The War for Independence isn’t just a simple tale of heroism and yearning for freedom.
Howard Zinn’s history (click here) pointed out that a major cause of the conflict had to do with the British treaties with the Natives. The British had promised no further westward expansion, while the colonialists fully intended to do just what they did to the Natives all the way to the Pacific.
African Americans were ill treated during and after the war. (click here) The defeated British did try to carry out their promise to free all their African American soldiers around New York and were quicker to end official slavery altogether than were the racists in the South.
The newly created United States distinguished itself among “civilized” nations for racism, imperialism and genocide over the next century. In 1854, Frederick Douglas’ July 4th speech asked, “What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us? and am I, therefore, called upon to bring our humble offering to the national altar, and to confess the benefits and express devout gratitude for the blessings resulting from your independence to us? Would to God, both for your sakes and ours, that an affirmative answer could be truthfully returned to these questions!” (click here)
Did the British enjoy some moral high ground over the colonialists? Were the people our ancestors fought better or worse than the ones they fought against? Few of us today are so knowledgeable as to be able to make that call. Certainly not I!
But we are not honest people if we don’t consider all the aspects of our history that are clearly at hand.