Colonists and the British homeland had several possibilities to be salvaged. If that'd happened, perhaps Britain would still rule the world instead of it's rebellious colony. Please be civil, please abstain from bashing either nation. What alternative outcomes do you think could've been achieved? How do you think the world would be different if we'd have kissed and made up? Obviously King George sorely underestimated the Contenintal Army, do you think that if Britain had had a different monarch that things would've been different? Lastly, I'm interested in how the Revolutionary War is portrayed in foreign schools. I know you learn about it because we're just that awesome lmao.

The Revolutionary War is one of the most badass and inspirational events to ever have happened to this world. The fact that a group of colonists/militiamen could defeat the most powerful empire on earth is such an epic story, that I would not blame one for insisting it was fictional. It seems like it would be something like New Zealand defeating America today. 

 

Anyway, the colonists probably were being dicks to their oppressors, but the British were acting like dogs (no offence Brits, it was a diff era). I studied this stuff last year in an Aus. The amount of legislation that the Brits were passing against the Americans was ridiculous and tyrannical. Keep in mind though that the way it was taught was very neutral. Aus ain't Britain or the US so it was completely unbiased. It was still obvious though that the Brits pushed things too far and the colonists had had enough. Interestingly, the war actually started over guns, but that was just a catalyst (we studied Rev War as part of US gun rights).

 

I've always admired Americans for fighting for their independence, breaking off from the empire and forming a republic. Even from back then it seems the American spirit was alive. It also seems that America is naturally a warring country (nothing wrong with this, in fact I admire it) being born from war and having been in a state of war for much of its existence.   

 

I think kissing and making up would have been the worst thing possible and the world would be a far worse place for it today. That's coming from a guy who believes in American exceptionalism though. It would certainly have changed the world forever. America was very clever back in WW1 and WW2 and made the most of the situations to ascend to great power and then to superpower status. I think had it not been for those wars, America's rise to superpower would have taken far far longer and the British would have continued to be a superpower along with Germany and to a lesser degree France for a long, long time.   

 

By the way I was watching a Marine Corps ad compilation and there was a bit where it says "The time 500 Americans stood on a hill and said "you will not take us off here", outnumbered 30 to 1." I presume this was the Revolutionary War. Anyone know what battle? 

 


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#8 lonzomac

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Posted 23 January 2015 - 03:06 PM - 092108

The USMC being born November 10, 1775, they're most likely referring to the Battle of Bunker Hill which oddly enough didn't occur on Bunker Hill lol. As far as American involvement in the World Wars, you've got to give Britain and Australia just about all of the credit for that victory. America came in a bit too late in my opinion. If we're completely honest, the allies probably would've had to compromise with the Germans had it not been for Soviet involvement. In the Pacific theatre however, Marines were sent in so of course that was going to be a loss for the Japanese. Going back to the Revolutionary War, I would place all blame on King George for the escalation. History doesn't paint him as a great leader but more of a pompous glutton who's idea of his own grandeur led to him losing very profitable colonial assets. If he'd have taken the Americans seriously, he would've sent a much larger force or tried to negotiate some type of peace. There were many loyalists here that haf been here for generations, and the popular consensus of the time was to stay attached to England for the perks (protection, European supplies that couldn't be manufactured here etc.) Aurelius I believe is correct, our uprising and actual victory made the crown actually start to cede things to their different colonies that before the rebellion would've been appalling to the British government. Mandy raised a very good point, the aid that America received from England's enemies (who we all know had their own colonial aspirations, after all, they envied Britain and wished to be her) really did a number on the British forces. It's laughable now to think of the French as badasses but they had a long time in the sun plus Napoleon was badass. Much of the history of wars makes one side a hero and makes villains out of the losers.For example, America lost in Vietnam. I wasn't taught much in school about Vietnam and certainly not that we lost. We heard about how the French lost to the VC but not us lol. Someone famously said that the propaganda of the victors becomes the history of the defeated.If Britain had quelled the rebellion, our founding fathers would've just been traitorous cowards and hanged.I look at the Revolutionary War and see in the modern world that America is making the same mistakes that led to the British Empire being dismantled. We overstretch our military, now our president is downsizing our fighting force because we don't take the people that hate us seriously. To Americans,the people we fight against are just Bedouins with their camels, much like we were just farmers with pitchforks.
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#9 FreddieMercury

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Posted 23 January 2015 - 05:58 PM - 092109

From what I understand, the British Crown lost a very valuable piece of territory because it caved to the lobbying of the East India Company-- who primarily sold tea. 

