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I get frustrated by the 4th of July.

Don't get me wrong, I like America and Americans, but of all the holidays they celebrate, I get most irritated by the 4th of July.

I've been to a bunch of historical sites and quite a few reference American Independence (I've been to Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, Mount Vernon and Montecello for example). These sites impress me, but some of the language used in them infuriate me.

They all made reference to English tyranny. This is a novel idea to me (I'm English in case you don't know). To the English, we saved your butts in the 7-Years War and all we wanted you to was just pay your share of the costs (and the landed gentry in America didn't like this).

Could the English have recouped the costs you incurred more effectively? Yes, but were we tyrannical because we wanted Americans to recognize (and pay for) our help? Hell no.



( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 1st, 2007 10:58 pm (UTC)
I hope you write with your tongue in your cheek.

The British parliament provision requiring colonial authorities to provide food, drink, quarters, fuel, and transportation to British forces stationed in their towns or villages was passed primarily in response to greatly increased empire defense costs in America following the French and Indian War and Pontiac's War. Like the Stamp act of the same year, it also was an assertion of British authority over the colonies, in disregard of the fact that troop financing had been exercised for 150 years by representative provincial assemblies rather than by the Parliament in London. The act was particularly resented in New York, where the largest number of reserves were quartered, and outward defiance led directly to the Suspending Act as part of the Townshend legislation of 1767. After considerable tumult, the Quartering Act was allowed to expire in 1770. An additional quartering stipulation was included in the Intolerable Acts of 1774.

It was actually the Intolerable Acts which brought the colonies to revolution, the collective name of four punitive measures enacted by the British Parliament in retaliation for acts of colonial defiance, together with the Quebec Act establishing a new administration for the territory ceded to Britain after the French and Indian War (1754-63).

Angered by the Boston Tea Party (1773), the British government passed the Boston Port Bill, closing that city's harbour until restitution was made for the destroyed tea. Second, the Massachusetts Government Act abrogated the colony's charter of 1691, reducing it to the level of a crown colony, substituting a military government under Gen. Thomas Gage, and forbidding town meetings without approval.

The third, the Administration of Justice Act, was aimed at protecting British officials charged with capital offenses during law enforcement by allowing them to go to England or another colony for trial. The fourth Coercive Act included new arrangements for housing British troops in occupied American dwellings, thus reviving the indignation that surrounded the earlier Quartering Act, which had been allowed to expire in 1770.

The Quebec Act, under consideration since 1773, removed all the territory and fur trade between the Ohio and Mississippi from possible colonial jurisdiction and awarded it to the province of Quebec. By establishing French civil law and the Roman Catholic religion in the coveted area, the act raised the spectre of popery before the mainly Protestant colonies.

The Intolerable Acts represented an attempt to reimpose strict British control, but after 10 years of vacillation, the decision to be firm had come too late. Rather than cowing Massachusetts and separating it from the other colonies, the oppressive measures became the justification for convening the First Continental Congress later in that same year of 1774.

Good ole King George had his chance to make things right in the colonies
with the the Olive Branch Petition, a document that declared the colonists' loyalty to the Britsh king. This document was one of the last atempts to make peace prior to the revolution. The petition also states that the colonists wanted the Intorable Acts repeled. King George III rejected the petition and the colonists had no other choice but to revolt.

Jul. 2nd, 2007 12:12 am (UTC)
Firstly, let me say that what I wrote was largely tongue in cheek, but with elements of seriousness to it.

I'm probably going to really irritate you with what I say next (and you're more than welcome to say I'm a smelly English person and never speak to me again if I do), but in response to your first paragraph about Parliament requiring the Colonies to provide food, drink and quarters to British forces stationed there, it does make sense to do that from a logistical point of view, given that they were there defending you.

In addition, you could also argue that going from a "defensive garrison" troop level to an "offensive let's beat the French" troop level requires more troops and given that the Americans gained considerably from the war, they should make a contribution to paying for it.

This having been said, I understand that Americans might be upset with this idea and understand why the Founding Fathers wrote "anti-quartering" ideas into the Constitution.

With respect to the "Coercive Acts," I have to admit the Brits handled it spectaularly badly. They used far too much stick and not enough carrot. These days you might've seen the government going on some sort of charm offensive to win people over (rather than attempting to kick arse and take names -at least in public). That they didn't only made a bad situation much much worse.

With respect to things like the Olive Branch Petition, I don't pretend to know a huge ammount about it, but my understanding is that while some supported it, a number of others (including John Adams and Alexander Hamilton) decided that the Coercive Acts had "rented the relationship assunder" and there was no chance of a meeting of the minds by that stage.

Don't get me wrong, I can see why Americans did what they did, I was just trying to make the point I've been brought up with an alternative point of view and now Im being faced with the American side "front and center" as I live about here now.
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