Over the years I’ve had doubts about the claim that the American Revolutionary war was fought for freedom and democracy. This came about after noticing that the Americans are ALWAYS fighting for freedom. They don’t have any other explanation for things it seems. I also was not convinced things were bad enough in colonial times to warrant this reaction. I even noticed that some historians had to struggle to explain it. A revolutionary war fought over taxes??? It just doesn’t seem that convincing. Something just didn’t seem right.
As I’ve looked at it, I’m inclined to think that the American Revolutionary war was probably brought to violence and war because of two unplanned firings of guns than anything else.
I agree there were political tensions. There were! But the history of the British Empire, if anyone cares to look, is nothing but one political tension after another . . . and seldom did it lead to a war for independence. There were riots, armed clashes, and the King even had to seek refuge in the Tower of London to escape the rampaging mob, but seldom an attempted split with the government. Looking at the dispute in the colonies was, frankly, no different than looking at what was going on in England for centuries. It seemed like ‘business as usual’ as far as I’m concerned.
But, during one of these armed disputes (which has been seen before and since in British history) the colonial militia confronted the British in a line ready to shoot. Then, out of nowhere, a shot was heard. This started everyone to shoot killing people on both sides. This is the so-called ‘shot heard round the world’. As far as I know, they are unaware where the shot came from. But, you see, this shot was not planned.
Shortly thereafter, people were pissed and there was a small angry mob that collected in Boston. Soldiers stood around to keep the people back. At this time, it was the policy of the British to pull the hammer back on their muskets, so it’s ready to fire. A small old lady, who was part of the angry mob, pulled on a soldiers bayonet in anger. This moved the musket forward in the soldiers still hand. This basically depressed the trigger and it fired. And so . . . all the soldiers open fired. This is the Boston Massacre.
Two unplanned firings of guns that caused a group of soldiers to open fire, killing colonists. Had these not of happened would there of been a revolutionary war? My personal opinion: unlikely. These killings, particularly of the common people in Boston, turned a common political dispute into an act of aggression. It had now turned violent. Had these events not of taken place the events of the 1770’s would probably just be a small paragraph in the history books describing yet another period of time when the colonists were upset with the government.
Oftentimes we see this in history. There are tensions, hatreds, and such that run high but they seldom lead to violence. But, under those heated emotions, if an event takes place, even accidentally, it can lead to war and other things. When emotions run hot even a rumor can have catastrophic effects. But if nothing like that happens the tensions relax, hatreds become forgotten, and everything is as it was. This is common in actuality. Many times crisis is so hot that a spark is all that’s needed but, yet, no spark comes. And so nothing happens. No one looks at these conflicts much . . . nothing happened! They end up becoming footnotes in the history books.
Another example involving the British Empire is with India. As with the US, there were tensions, emotions ran hot. It had been like that for decades though and nothing much happened. People, like Ghandhi, went around saying stuff but no one really took that much notice. And then, one day, a British officer, ordered his troops to open fire on a group of unarmed Indian common people. This decision was not approved of by the British high command, nor were they aware it was going to happen. He made that decision on the spot. As in the American Revolutionary war it was a spark that started off a conflict that led to the liberation of India. People that weren’t paid much attention to, such as Ghandhi, all of a sudden became leaders and their message glorified. It became the ‘cause’. Another unplanned violent event starts a major conflict.
As with Ghandhi in India the American colonies had to have a ‘cause’ to justify itself. For the American colonies they used ‘democracy’ and ‘freedom’ as their ‘cause’ and excuse for the war. Why? Because it was convenient, really. It was the popular educated person’s philosophy of the times. They used what they had at the time. It was also common thought for many educated British men at the time. What else are they going to use? As a result, ‘democracy’ and ‘freedom’ would be elevated practically above the Bible as a source of authority and justification.
The net result is the myth that the American Revolutionary war was fought for ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’. In reality, it was just a common political dispute that, by unplanned events, turned violent and started a revolution. There was really no ‘high cause’ with it as is claimed. That’s just how they justified it.