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"American Revolutionaries Stripped of Myth" Topic

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455 hits since 13 Jan 2021
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP13 Jan 2021 8:50 p.m. PST

"Americans have frequently displayed a fascination toward the Founding Fathers that borders on ancestor worship. More than two centuries after the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were written, citizens pore over the Federalist Papers as if they were holy writ. This is as it should be. But Americans won independence not just with lofty ideas and stirring words but also with force of arms.

Three new books remind us, from different angles of vision, that the American War of Independence was, first and foremost, an exceedingly complex conflict. In North America alone, it stretched from Canada to Georgia and the Atlantic seaboard to the Mississippi River. Contending over this vast expanse of territory were Americans, both Patriots battling for independence and Loyalists still true to the crown; British regular troops, assisted by hired German mercenaries; French forces sent to aid the embattled Americans; and assorted Indian allies on both sides. Great Britain ultimately found itself embroiled in a world war, as several European nations in addition to France supported the infant United States. The fighting spread to the West Indies, the Indian subcontinent and other spots around the globe…."
Read more here



42flanker Supporting Member of TMP In the TMP Dawghouse13 Jan 2021 11:12 p.m. PST

"[A]n exceedingly complex conflict. In North America alone, it stretched from Canada to Georgia…"

"British regular troops, assisted by hired German mercenaries.."

"Not until the late summer of 1781 was Washington able to indulge his penchant for offensive action."

An article from 2006

Who is Robert Cate?

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP13 Jan 2021 11:16 p.m. PST

"…from Canada yo Georgia. )
Florida doesn't count? I

Jeffers13 Jan 2021 11:21 p.m. PST

Not until it gets Disney World.

WillBGoode Supporting Member of TMP In the TMP Dawghouse14 Jan 2021 3:06 a.m. PST

Anyone one anything bout the site history net?

doc mcb14 Jan 2021 8:19 a.m. PST

Historynet is good stuff, and useful.

john snelling14 Jan 2021 10:00 a.m. PST

Is this the myths of all myths? What was the myth? It seems that TMP is becoming The Myth Project. Sorry, I'm just tired of all the myths that are not myths if you know history.

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP14 Jan 2021 12:17 p.m. PST

+1 John snelling
"Exploding myths" is nothing but lazy click bait on the part of the compiler.
It's nothing but "Ooh! Shiny" on the part of he who collects them and dumps them here.
It's nothing but a waste of time for those bored enough to go there.

The only "myths" that are actually exploded are those believed by those who have no interest in the subject anyway.

doc mcb14 Jan 2021 12:44 p.m. PST

Yes, but the piece is a good review of several related books, written for non-specialists.

42flanker Supporting Member of TMP In the TMP Dawghouse14 Jan 2021 10:07 p.m. PST

From 15 years ago.

Virginia Tory19 Jan 2021 1:21 p.m. PST

"mercenaries." Sigh.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP19 Jan 2021 4:48 p.m. PST

First, Yorktown was not a battle but a siege. There is a little more than a 'slight' difference.

Second, the statement in the article, 'Not until the late summer of 1781 was Washington able to indulge his penchant for offensive action.' is just a little misleading. Perhaps the author of the article forget about Trenton, Princeton, and Monmouth as well as the Hollow Way.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP19 Jan 2021 4:50 p.m. PST

"mercenaries." Sigh.

What else would you call them? They were hired to fight someone else's war.

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP19 Jan 2021 5:46 p.m. PST

No. They were drafted, conscripted, press-ganged etc, so their lord and master could rent them out.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP20 Jan 2021 3:06 a.m. PST

Rented or hired, the Germans were still mercenaries fighting a war not of their making. And the British had done this before…

arthur181520 Jan 2021 4:13 a.m. PST

It is only in more recent times that the term 'mercenary' has become a pejorative. In the 17th and 18th centuries it was common for officers to serve with foreign armies to gain military experience; as long as they did not commit treason by fighting against their own sovereign, other officers did not think badly of them.

When it was clear that there was likely to be war with the Marathas in the early 1800s, several British officers serving with Scindhia contacted Wellesley to ask what they should do; his reply was that they should serve out the remainder of their contract, only then should they leave to join the British/HEIC forces.

IIRC, it was after only the ACW that Britain passed the Foreign Enlistment Act making it a crime to join another country's armed forces, BUT none of the British citizens who served in the International Brigade in the Spanish Civil War were prosecuted, nor – to the best of my knowledge – has anyone been who has since enlisted in the French Foreign Legion.

When I joined an amateur drama group and had to fill in a form stating my profession [schoolmaster], I put 'Educational Mercenary'. When they queried it, my reply was, "I'll teach anyone who'll pay me; if they won't pay, I won't teach them. Simples!"

In the context of the AWI, 'mercenary' was simply one of the terms used by the self-styled 'Patriots' to disparage their opponents and stir up hostility to the UK government.

I suppose, Brechtel198, you don't approve of the Gurkhas, either?

When you think about it, all professional soldiers fight for their pay in wars 'not of their own making.' And most people would not do their day jobs if they weren't paid, and will change employers to improve their remuneration. Professional sportsmen regularly play for foreign teams; they are not criticised for being 'mercenary', yet money – and large amounts of it – is clearly the motive for transferring their allegiance to another club.

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