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"Truth V. Myth: The Declaration Of Independence" Topic


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370 hits since 22 Feb 2021
©1994-2021 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP22 Feb 2021 8:29 p.m. PST

"We're starting at the very beginning here. When the average American thinks of what she learned in school about "our country," she flashes back to those paintings of the Founders, standing around a very small table in Philadelphia in 1776, and again around a very similar table in 1787. They're all signing a paper—the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution. And thank God they are all signing one of these papers, because enshrined in each are the very ideals that make America the greatest nation on Earth.

So the young American is told, and if she thinks twice about it, she feels good about what she's learned. America is all right…."
From here
link

Amicalement
Armand

doc mcb22 Feb 2021 8:39 p.m. PST

Looks pretty good, I like it.

15th Hussar23 Feb 2021 5:22 a.m. PST

After reading "Six Frigates", itself being a pocket history of our nation during the formative years, I see much merit to this account…though the slavery thing being on the way out is a tiny bit of a stretch.

BillyNM23 Feb 2021 6:32 a.m. PST

A revolution is a rebellion that succeeds in replacing an exiting form of government with a different one, that's all. It does not imply it's progressive (and that term depends on one's perspective). So, aside from the fact that the local elite were now free from any control/governance from across the ocean what material change was there in the social system? I'm all for self-determination but let's not dress it up as more than it was.

doc mcb23 Feb 2021 8:58 a.m. PST

No, it really was a revolution. As to slavery, it ended after 1776 throughout the north, and there was increased anti-slavery sentiment in the south, though not enough to overcome the new effect of the cotton gin. But the socio-political status and power of non-affluent white men certainly improved; see Jeffersonian democracy. And the west was opened up, which inexorably pushed things in a democratic direction. And the Second Great Awakening immediately began to reshape society in non-elitist ways.

What it was NOT is a class struggle. Trying to understand the American Revolution in Marxist terms, with the French Revolution as one's model, is a losing proposition.

doc mcb23 Feb 2021 9:01 a.m. PST

DeToqueville's DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA has it right, for the most part.

pzivh43 Supporting Member of TMP23 Feb 2021 9:15 a.m. PST

Agree, doc mcb.

It was not revolutionary that every man should be equal and have rights that come from God, and not be subject to the whims of a monarchy class system? Give me a break.

Slavery was a condition of the times. That the founders didn't abolish it was a recognition that it was not possible in order to accomplish their revolution. Some of the founders were probably racist, but together they laid the foundation to move away from that system and toward a more full practice of the ideals.

doc mcb23 Feb 2021 10:12 a.m. PST

Mike, yes. Racist by our enlightened standards, but it is problematical to expect ancestors to be as fully evolved as we are, especially when they contributed to that evolution.

MiniPigs In the TMP Dawghouse23 Feb 2021 10:46 a.m. PST

Some of the founders were probably racist

Gee, ya think?!!!

George Washington didn't want black men in the continental army and got them officially barred.

Mike, yes. Racist by our enlightened standards, but it is problematical to expect ancestors to be as fully evolved as we are, especially when they contributed to that evolution.

They may have been racist but they were also human beings.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP23 Feb 2021 11:08 a.m. PST

Happy you enjoyed it my friend! (smile)

Amicalement
Armand

doc mcb23 Feb 2021 2:26 p.m. PST

My point is that assumptions we consider racist were so widely held as to be near universal.

doc mcb23 Feb 2021 2:28 p.m. PST

So is this a "racist" poem?

On Being Brought from Africa to America
BY PHILLIS WHEATLEY

'Twas mercy brought me from my Pagan land,
Taught my benighted soul to understand
That there's a God, that there's a Saviour too:
Once I redemption neither sought nor knew.
Some view our sable race with scornful eye,
"Their colour is a diabolic die."
Remember, Christians, Negros, black as Cain,
May be refin'd, and join th' angelic train.

Bill N24 Feb 2021 6:16 a.m. PST

Maybe not too revolutionary:

We, who are as good as you, swear to you, who are no better than we, to accept you as our king and sovereign lord, provided you observe all our liberties and laws; but if not, not.

doc mcb24 Feb 2021 8:46 a.m. PST

The "as good as you" was new and revolutionary. The "observe all our liberties and laws" goes back to Magna Carta. Is an unstoppable but slow moving freight train revolutionary?