 

Also the UK, like all countries, tend to downplay negative and unfortunate events from history. America doesn't much like to talk about the massacres of the Native Americans, Britain tends to gloss over her past failings. 


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#10 Dark Wizard

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Posted 24 January 2015 - 01:25 AM - 0921010

One thing I would like to make clear. The colonists did not simply win the war. The French played a huge role in the downfall of the British in the Americas. Without the rivalry between the French and the British, we may still be living in a world rooted in colonialism. The French Navy played an ESSENTIAL role in the surrender of the British by countering the Royal Navy and helping the colonists surround the British at Yorktown. On to the charge that the colonists really had no reason to demand independence, I would suggest you read the Declaration of Independence. There are several reasons beyond simply they didn't like to be taxed. One of which is the basis for the 3rd Amendment to the United States Constitution. I'm not sure about you, but it would anger me to be required to house a soldier without my consent. Lastly, on to the point about taxes to pay for the defense of the colonies. To be clear, the French and Indian War was nothing more than a proxy war between France and England. The Brits were not defending the safety of the colonists, but instead defending their interests. They did not want to lose their empire to the French. 


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#11 The End

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Posted 24 January 2015 - 03:47 AM - 0921011

The USMC being born November 10, 1775, they're most likely referring to the Battle of Bunker Hill which oddly enough didn't occur on Bunker Hill lol. As far as American involvement in the World Wars, you've got to give Britain and Australia just about all of the credit for that victory. America came in a bit too late in my opinion. If we're completely honest, the allies probably would've had to compromise with the Germans had it not been for Soviet involvement. In the Pacific theatre however, Marines were sent in so of course that was going to be a loss for the Japanese. Going back to the Revolutionary War, I would place all blame on King George for the escalation. History doesn't paint him as a great leader but more of a pompous glutton who's idea of his own grandeur led to him losing very profitable colonial assets. If he'd have taken the Americans seriously, he would've sent a much larger force or tried to negotiate some type of peace. There were many loyalists here that haf been here for generations, and the popular consensus of the time was to stay attached to England for the perks (protection, European supplies that couldn't be manufactured here etc.) Aurelius I believe is correct, our uprising and actual victory made the crown actually start to cede things to their different colonies that before the rebellion would've been appalling to the British government. Mandy raised a very good point, the aid that America received from England's enemies (who we all know had their own colonial aspirations, after all, they envied Britain and wished to be her) really did a number on the British forces. It's laughable now to think of the French as badasses but they had a long time in the sun plus Napoleon was badass. Much of the history of wars makes one side a hero and makes villains out of the losers.For example, America lost in Vietnam. I wasn't taught much in school about Vietnam and certainly not that we lost. We heard about how the French lost to the VC but not us lol. Someone famously said that the propaganda of the victors becomes the history of the defeated.If Britain had quelled the rebellion, our founding fathers would've just been traitorous cowards and hanged.I look at the Revolutionary War and see in the modern world that America is making the same mistakes that led to the British Empire being dismantled. We overstretch our military, now our president is downsizing our fighting force because we don't take the people that hate us seriously. To Americans,the people we fight against are just Bedouins with their camels, much like we were just farmers with pitchforks.

Cheers for the battle name Ionzomac. 

 

Idk mate. I think as you said the Brits and Soviets did play a massively vital role. In terms of Aus though, we are so small and insignificant that aside from some minor battles in South East Asia I don't think we did too much. Keep in mind it was the US who saved Aus from Japanese invasion cause the British Navy was worn out too thin and had to focus on Europe. It was WW2 which created the alliance between Aus, NZ, and US and these days Aus is closer with the US than with Britain. Anyway, I agree that the Brits and the Russians took most of the beating from the Nazis. If the Brits had fallen in several battles it all would have been over so kudos to Churchill. However, the Americans were very smart with the Lend Lease Program. When the war finished, Britain owed a sugar tonne of cash, basically had to hand the keys over to the Atlantic, and America was able to leave stronger than when it had entered (barely any damage at home, no international economic competitors etc.)

 

I can agree with you about King George. You have very valid points there. Yeah I was taught that you guys + us lost in Vietnam. And I thought to myself hang on a second Mr. M, I'm gonna have to disagree with you there. I wrote my final paper on America "winning" the Vietnam War and got 100%. Lol. 

