Watching the History Channel's "The Revolution" last night on the tivobox with Mom 'n Dad, and I noticed something that I think I must have learned in AP American History but never really thought about:The Patriots were dicks.
They pulled off some really awesome stuff in creating a country like nothing anyone had ever seen before, but also, dicks.
Sure, the British did their share of stupid stuff, like thinking that clamping down with martial law was the way to shut down a burgeoning rebellion, but y'know, we started it.
Why, you say?
Well, the Revolution was started over the Stamp Act, which you probably learned about. Parliament said that we had to buy a stamp to go on, like, every piece of paper we had - I think the show put it as "everything from legal documents to playing cards".
But here's the part that gets me. You probably learned about this as just another obnoxious Parliament thinking they could squeeze the colonies for no reason thing, an affront to liberty, etc. But what the Stamp Act Tax was meant to pay for was the Seven Years' War, which in our part of the world was known as the French and Indian War.
The British sent troops to defend the colonies against attack. And won. But it cost something like 40 million pounds, in 1700s money. Parliament set up the Stamp Act to try to get the colonies to help cover some of the debt they'd incurred.
Yup, the Revolution was started by people who expected their government to give them stuff without them having to pay for it. They don't call them Republicans for nothing, amirite?
The patriots believed in free speech, and exercised it by destroying the printing presses used by people who disagreed with them.
And the Boston Massacre. Oh, man. A bunch of people start a riot, try to kill some soldiers with rocks, the soldiers freak, and some people are killed by muskets not even aimed at them, and somehow this is the soldiers' fault. But you know what's awesome? I didn't know this - John Adams was their lawyer, and saved them all from being executed. He thought that it was important that the patriots not lose sight of basic rights, even if they were for British soldiers.
Anyway, this all just snowballed into some actual fair grievances, which the British just kept slapping down instead of dealing with, and these dicks went on to become some of the most impressive statesmen in history, and rightfully so, considering all they managed to do.
So I say Happy Birthday, America! Hold your head high and say, "We're dicks! And that's awesome!"