Saturday, December 26, 2009

Myths of the American Revolution

A nice article from historian John Ferling at Smithsonian Magazine--Myths of the American Revolution: "We think we know the Revolutionary War. After all, the American Revolution and the war that accompanied it not only determined the nation we would become but also continue to define who we are. The Declaration of Independence, the Midnight Ride, Valley Forge—the whole glorious chronicle of the colonists’ rebellion against tyranny is in the American DNA. Often it is the Revolution that is a child’s first encounter with history. Yet much of what we know is not entirely true. Perhaps more than any defining moment in American history, the War of Independence is swathed in beliefs not borne out by the facts. Here, in order to form a more perfect understanding, the most significant myths of the Revolutionary War are reassessed."

Among Ferling's points--Saratoga was not that decisive, Washington was not a particularly good general, and the war could easily have gone the other way. A nice review of the war and a good introductory reading for high school or college courses. For other good popular history articles at Smithsonian, browse the History and Archeology section.

And for another myth-busting view of the war, check out Bunker Hill Bunny (1949):

1 comment:

Tom said...

Lar: Speaking of war, John Kerry was right. If you don't stay in school and study hard, you find yourself stuck in Iraq. I'M STILL HERE. And, this isn't even the good war. I think I have been swift-boated. If you and Rene want to be included in my 2010 Christmas card mailing, you had rush me your mailing address. Tom