 

You raise a very interesting point here: "I look at the Revolutionary War and see in the modern world that America is making the same mistakes that led to the British Empire being dismantled. We overstretch our military, now our president is downsizing our fighting force because we don't take the people that hate us seriously. To Americans,the people we fight against are just Bedouins with their camels, much like we were just farmers with pitchforks." Very interesting. I agree here. I wouldn't mind hearing more of your insight here cause you seem to know what you are talking about. I'm all for a strong military and I am concerned about China but it almost seems like America is creating an empire of bases and defense spending has skyrocketed after 9/11. It also seems like the Pentagon wastes a sugar tonne of money, that the air force is extremely old, that the navy is fairly small, and that recent projects have seen a lot of controversy (littoral combat ship + F35 Lightning 2). Plus China is stealing heaps of designs and creating weapons systems to counter the American presence in the Western Pacific (carrier sinking missiles etc). Anyway, is the issue that the defense budget has expanded but more of it has had to be put on "credit card"? As in gov revenue hasn't grown to allow the defence budget to expand without having to borrow money? Is there a solution where America can continue to be a military superpower ahead of Russia+China without bankrupting itself? How come these issues have arisen now instead of the '80s or '90s? Cheers. 


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#12 lonzomac

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Posted 24 January 2015 - 05:58 AM - 0921012

The USMC being born November 10, 1775, they're most likely referring to the Battle of Bunker Hill which oddly enough didn't occur on Bunker Hill lol. As far as American involvement in the World Wars, you've got to give Britain and Australia just about all of the credit for that victory. America came in a bit too late in my opinion. If we're completely honest, the allies probably would've had to compromise with the Germans had it not been for Soviet involvement. In the Pacific theatre however, thatMarines were sent in so of course that was going to be a loss for the Japanese. Going back to the Revolutionary War, I would place all blame on King George for the escalation. History doesn't paint him as a great leader but more of a pompous glutton who's idea of his own grandeur led to him losing very profitable colonial assets. If he'd have taken the Americans seriously, he would've sent a much larger force or tried to negotiate some type of peace. There were many loyalists here that haf been here for generations, and the popular consensus of the time was to stay attached to England for the perks (protection, European supplies that couldn't be manufactured here etc.) Aurelius I believe is correct, our uprising and actual victory made the crown actually start to cede things to their different colonies that before the rebellion would've been appalling to the British government. Mandy raised a very good point, the aid that America received from England's enemies (who we all know had their own colonial aspirations, after all, they envied Britain and wished to be her) really did a number on the British forces. It's laughable now to think of the French as badasses but they had a long time in the sun plus Napoleon was badass. Much of the history of wars makes one side a hero and makes villains out of the losers.For example, America lost in Vietnam. I wasn't taught much in school about Vietnam and certainly not that we lost. We heard about how the French lost to the VC but not us lol. Someone famously said that the propaganda of the victors becomes the history of the defeated.If Britain had quelled the rebellion, our founding fathers would've just been traitorous cowards and hanged.I look at the Revolutionary War and see in the modern world that America is making the same mistakes that led to the British Empire being dismantled. We overstretch our military, now our president is downsizing our fighting force because we don't take the people that hate us seriously. To Americans,the people we fight against are just Bedouins with their camels, much like we were just farmers with pitchforks.

Cheers for the battle name Ionzomac. 
 
Idk mate. I think as you said the Brits and Soviets did play a massively vital role. In terms of Aus though, we are so small and insignificant that aside from some minor battles in South East Asia I don't think we did too much. Keep in mind it was the US who saved Aus from Japanese invasion cause the British Navy was worn out too thin and had to focus on Europe. It was WW2 which created the alliance between Aus, NZ, and US and these days Aus is closer with the US than with Britain. Anyway, I agree that the Brits and the Russians took most of the beating from the Nazis. If the Brits had fallen in several battles it all would have been over so kudos to Churchill. However, the Americans were very smart with the Lend Lease Program. When the war finished, Britain owed a sugar tonne of cash, basically had to hand the keys over to the Atlantic, and America was able to leave stronger than when it had entered (barely any damage at home, no international economic competitors etc.)
 
I can agree with you about King George. You have very valid points there. Yeah I was taught that you guys + us lost in Vietnam. And I thought to myself hang on a second Mr. M, I'm gonna have to disagree with you there. I wrote my final paper on America "winning" the Vietnam War and got 100%. Lol. 
 
