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John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY CARL HERMAN IN WASHINGTONBLOG

 

This is just crap.

The author knows very little about these historical characters beyond what is in 8th grade civics classes, which are unfortunately often taught by teachers who also know little.

George Washington, for instance, did not believe in democracy at all. He was an aristocrat and very much believed in “better” and “lesser” men. He was of course also a lifetime slaveholder.

He believed in the British model of a well-trained standing army rather than in all the quaint militia with muskets at home stuff. It was his inability to secure a permanent commission with the British army that drove him towards supporting some degree of independence.

When he was sent by the Continental Congress to Massachusetts to take charge of the only true revolutionaries during the entire war – militias formed there in response to British quartering of troops – he essentially took over from the locals and imposed what he saw as proper order which included the institution of flogging and hanging. We have his letters full of contempt for the Massachusetts militias, calling them “rabble and scum.”

The militias operated on a democratic principle of electing officers, and Washington quickly ended that.

One European historian has accurately described the American revolt as “a local aristocracy pushing out a foreign one.”

Washington proved a terrible general, losing almost all of the battles he fought. If the British hadn’t begun to show some indifference to fighting their cousins and the French hadn’t contributed decisive help, the whole thing would have absolutely fizzled.

The French basically led and fought the decisive victory at Yorktown. Washington had foolishly wanted to attack New York and would have missed a key opportunity. French supplies and arms were decisive also earlier in the conflict at Saratoga.

Incidentally, a rather selfish bunch of colonists latter refused to repay generous French loans (sounds familiar) and helped tip France into real revolution.

It has been estimated that the colonies were divided at approximately one-third Loyalists, on-third indifferent to the whole matter, and one-third “Patriots.” The so-called revolution was always a minority affair.

The Patriots showed their generosity of spirit by wholesale stealing the property of Loyalists after the war, pushing them out to exile, much as Israelis do Palestinians.

Of course, most of the Patriots, those lovers of freedom, were slaveholders. The British Empire eliminated slavery long before America did.

The whole business was not exalted or noble and after the war, the colonies drifted around for years in a chaotic state until the Constitution was established, and that just barely.

Many of the provisions of the early Constitution were not even enforceable, such as the Bill of Rights, which served more as a set of advertising slogans than rules.

There were several early revolts during the revolution and immediately afterwards, including the Revolt of the Pennsylvania Line and Shay’s Rebellion and the Whiskey Rebellion. Washington used force where he was involved.

Thomas Jefferson really distinguished himself in the conflict, always blubbering about freedom but never picking up a gun. When a British troop approached his plantation, he took off on a horse for a wild, desperate ride into hiding. The event actually became a joke among many. Later, when he was asked to serve as a peace negotiator in Europe, he declined out of exaggerated fear of being captured by British ships. Old Ben Franklin gladly went instead.

Jefferson was of course also the subject of whispers for his long affair with slave Sally Hemmings which was started when she was just thirteen, something which today would be called pedophilia.

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