See bitches? This is what happens when you mess with the colonies! I mean, America!
Yeah! 'Murica! Smashing the oppressor since 1775! Well, that is when some other country is the oppressor. When America is doing the oppressing, that's different. Because, 'Murica!
The last couple of posts, I've told you all about the difference between what we're taught about American heros, and what the actual truth is. Contrary to what some readers felt, I wasn't commenting so much on the people, as I was on the lack of facts that our educators choose to teach us. If we were taught the truth, and not some conceptualized version of the truth, our country might be a better place.
Today I'm going to alter your knowledge of how America became an independent country. It's not a major bombshell, like, the Revolutionary War never happened. It did. Just not for the reasons you thought.
We're taught that the British ruled the American colonies with an iron fist. They levied unfair taxes. They taxed us without us having proper representation in the government. The British were constantly forcing the colonists to fight in their wars of empire expansion. They ignored all the unhappiness of the colonists about how they were ruled.
But let's examine the truth.
Britain ignored American complaints. While it's true that the British government didn't respond to the complaints of the colonists, there is a simple reason for that. They simply didn't know about them. The Continental Congress appointed one Benjamin Franklin to act as a go between between the colonists and British parliament. And when the congress gave Franklin a list of complaints to report to the British, he sailed off to England and......partied.
He never informed the British that the colonies were unhappy. Ever. So when a rebellion started to rise, the British were clueless as to why. As far as they knew, things were working just fine, and everyone was happy. Had they known the colonists had issues, they would have addressed them. For the British, the colonies were an incredible source of resources, and taxes.
But they didn't know, because Franklin never told them. And, he never told them, because he was rich. He couldn't understand what the common people were complaining about. 'Stamp act? Just pay it then join me in France for a month long party!'. The rest of the leaders had a slightly better grasp on the publics sentiment, but Franklin was clueless, just like the British.
Britain taxed the crap out of the colonies. It's only natural that Britain would levy taxes on the colonies. After all, it was Britain who protected the colonies from enemies, both foreign and domestic. That costs money. And, there were the administration costs of running the colonies. Some taxes would be reasonable, but the fact is, Britain repealed every single tax levied against the colonies. Why would they do that, you may ask. The reason is, the colonists didn't pay them anyway. Britain felt that, as long as the colonies were productive and happy, they would ignore the fact that they didn't pay taxes. And in 1773, officially repealed them all.
So, the colonists were unhappy about the taxes they didn't have to pay, and that were repealed.
"But, what about the tax on tea? Boston Tea Party much?" The British were going broke. So they decided to tax tea. It was actually a very reasonable tax. It didn't increase the cost of tea noticeably, (about $25 a month. For all the colonies, combined), and Britain felt, (rightly as we shall see), that the colonists should pay the crown a little bit for all the services she rendered.
Britain used colonists to fight their wars of expansion. One of the main reasons the British had to levy a tax on tea was to pay for the extra expense the military incurred in the colonies. But, it wasn't because of their wars of expansion. It was because of the colonists wars of expansion.
The tax on tea was levied to pay for one war specifically. And that was the French and Indian war. And, the British had nothing to do with it. The colonists decided they wanted to expand into the Ohio Valley. Unfortunately, the French were already there. They had settled it many years back, and Britain never challenged it as they felt they could share the new land.
So, George Washington, who was an officer in the British army, took orders, not from his commanders, but from the leaders of the Virginia colony, and attacked into French territory. And, he basically got his ass handed to him. France, understandably, was pissed. And the colonies started begging Britain for help. So, Britain sent troops, and eventually defeated the French and Indians.
And, since the colonies were 100% responsible for that war, Britain felt they should pay for just a little bit of it. But no. Colonists dressed up like Indians and got drunk, and threw a boat load of tea into Boston harbor. Because, how dare Britain tax us for something that was our fault?
The colonies had no representation in the British government. That would have been a terrible thing, if it were actually true. Each colony was ruled by a British governor. These governors were in continual communication with the government. The colonists had Franklin, who visited parliament frequently. There were elected members of parliament who spent more time looking out for the interests of the colonies than they did for the people that elected them.
The colonies were very good for Britain. And it was in the governments best interest to keep the colonists happy. And they tried. But, the colonial leaders were all spoiled rich kids. And like spoiled rich kids today, they would play fast and loose with the truth to get their way.
Britain ruled with an iron fist. The colonies were oppressed. If it weren't for the spoiled rich white guys, the common man would be absolutely crushed by the heartless British.
Take the Boston Massacre, for example. It started when a wigmakers apprentice, William Garrick, yelled at a British officer that he hadn't paid his bill to the owner of the shop where he worked. (it was discovered later that the bill had been paid in full). A British private yelled back that he should show a little respect to the officer. This pissed off Garrick, and he and a group of people started yelling at, and insulting the soldiers. To try and get the situation under control, the officer called out more men.
While the rest of the British soldiers were mustering, the crowd around them was growing. And, it started getting unruly. At the height of the tension, there were about 300 civilians surrounding 8 British troops. That's when a shot was fired.
During an investigation after the fact, no one could say who fired the shot. No one was even sure if it was the British, or someone in the crowd.
However, at the shot, the British troops, without orders, fired. In the end, 5 were killed and 6 were wounded. The troops were all placed under arrest and set on trial, (they were defended by John Adams), where 6 were acquitted and 2 were convicted of manslaughter.
When the incident was publicized, it was made out to be an unprovoked attack by a superior British force on a small group of unarmed civilians. Unfortunately, that's also what they teach in schools.
And, the main instigator behind the Boston Tea Party, John Hancock, had ulterior motives for it. The colonists bought things from smugglers about as much as they bought them from the British. And, one of the biggest smugglers was, John Hancock. And the main item he smuggled? Tea. And the more tea colonists bought from the British was less profit for Hancock.
So, Hancock spread rumors about how unfair the tax was, and how the colonists should revolt against it. And he led them in that revolt because he was greedy.
Americas independence from England was, I think inevitable. It was bound to happen someday, and maybe it wouldn't have taken a war. But, because the colonial leaders were all spoiled, rich, white men, they decided they were going to take unilateral action, and they would lie to the commoners to get them to follow along.
And, it seems, their influence extends to todays teachers. They continue to teach that Britain was the bad guy, and America was the innocent victim.
While Britain wasn't a perfect ruler, the colonial leaders exaggerated their offenses, and history has perpetuated them.
In reality, the colonial leaders needed to be spanked and sent to bed without dinner.
The reason for this post was to make a comment on the education system. I'm not commenting on wether or not we should have fought the revolution, or if we should still be British. The point of this post is to inform people that, what they were taught growing up, and what kids today are still taught, just isn't true. And, if we don't teach the truth, how can we expect future generations to learn from our mistakes? Schools seem to fear teaching about anything negative. But, history is made up of people. And, just as they do today, people in the past made mistakes. The broke laws, they lied, they stole, they cheated. We need to stop holding the figures of the past up as infallible people, and teach the truth. That while they did great things, they also did some not-so-great things, too. And, history isn't always what you think it is.