You raise a very interesting point here: "I look at the Revolutionary War and see in the modern world that America is making the same mistakes that led to the British Empire being dismantled. We overstretch our military, now our president is downsizing our fighting force because we don't take the people that hate us seriously. To Americans,the people we fight against are just Bedouins with their camels, much like we were just farmers with pitchforks." Very interesting. I agree here. I wouldn't mind hearing more of your insight here cause you seem to know what you are talking about. I'm all for a strong military and I am concerned about China but it almost seems like America is creating an empire of bases and defense spending has skyrocketed after 9/11. It also seems like the Pentagon wastes a sugar tonne of money, that the air force is extremely old, that the navy is fairly small, and that recent projects have seen a lot of controversy (littoral combat ship + F35 Lightning 2). Plus China is stealing heaps of designs and creating weapons systems to counter the American presence in the Western Pacific (carrier sinking missiles etc). Anyway, is the issue that the defense budget has expanded but more of it has had to be put on "credit card"? As in gov revenue hasn't grown to allow the defence budget to expand without having to borrow money? Is there a solution where America can continue to be a military superpower ahead of Russia+China without bankrupting itself? How come these issues have arisen now instead of the '80s or '90s? Cheers. 

There's a movie about WW1 I think you should see Luke. It's an Aussie film called Beneath Hill 60, I really REALLY enjoyed it. It's about an Australian mining regiment and I think it'll give your personal pride a good boost as to Australia's contributions to that particular war.Also DW,you couldn't be more correct. The French navy was basically our only navy outside of spme Spanish ships and American merchant vessels outfitted with whatever guns they could get. The same scenario repeated itself in the War of 1812.French and pirate naval forces basically secured our victory there also. However I also believe the French had ulterior motives outside of just toppling jolly old England. If the truth was to be told they probably hoped that we'd be speaking French now.
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#13 Kharn

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Posted 24 January 2015 - 11:01 PM - 0921013

I was hoping that someone would bring up the War of 1812. I have always thought the American view of the conflict to be interesting especially how it differs from the Canadian view. The War of 1812 is important to Canadian identity, more so that Seven Years’ War which establish Canada’s British identity. I remember a historian once saying there are 4 points of view to the War of 1812; Canadians, who know they won the war, Americans who think they won the war, Natives, who know they lost the war and the British who say, “What war?”

 

Since Canada defended the colonies against the American forces, it became a catalyzing moment that united Upper and Lower Canada (now Ontario and Quebec) as a force, making them Canadian, not just English and French speaking colonists. I assume that American view the war of 1812 as the British meddling in the affairs of American (primarily, American sailors), and since the British stopped, its mission accomplished. The natives lost because they were plans for natives to have their own province, but because most of the aboriginal leadership was killed or died during that period, and because they look heavy losses, they had to settle for reserves instead. Now, of course during the war of 1812, a little guy call Napoleon was wrecking sugar in Europe. So I guess when British think about that time, they think of the Napoleonic wars not our war.

 

Back to the American Revolution, a lot of people don’t know that the Americans also tried to invade Canada then as well. There was even a Canadian regiment of American colonial army. But the invasion failed.  


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#14 lonzomac

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Posted 25 January 2015 - 04:28 AM - 0921014

Yeah, the War of 1812 takes a backseat to other conflicts. It's importance is really downgraded in our public schools. They do talk about the Battle of New Orleans, which doesn't make much sense since it happened 2 weeks after the war was over. I didn't know about the attempted invasion of Canada though. That's a pretty interesting piece of information that I'll have to study up on.I love history :)
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#15 Mandystalin

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Posted 26 January 2015 - 02:35 PM - 0921015

Oh boy, lots of posts to reply to!

 

Edit - As a note, I have used 'Britain/UK' even though I probably should have used 'England/English' to be historically pedantic :P

 

 

The Revolutionary War is one of the most badass and inspirational events to ever have happened to this world. The fact that a group of colonists/militiamen could defeat the most powerful empire on earth is such an epic story, that I would not blame one for insisting it was fictional. It seems like it would be something like New Zealand defeating America today. 

 

Or like Vietnam kicking out the USA in the 1970s… And yes, I know there are reasons why (political vs military), but that’s why it is a great example. Then there are also reasons why the Colonists won, most notably the triple-power coalition that was also fighting Britain.

Incidentally, in the late 16th Century Britain was not the most powerful Empire on Earth. Spain & France were arguably more powerful (and certainly held more land in the Americas), with the Dutch not far behind – what is pretty badass is that Britain managed to defeat its three greatest global rivals all at the same time.

 

 

 

Anyway, the colonists probably were being dicks to their oppressors, but the British were acting like dogs (no offence Brits, it was a diff era). I studied this stuff last year in an Aus. The amount of legislation that the Brits were passing against the Americans was ridiculous and tyrannical. Keep in mind though that the way it was taught was very neutral. Aus ain't Britain or the US so it was completely unbiased. It was still obvious though that the Brits pushed things too far and the colonists had had enough.

