Sailing with History
While conveying the Battle of the Capes and the Siege of Yorktown to a group of six along the York River, Susan Jennaro got to talking about what a good job the interpreters do at Colonial Williamsburg. One thing they don’t have time to delve in is why people living fairly well off would rebel against Great Britain.
I postulated Gordon S. Woods’ theory that the people weren’t fighting to gain freedom, but to keep it. As early as 1760 New Englanders felt entirely free of British constraint. A raft of objections grew as the years wore on to 1776 and the beginning of the American Revolution.
1. Taxes on stamps, and later tea, were symbolic examples of government interference.
2. Other economic grievances mounted in the form of tariffs and surcharges.
3. We lost respect for English authority as we developed our own local governments.
4. Anger grew over British audacity about control.
5. The British took the best timber for ships’ masts when we needed them just as well.
6. We saw no useful purpose to the empire and were living freely on our own.
7. They failed to see our point of view. Time and again, Parliament and the later royal governors were obstinate.
8. Our respect for British government disappeared as a result.
9. The very contract of governing fell apart, and war broke out.
The list runs considerably longer, but you get the idea.