Terrific cartoon on the American Revolution, but oversimplified

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/09/07/terrific-cartoon-on-the-americ.html

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I got about three seconds into the first one and stopped it, because it was made up history rather than real history. Columbus believed he was in the Far East when he was reached the Americas for his entire life. It’s the reason we still use the term “West Indies.” He was so insistent that, when South America got in the way of him just turning that last corner around the Malay Peninsula, he determined the globe must be pear-shaped.

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I got a bit further and found this falsehood. The video implies Britain asked the Colonies for ways to help relieve the debt from the 7 years war before levying a tax. In 1765 the Colonies send a delegation including Benjamin Franklin to lobby that the Crown should request funds and the Colonies would self-tax to raise them. However Prime Minister Greenville forged ahead with the Stamp Tax.

Maybe I’m nitpicking, it’s true that the British position was that they had just fought a global war that chiefly benefited the colonies and were in massive debt, but I think this misses a major point about the disagreement that goes beyond oversimplified.

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History is necessarily messy, but even with the flaws, this is still a lot of fun. Please, keep up the critiques because this is a lot like college where I found out that everything you know is wrong.

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By “determined” you mean he pondered it once in a letter and never spoke about it again that we can tell. It is rather hard to conclude that this was a long held belief or simple pondering and exploration of thought.

For anyone curious, here is the actual text and I’d start around pg 128.

https://books.google.com/books?id=lHdWAAAAcAAJ&pg=PA128#v=onepage&q=128&f=false

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That stopped me before even starting!

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My main gripe, and it’s a big one:

They quote the Declaration of Independence as referring to certain “inalienable rights.”

It’s unalienable.

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And the fact that this war was fought at the behest of the British with the resources and lives of those colonists. The British were asking Colonists to pay for a war which they not ask for and bled for.

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Meh, it was pretty good. Had some good jokes and was a decent overview.

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“Businessman, and future alcoholic beverage, Samuel Adams.”

good one.

In “Seven Myths of the Spanish Conquest” the argument is made that Columbus did this mostly to strengthen his contractual position with Spain. and that his contemporaries didn’t see his discovery as particularly noteworthy - just another mariner among many, and one that didn’t even find a route to the East Indies.

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I don’t like Vikings that much.

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The viking thing was a pretty smooth segue.

Here’s some supplemental viewing:

(Kinda sorta NSFW, but everybody’s seen this one before, right?)

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There were a bunch of instances where the home country could have stopped the split becoming exactly this: British vs. colonists, or as they called the colonists, the Americans.

Many colonists were not English, of course, but some of the troublemakers in Massachusetts at that time were relatable to a type of political English radical like John Wilkes and (before he emigrated) Thomas Paine. Part of the incitement to act up was the timing, with Enlightenment ideals and rhetoric valorizing concepts such as rights, but of course it was also that the colonists had become used to rights such as some self-rule, and of some “free trade” flexibility that was strictly speaking smuggling, and they’d also not been taxed in such an obvious directed way to simply raise cash on them.

The colonists’ political protests had some relations in England, too: in 1768 soldiers (after the reading of the Riot Act) fired on a crowd protesting the imprisonment of John Wilkes on charges of obscene and seditious libel:

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