Do you have a list of that legislation? This is what I can find:

Sugar Act (designed to raise funds to cover military expenditure)
Currency Act (This is not repression – how would the USA react if Alaska started printing its own currency?)
Stamp Act (Also designed to raise funds to cover military expenditure, in this specific case 10,000 troops out on the frontier. The tax was appealed and revoked)
The Townshend Revenue Act (designed to raise funds to cover the administration of the colonies)
Quartering Act (mainly resolving issues regarding the billeting of soldiers, and trying to ensure colonists get fairly paid by the army for billets & supplies provided)
Tea Act (An act to lower the duty on tea)
Intolerable Acts (specific acts aimed mostly at punishing Boston & preventing further aggression)

 

Perhaps the colonists thought that UK-based taxpayers should fund their security?

Also, Australia is a former British colony with (as you point out below) leanings towards the USA, I’d hardly call that a neutral viewpoint ;)

 

 

 

By the way I was watching a Marine Corps ad compilation and there was a bit where it says "The time 500 Americans stood on a hill and said "you will not take us off here", outnumbered 30 to 1." I presume this was the Revolutionary War. Anyone know what battle?

 

Unlikely to be the Revolutionary War as the USMC didn’t exist then and there wasn’t a battle that I know of that matched that statement (unless we allow for propaganda-inflation of numbers). Bunker Hill was 2,400 Militia vs. just over 3,000 British troops. It could be any number of wars, but quite likely to be Korea at a guess.

 

 

 

 Going back to the Revolutionary War, I would place all blame on King George for the escalation.

 

King George? The worst thing you can say about his involvement was that he didn’t want the colonies to be independent, which is hardly an attitude which is out of keeping with any king (or other ruler) in his situation.

 

 

There were many loyalists here

 

Indeed. I have seen estimates that roughly 40% of the Colonists supported (or were) the rebels, 20% wanted to stay British, and 40% just wanted to be left alone to get on with their lives.

 

 

On to the charge that the colonists really had no reason to demand independence, I would suggest you read the Declaration of Independence. There are several reasons beyond simply they didn't like to be taxed.  

Absolutely, and as I have alluded to already many of these are not reasons that the USA likes to champion (and which obviously don't appear in the Declaration).

For example, the colonists were very resentful that they were not allowed to expand westwards into native lands (apparently those men weren’t created equal), and as mentioned before they did not like the fact that Catholics were allowed to actually practice Catholicism and participate in local government (apparently religious freedom is only applied to Protestants).

Actually let us take a look at the Declaration of Independence. Specifically the whole section headed: “The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.”

This is a masterpiece of political writing (not in a good way). It is mostly spin with an occasional untruth. You could easily write a similar piece from the British side and with a deal more justification – ‘we administer them, we protect them, they refuse to contribute to their own safety, they persist in causing destruction upon their neighbours, they flout the law, they attack officers of the law and members of the armed services, they even sabotage their own trading activities to spite us’ etc.

 

 

One of which is the basis for the 3rd Amendment to the United States Constitution. I'm not sure about you, but it would anger me to be required to house a soldier without my consent.

 

Well, this is about the Quartering Act, which allows Colonial Governors to commandeer housing for British soldiers if the barracks are full. It does stipulate that housing should be uninhabited outhouses (etc) that the owners of the property should be paid (rent and the cost of provisions used), and that the soldiers have to behave themselves. Firstly, this was never going to be a common occurrence. Secondly, housing being commandeered for soldiers was nothing new (still isn’t, it happened a lot in WW2), though the good will legislated towards the property owners is notable. And finally which would you rather have – a bunch of soldiers living in your barn or be attacked by pissed-off natives seeking revenge for one of the many massacres perpetrated by the colonists?  

 

 

Lastly, on to the point about taxes to pay for the defense of the colonies. To be clear, the French and Indian War was nothing more than a proxy war between France and England. The Brits were not defending the safety of the colonists, but instead defending their interests. They did not want to lose their empire to the French.

 

I think you’ve missed the point that the Colonists were British. This isn’t the same as the later Empire squabbles over Africa or Asia, where it was all about control of the local population, the land, the resources and the trade routes (though these obviously were important in the Americas). The people under attack were British settlers.  

 

 

 I remember a historian once saying there are 4 points of view to the War of 1812; Canadians, who know they won the war, Americans who think they won the war, Natives, who know they lost the war and the British who say, “What war?”