Bill N24 Feb 2021 1:17 p.m. PST

Doc, I am told that was the medieval Catalan Oath of Allegiance to the King of Aragon It was around "a few years" before the AWI.

MiniPigs In the TMP Dawghouse24 Feb 2021 1:48 p.m. PST

What does Phillis Wheatley have to do with George Washington's desire to keep blacks out of the army? Incidentally, this wasn't some casual viewpoint, he insisted on this exclusion and to the surprise of many in congress who knew we needed the soldiers.

My point is that assumptions we consider racist were so widely held as to be near universal.

Wait, wait, wait, this is a really important concept and i dont want it to fizzle out.

So… basically, if we were all racist… then there would be no racism?

OMG, then…we've been wasting our time trying to combat and educate against racism; according to you, the better strategy is to embrace it and go racist supernova!

Oh, doc, you just blew my mind.

doc mcb24 Feb 2021 3:15 p.m. PST

What does Phillis Wheatley have to do with George Washington's desire to keep blacks out of the army? Incidentally, this wasn't some casual viewpoint, he insisted on this exclusion and to the surprise of many in congress who knew we needed the soldiers.

The topic is revolutionary principles and not blacks in the army. PW corresponded with GW, iirc, and dedicated one of her poems to him. The point here, though, is that a slave herself used "racist" language.


So… basically, if we were all racist… then there would be no racism?

OMG, then…we've been wasting our time trying to combat and educate against racism; according to you, the better strategy is to embrace it and go racist supernova!

Good grief. Words have meanings. You just sort of imagine what you think I must have meant.

Oh, doc, you just blew my mind.

It is a sign of progress and indeed of the difficulty of progress that we move from mostly racist assumptions to not. Hurrah for us.

MiniPigs In the TMP Dawghouse24 Feb 2021 7:37 p.m. PST

Lol, oh doc, you need to write a winter romantic comedy based around Washington and Wheatley. You could call it 'Whitewashed Wheat".

I dont think you meant any harm at all. I admire Washington and recognize that he had enormous talents…but, that doesn't mean I look the other way when he goes out of his way to be unkind.

It would be helpful to bring the founders back today and ask them if given a second chance, what would they have changed?

doc mcb25 Feb 2021 4:43 a.m. PST

MP, you are trying to bully the past instead of trying to understand it. They didn't think like we do on some things. Really? No kidding? What an amazing thing!

You'd do better to confront things like the Wheatley poem that challenge your assumptions, instead of dismissing what makes you uncomfortable. (See, I can -- probably inaccurately -- attribute dubious motives to you, as well; it is easy enough to do, even if groundless.)

MiniPigs In the TMP Dawghouse25 Feb 2021 6:15 a.m. PST

MP, you are trying to bully the past instead of trying to understand it. They didn't think like we do on some things. Really? No kidding? What an amazing thing!

You'd do better to confront things like the Wheatley poem that challenge your assumptions, instead of dismissing what makes you uncomfortable. (See, I can -- probably inaccurately -- attribute dubious motives to you, as well; it is easy enough to do, even if groundless.)

Curses, foiled again.

You've completely exposed my plan to discredit Washington's moves to ban blacks from the army. His tender friendship with Wheatley is proof that his true motive in barring blacks from the Continental army was in order to spare their precious lives.

doc mcb25 Feb 2021 6:57 a.m. PST

You have been the only one talking about GW and blacks in the army. I assume that is accurate, and if so I further assume it was for the same reason that Virginia limited free blacks in the militia to unarmed roles such as musician and pioneer. It was well understood that military service and political status go together, in the long run. Virginia had understood that at least since Bacon's Rebellion in 1676.

But of course the widespread participation of poor whites in militia is another way in which the war WAS revolutionary. In Philadelphia, and some other towns, the militia organization amounted to a popular political party opposed to wealthier interests. See the Battle of Fort Wilson.

doc mcb25 Feb 2021 7:02 a.m. PST

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