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"The American Revolution Was Just One Battlefront in a Huge" Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP16 Sep 2021 4:39 p.m. PST

…World War

"When Americans think of world wars, they picture 20th-century scenes—the blood-drenched trenches at the Battle of the Somme where a million men were injured or killed in 1916, the German blitz that rained death down on London night after night during the autumn of 1940, or the ugly mushroom cloud rising like a behemoth above Hiroshima in August 1945.

A new exhibition at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., invites Americans to recognize another world war—one that has been traditionally envisioned as a quaint and simple confrontation between a ragtag army of rebellious colonists and a king's mighty military force of red-coated Brits. "The American Revolution: A World War" demonstrates with new scholarship how the 18th-century fight for independence fit into a larger, international conflict that involved Great Britain, France, Spain, the Dutch Republic, Jamaica, Gibraltar and even India. "If it had not become that broader conflict, the outcome might very well have been different," says David K. Allison, project director, curator of the show and co-author of a new forthcoming book on the subject. "As the war became bigger and involved other allies for American and other conflicts around the world, that led Britain to make the kind of strategic decisions it did, to ultimately grant the colonies independence and use their military resources elsewhere in the world."…"
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By the way…
A timeline of George Washington's military and political career during the American Revolution, 1774-1783.



Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP16 Sep 2021 8:24 p.m. PST

This is old news. There is a standard list of world wars, primarily between the British and French empires but with lots of other participants, that go from the wars of William of Orange and Queen Anne up through Waterloo, roughly 125 years in which there were about 60 years of warfare. The American Revolutionary War was one of them. Any competent history course would mention them.

42flanker17 Sep 2021 2:35 a.m. PST

"we are served up a far more world-beat story about the 1770s"

So, that's all right, then.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP17 Sep 2021 4:16 a.m. PST

Any competent history course would mention them.

Define 'competent.'

A major problem in the teaching of history in middle and high schools is that usually, but not always, the history positions are the last filled and usually by a teacher who has not majored in history let alone be a historian.

See Diane Ravitch's The Language Police.

To complicate matters further, the quality of history books available for adoption in middle and high schools is overwhelmingly poor.

And the series of wars in North American culminating in the War of the Revolution were the making of the United States in large part. Understanding that period, and the War of the Revolution itself, is critical in understanding the Founding and the Founders.

And, unfortunately, understanding Washington and the Continental Army he built is also critical and is least understood. No other American army up to the present day underwent such hardship or gained as much for the country.

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP17 Sep 2021 4:40 a.m. PST

Kevin, yes, pretty much.

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP17 Sep 2021 5:45 a.m. PST

I would quarrel with the "just" part of the thread title. Of course the French and Spanish were not interested in colonies winning independence from the mother country; they wanted revenge on Britain. France in particular had rebuilt its military and was eager for another round against the Brits. However, absent the Revolution the war would not have occurred when it did, and portions of French society, INCLUDING THE COURT, were very interested in and influenced by revolutionary thinking. Remember Marie Antoinette's milk maids, and the lionizing of Franklin, and Lafayette. India was arguably the main battle front, but once the Treaty of Paris was signed between the US and GtBrit the rest of the war ended quickly.

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP17 Sep 2021 5:48 a.m. PST

Fletcher Pratt's chapter on this, emphasizing Suffren's campaigns, is still very useful. In BATTLES THAT CHANGED HISTORY.

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP17 Sep 2021 6:13 a.m. PST

Our old friend Brendan Morrissey, aka Supercilious Maximus, write a nice fully illustrated book on the American Revolution as a global war.
ISBN 1-57145-541-8

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP17 Sep 2021 8:30 a.m. PST

Do you mean this one?

The American Revolution: The Global Struggle for National Independence


Then there is this one-still an excellent reference despite its age:

American Heritage Book of the Revolution by Bruce Lancaster. The text is excellent as are the myriad illustrations.


I believe the American Heritage volume to be the better of the two.

Personal logo Andrew Walters Supporting Member of TMP17 Sep 2021 9:55 a.m. PST

The eighteenth century was full of global conflict between European powers. From a point of view anywhere outside the US it was a sideshow. It was a run-of-the-mill episode in an ongoing series that introduced a character that lead to a spinoff as popular as the original show.

Personal logo The Virtual Armchair General Sponsoring Member of TMP17 Sep 2021 10:24 a.m. PST

So… Since in the name of greater and scientific precision, our solar system dropped from the original 9 planets to 8, shouldn't history follow the same tack and start renumbering our World Wars?

By my count, what ended in 1945 was more like World War IV.

Does anyone propose a better numbering system?

I'd only specify that combat had to occur in all seven seas and on every continent save Australia and Antarctica to meet the definition of a "World War," rather than the number of combatants.


Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP17 Sep 2021 10:51 a.m. PST

I'm still holding out for Pluto being a real planet.
And for naming the mysterious Planet Nine Planet Ten.

I also wonder how soldiers at the Somme would have felt that this was only World War 1.
If you're only in Year 1 of the Thirty Years War, would you despair that it would drag on for another 28? Or if it's Year 29, do you breathe a sigh of relief?

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP17 Sep 2021 10:53 a.m. PST

And why leave Australia and Antarctica out of the mix? Hmmmm? Is that anti-antipodean prejudice?

arthur181517 Sep 2021 10:57 a.m. PST

Renaming historical wars World War X simply because there was fighting on several continents simply results in boring, unmemorable names, whereas the original names are more interesting and often signal the major area of conflict, its most significant effect or indicate the combatants.

Leave well alone.

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP17 Sep 2021 11:25 a.m. PST

The War of the Polish Succession was fought in Italy, so that brings into question the naming process.

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP17 Sep 2021 1:05 p.m. PST

I have both books. Overall I prefer Brendan's book.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP17 Sep 2021 3:31 p.m. PST



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