 

  

1812 is always an interesting war. From the British viewpoint the USA invaded Canada, got kicked out and was then humiliated by a counter-raid which burned Washington as retaliation for the American destruction of Port Dover. It is funny how the different parties all consider themselves winners because they all had different aims which were largely met. Except the poor natives, who were royally screwed.


Edited by Mandystalin, 26 January 2015 - 02:36 PM.

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#16 FreddieMercury

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Posted 26 January 2015 - 10:17 PM - 0921016

The ironic thing about all these taxes is that they are born out Britain's to financial desperation after the 7 Year's War. I call it ironic because it was due to the same reason France got into dire straits after the American Revolution-- subsiding an ally's war efforts. France greatly subsidized the Colonies, leading to its French Revolution. Britain greatly subsidized Prussia's war efforts, leading to its American Revolution. 

 

 

Sugar Act (designed to raise funds to cover military expenditure)

 

 

This was a poorly timed tax issued in 1764 (The war only ended in 1763). It was imposed right during an economic depression in the colonies. On top of that, it indirectly taxed rum which already had a slim profit margin. So it was a double whammy that caused much economic pain. 

 

 

 

Stamp Act (Also designed to raise funds to cover military expenditure, in this specific case 10,000 troops out on the frontier. The tax was appealed and revoked)

 

Issued in 1765, this was in the same boat as the Sugar Act. 

 

 

 

The Townshend Revenue Act (designed to raise funds to cover the administration of the colonies)


This act's goals were more political rather than financial.

 

  • Reaffirms legality of writs of assistance or rather unjustified search warrants which gave custom officials broad powers to search without probable cause for smuggle goods. 
  • Ties the salaries of colonial governors and judges to Parliament rather than the colonial assemblies
  • Townshend said himself that this was merely an act to set a precedent to pave the way for future taxes (given that both the sugar and stamp tax were repealed after staunch opposition) 

And Britain really upped the anty after resistance to this act by occupying Boston.

 

 

 

 

Tea Act (An act to lower the duty on tea)

 

Same boat as the Townshend act, as it seeks to validate the taxing precedence the Townshend act tried to do.

 

 

Quartering Act (mainly resolving issues regarding the billeting of soldiers, and trying to ensure colonists get fairly paid by the army for billets & supplies provided)

Intolerable Acts (specific acts aimed mostly at punishing Boston & preventing further aggression)

 

 

Again, these acts stoked political fires.

 

Perhaps the colonists thought that UK-based taxpayers should fund their security? 

 

All these taxes were because Britain decided to go deep into debt to fund Prussia's war machine in Europe, which has little to do with colonial security. 

 

 

Taxation without representation isn't simply a political ideal, it represented the fact that the colonists weren't able to voice their side of the story (i.e. Don't tax us while our economy is in the dumps, Economics 101). And it spiraled downhill fast. 


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#17 The End

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Posted 27 January 2015 - 02:08 AM - 0921017

Oh boy, lots of posts to reply to!

 

Edit - As a note, I have used 'Britain/UK' even though I probably should have used 'England/English' to be historically pedantic :P

 

 

The Revolutionary War is one of the most badass and inspirational events to ever have happened to this world. The fact that a group of colonists/militiamen could defeat the most powerful empire on earth is such an epic story, that I would not blame one for insisting it was fictional. It seems like it would be something like New Zealand defeating America today. 

 

Or like Vietnam kicking out the USA in the 1970s… And yes, I know there are reasons why (political vs military), but that’s why it is a great example. Then there are also reasons why the Colonists won, most notably the triple-power coalition that was also fighting Britain.

Incidentally, in the late 16th Century Britain was not the most powerful Empire on Earth. Spain & France were arguably more powerful (and certainly held more land in the Americas), with the Dutch not far behind – what is pretty badass is that Britain managed to defeat its three greatest global rivals all at the same time.

 

 

 

Anyway, the colonists probably were being dicks to their oppressors, but the British were acting like dogs (no offence Brits, it was a diff era). I studied this stuff last year in an Aus. The amount of legislation that the Brits were passing against the Americans was ridiculous and tyrannical. Keep in mind though that the way it was taught was very neutral. Aus ain't Britain or the US so it was completely unbiased. It was still obvious though that the Brits pushed things too far and the colonists had had enough.

