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The Fourth Of July
KEYWORDS: independence day, america, patriotism,history


Almost every man in a reltionship dreams of having an extra partner join in for a threesome. But over in overtly religious America they have some stange ideas about who might be joining them for kinky group sex.

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The Fourth Of July

Posted: 2009-07-04

Independence Day

Looking around American blogs today I cannot help noticing how many American commentators cannot celebrate their nation's Independence Day without using it as an excuse for a Brit hating session. They seem unaware that the rallying call of the revolutionaries was not "They can take our lives but they'll never take our freedom." but the more mundane "No Taxation Without Representation". Americans really should not write about the War Of Independence if their only historical research has been to watch that stupid film Mel Gibson made, The Patriot.

The War of Independence was fought over taxation and representation in Parliament not over the liberty of citizens in the American colonies. Colonial citizens enjoyed all the rights and liberties of British residents with the exception of a vote in elections. The American rebels were not doughty libertarian individualists fighting overwhelming odds but a well organised, well led guerrilla force opposing an army of occupation whose hearts just weren't in the job.

To understand what really happened you have to understand British history of the period. Since the beginning of the eighteenth century the protestant Hanoverians had held the British throne. The House of Hanover was very strong in the mainly protestant south east of Britain but was hated in the more Catholic north and non - conformist west who wanted a restoration of the Stuart monarchy. It is commonly thought that the Stuarts were a Catholic dynasty but that is not true, they tolerated Catholicism while the Hanoverians outlawed it.

The leaders of the revolution actually considered asking the Stuart pretender Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) to become King of the new state but decided a constitution was better than a King (Quite right too.)

Many of the British Army officers serving in the colonies were from families that had supported the Stuart uprising of 1745 and had their lands and property confiscated as a result. That happened to my own family but the Thorpes did not head for America, we got into the smuggling business and helped people avoid the oppressive Hanoverian taxes that afflicted British as well as American subjects of the crown.

The American colonies were not just upset by the monstrous and unfair taxes but by the government's denial of appeals to grant Americans representation in the London Parliament. As late as 1774 Benjamin Franklin was in London working with Parliamentarians sympathetic to the colonists to win seats in the Parliament for elected representatives who would speak for the colonists. When King George on the advice of his courtiers refused this the colonies went on a tax strike. That is what prompted the British to attack rebels.

As for all this nonsense about the "cruel British oppression" read history books instead of taking on board Hollywood dross and you learn one of the strange things about the War of Independence was that the senior officers of both sides were often on very good terms, in some cases sharing a meal on the eve of battle to show there was nothing personal in the hostilities. So when one writer says:

The repression in the wake of a British victory would more than likely have made the Intolerable Acts seem like a walk in the park.

it is just not true. Had the British won, the leaders of the revolution would have been executed for treason (or more probably helped to escape to French or Spanish colonies on the American mainland) but otherwise things would have gone on much as before. The Hanoverians were stupid but they were not idiots. The American colonies were a major source of income for the state. Not only that, the people of the American colonists were our people, British people, most were still in touch with families in Britain. The British public would never have stood for it and the monarchy was well aware of that. A century and a half later Irish independence was gained because the sympathy of a majority of British people was with the Republicans.

Another myth that should be exploded is that early settlers were hounded out of Britain for religious reasons. This again is not true. While the American nation from its inception kept religion and state apart the Church of England was part of the British state. That may have been wrong but it's how things were, the past is a foreign country and all that.

Because of the status of the Church, the Anglican Parish was an important stratum of government with responsibility for roads and pathways, the poor law, orphans, criminal and civil courts and other civic functions including the collection of local taxes. Thus when people wanted to break from the Church they put themselves outside the law. This was tolerated if those religious sects lived in their own communities and did not preach sedition but when they demanded the protections provided by the Church of England that was not going to be tolerated.

There were cases of people being driven out of a community because of their religious views. These concerned members of puritanical and extremist sects who thought God wanted them on seeing women who went in the street with uncovered heads, to insult, spit at, throw dung at and accuse those women of being whores. These were the wives and daughters of people who chose a more relaxed lifestyle and often when things went too far vigilante groups would form to persuade the extremists to leave. It was not religious persecution but a reaction to anti social behaviour.

When the American nation was formed with the constitution's proviso that there would be no official church a system of local government (state, county and city authorities) was implemented to take on some of those functions The Church Of England had performed. It was a few decades later when reformist pressure in Britain loosened the links between state and Church. For some reason many Americans find in that a reason to proclaim the moral superiority of America which really is an insult to Britain as the case is the American government was working with a blank slate while reformers in Britain could not easily sweep away over a thousand years of tradition.

I wish all Americans a good July 4th and salute their nation but they should all ask themselves does it really do America any credit to misrepresent history in order to make other nations look bad by comparison. That kind of flag waving, drum beating patriotism was discredited in 1918 in Europe and while Barack Obama's supporters like to pretend America's lack of popularity in the outside world was entirely due to the Bush presidency actually the harm was done long before that by the kind of faux patriotism displayed in the above article.

We all love our own nations it is not an affliction peculiar to Americans. Some of us with a stronger sense of history try to respect other people's nations while loving our own.

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