Do you have a list of that legislation? This is what I can find:

Sugar Act (designed to raise funds to cover military expenditure)
Currency Act (This is not repression – how would the USA react if Alaska started printing its own currency?)
Stamp Act (Also designed to raise funds to cover military expenditure, in this specific case 10,000 troops out on the frontier. The tax was appealed and revoked)
The Townshend Revenue Act (designed to raise funds to cover the administration of the colonies)
Quartering Act (mainly resolving issues regarding the billeting of soldiers, and trying to ensure colonists get fairly paid by the army for billets & supplies provided)
Tea Act (An act to lower the duty on tea)
Intolerable Acts (specific acts aimed mostly at punishing Boston & preventing further aggression)

 

Perhaps the colonists thought that UK-based taxpayers should fund their security?

Also, Australia is a former British colony with (as you point out below) leanings towards the USA, I’d hardly call that a neutral viewpoint ;)

 

 

 

By the way I was watching a Marine Corps ad compilation and there was a bit where it says "The time 500 Americans stood on a hill and said "you will not take us off here", outnumbered 30 to 1." I presume this was the Revolutionary War. Anyone know what battle?

 

Unlikely to be the Revolutionary War as the USMC didn’t exist then and there wasn’t a battle that I know of that matched that statement (unless we allow for propaganda-inflation of numbers). Bunker Hill was 2,400 Militia vs. just over 3,000 British troops. It could be any number of wars, but quite likely to be Korea at a guess.

 

In terms of the Marine Corps question much appreciated. 

 

1. Sorry yes you are right about Britain not being the most powerful empire in the Earth at that time. However, I believe it was the dominant colonial power at the time in North America.Also in terms of the US in Vietnam, contrary to popular opinion they did actually "win" and achieved all their strategic geopolitical objectives. Every time the US fights a guerilla type war instead of a conventional war, people feel like it lost just because it is physically impossible to win a guerilla war WW2 style. Is winning defined as wiping out every single guerilla? Basically the US wants to prevent a dominant power in Eurasia. That is basically what nearly every war has been about in the last century. In terms of Vietnam it was concerned about the domino theory and the Soviets having direct influence and expanding communism. Vietnam as a country meant jack sugar to America, relative to the idea of communism spreading all across South East Asia. But communism never did spread and countries made an effort to avoid communism after Vietnam. I can PM you my actual essay if you want to discuss Vietnam more. However, it is true that the American public back home wanted the US out of Vietnam and because of public pressure politicians did pull troops back home. At that point the South didn't lose because the Americans had done some decent work in hammering the communists and in bolstering the South. I believe the South lost a few years later when the Americans had cut off aid and assistance altogether. 

 

2. In terms of the legislation I can find heaps but I just need one to demonstrate why the colonists had a right to be pissed. If India for example was forcing my local government to order me to house random Indian troops in my house and to feed them I'd be f*cking pissed. As the dominant power England was basically just using the colonies for its own advantage. 

 

In terms of Aus we're still part of the British Commonwealth, the Union Jack is on our flag, and we have a Prime Minister who essentially "knighted" Queen Elizabeth's husband the other day. It's still very British and we have nothing to gain by saying the American colonists were in the right and our mother country Britain was in the wrong, if that wasn't the case. 


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#18 Mandystalin

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Posted 27 January 2015 - 12:20 PM - 0921018

I think I've answered the basic thrust of your post, but I've only picked small chunks to quote



 

 

And Britain really upped the anty after resistance to this act by occupying Boston.

 

 

 

I’m sorry, but armed mobs attacking individual soldiers and the deliberate destruction of property is upping the ante. How did Boston expect the authorities to react? 

 

Tea Act ... Same boat as the Townshend act, as it seeks to validate the taxing precedence the Townshend act tried to do.

 

Britain is the ruling government, it has the right to set taxes as required.

Again, the simple point with the Tea Act is that it lowered taxes, but yet is seen as an unjust act?  

 


 

All these taxes were because Britain decided to go deep into debt to fund Prussia's war machine in Europe, which has little to do with colonial security. 

 

They have everything to do with Colonial security, because that is what they were used for. Britain was never going to underwrite the Colonies for ever – Colonies need to be beneficial to a nation otherwise there is just no point in having them. Sooner or later they were going to have to pay for themselves and ideally make a profit too. In comparison to the other Empires of the day the American colonists had one hell of an easy ride, being entirely subsidised by their home nation until it could no longer afford to do so but even then not being expected to be self-sufficient. It is a truism that rebellions happen when populations get a taste of the good life and then have that curtailed, however slightly. 

 


 

 

Taxation without representation isn't simply a political ideal, it represented the fact that the colonists weren't able to voice their side of the story 

 

Except there was input from the Colonists, and it was taken seriously. They appealed to Parliament against the Stamp Tax which was then repealed. What you would expect them to learn from that is that the political route works. What they actually learnt was apparently not to bother in future…?

 


 

(i.e. Don't tax us while our economy is in the dumps, Economics 101). And it spiraled downhill fast. 

 

And economics-wise, as you’ve pointed out the home country itself wasn’t in great shape. Why place additional burdens on an already heavily taxed populace (taxes in the UK were massively more than anything the Colonists ever had to pay) then waste further resources shipping the cash over there when you can simply raise the cash locally with a modest tax. A downward spiral in the UK economy would be far worse than one in the Colonies. 


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#19 Mandystalin

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Posted 27 January 2015 - 12:23 PM - 0921019



 

 

Also in terms of the US in Vietnam, contrary to popular opinion they did actually "win" and achieved all their strategic geopolitical objectives. Every time the US fights a guerilla type war instead of a conventional war, people feel like it lost just because it is physically impossible to win a guerilla war WW2 style. Is winning defined as wiping out every single guerilla? Basically the US wants to prevent a dominant power in Eurasia. That is basically what nearly every war has been about in the last century. In terms of Vietnam it was concerned about the domino theory and the Soviets having direct influence and expanding communism. Vietnam as a country meant jack sugar to America, relative to the idea of communism spreading all across South East Asia. But communism never did spread and countries made an effort to avoid communism after Vietnam. I can PM you my actual essay if you want to discuss Vietnam more. However, it is true that the American public back home wanted the US out of Vietnam and because of public pressure politicians did pull troops back home. At that point the South didn't lose because the Americans had done some decent work in hammering the communists and in bolstering the South. I believe the South lost a few years later when the Americans had cut off aid and assistance altogether. 

 

 

 

 

We could easily have a whole discussion topic on Vietnam, it is both controversial and confused and thus a great subject for picking a view and being able to argue it.

Looking at your argument, I can appreciate the view that in the context of SE Asia as a whole it was a lost battle but contributed to an overall won war. Although by that logic both the Korean War and the Malayan Emergency were abject failures. However, the biggest flaw with that line of reasoning to my mind is the value placed on the Domino Theory. I know it was seen as a real concern at the time, but in hindsight it was just not realistic. Communist revolutions happened postwar in China (had been ongoing since the 1930s), Korea (because the USSR occupied half of the country), former French Indo-China (had a large base of Communist guerrillas set up during the Japanese occupation by the Chinese Communists) and Malaysia (significant Chinese minority population). I’m not really counting the Huk rebellion in the Philippines (as this was mostly a reaction to severe US repression of the anti-Japanese guerrillas) or Indonesia’s flirtation with Communism (partly an effort to balance the Islamists and partly an outlet for anti-Imperialism). None of the other countries in the region had conditions half as favourable to the Communists, and the biggest reward the communists could offer (Independence from Imperial masters) was suddenly becoming a complete non-issue as most were either already independent (eg: Thailand), newly independent (eg: India) or could have Independence offered (eg; Malaysia). Short version – the conditions which allowed a handful of countries to fall to the Communists did not exist in any other countries in the neighbourhood. The dominoes would likely have stopped where they did anyway.

 


 

2. In terms of the legislation I can find heaps but I just need one to demonstrate why the colonists had a right to be pissed. If India for example was forcing my local government to order me to house random Indian troops in my house and to feed them I'd be f*cking pissed. As the dominant power England was basically just using the colonies for its own advantage. 

 

Except it isn’t a foreign power (or a ‘dominant power’) doing this – the settlers are British. This is your government, billeting your army on your land (not in your house) and paying you for it, in defence of you and your property. And only if the local barracks couldn’t cope.

Besides, such billeting was not abnormal, and our instinctive modern views about such things were not why people didn’t like soldiers near them historically. Back then the worry was always whether your valuables (including daughters…) would be safe, a concern specifically addressed by this legislation.

 

 

It is interesting to me that this particular example always raises such emotive responses. Why is that?

 


 

In terms of Aus we're still part of the British Commonwealth, the Union Jack is on our flag, and we have a Prime Minister who essentially "knighted" Queen Elizabeth's husband the other day. It's still very British and we have nothing to gain by saying the American colonists were in the right and our mother country Britain was in the wrong, if that wasn't the case. 

 

But that was kind of my point. Australia has a big footprint in both camps (and reasons to like/dislike both). 


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#20 FreddieMercury

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Posted 27 January 2015 - 05:20 PM - 0921020

The colonists had nothing to do with Prussia, to be asked to foot the bill for Prussia's ambitions to keep Silesia is unreasonable.

 

Britain overplayed its hand and lost a valuable colony as a result. It's as simple as that. 


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