U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Covid-19 Information Page
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > History
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 09-04-2013, 08:16 AM
 
10,726 posts, read 10,366,510 times
Reputation: 34429

Advertisements

I was reading through some material about the Revolutionary War and I came across a letter from George Washington to one of the governors of the original thirteen states. In this letter, Washington, the Commander of the Continental Army, is literally reduced to begging the governor for additional supplies so that he can feed his hungry troops and provide them with adequate clothing and munitions.

It would be unthinkable today that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff would have to behave similarly and literally seek assistance for defending the United States in such an abject and humiliating fashion.

The Revolutionary War lasted from 1775 through 1781. That was approximately six years of fighting. My hunch is that the British were never particularly popular anywhere in the Thirteen Colonies. If the colonialists had been able to organize better and if they had an effective central government than the war might have been over in a relatively short period of time. Am I right or wrong?
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 09-04-2013, 08:29 AM
 
31,371 posts, read 33,526,165 times
Reputation: 14925
Quote:
Originally Posted by markg91359 View Post
The Revolutionary War lasted from 1775 through 1781. That was approximately six years of fighting. My hunch is that the British were never particularly popular anywhere in the Thirteen Colonies. If the colonialists had been able to organize better and if they had an effective central government than the war might have been over in a relatively short period of time. Am I right or wrong?
First barely a majority of American colonist supported the Revolution to begin with and those loyal to crown have been as estimated to be as high as 20% of the colonial population.

As for the revolutionaries... as far as revolutions go the American Revolution was pretty well organized with a functioning civilian shadow "government" and a "professional" army augmented by irregulars. As a nation it was a pretty sorry affair but the revolting colonist really didn't have time to establish a serious government and the revolution itself was a rather escalating evolutionary process.

That being said, the same problems that plagued Washington would foretell the problems that the confederates would have in their rebellion against the United States.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-04-2013, 09:27 AM
 
13,703 posts, read 19,841,575 times
Reputation: 22874
Strong Central Government? Well there really was no government, not really, just 13 colonies with a common goal. The fact that they got any kind of continental army established was nothing short of a miracle. The "Articles of Confedration" in 1777 sort of formed a very loose government one can say. But this is not really a "what if..." scenario.
Certainly Washington's troops suffered for want of materials, but the infrastructure was simply not there.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-04-2013, 10:24 AM
 
4,456 posts, read 3,939,093 times
Reputation: 3115
Quote:
The Revolutionary War lasted from 1775 through 1781. That was approximately six years of fighting. My hunch is that the British were never particularly popular anywhere in the Thirteen Colonies. If the colonialists had been able to organize better and if they had an effective central government than the war might have been over in a relatively short period of time. Am I right or wrong?
Perhaps but you know I think there were plenty of Loyalists in the colonies at the time. each colony had them and in somce cases they were vociferous inn their allegiance to the Crown. That was another factor besides the British, the army, it's supplies etc that Washington had to contend with in his strategy to defeat the English. It is interesting to see how he fought the war. It had to be a complicated affair with the British all over North America. It apparently came to him that he just had to hold on and not get his army annihilated when meeting the British in battle. I'd think Congress, of course, was in on the strategy as well. The colonial governments apparently had to tread lightly in those hard and difficult days. In hindsight, the lack of some decisions were tough on Washington and his army but in hindsight go-slow approach sure looked to win the war for the Continentals. Bagging Cornwallis' army at Yorktown was a masterpiece. I don't know. Could a bureaucratic central 'government' think that one up as opposed to an individual???...;-)...
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-04-2013, 12:54 PM
 
Location: Cushing OK
14,545 posts, read 18,690,108 times
Reputation: 16866
Quote:
Originally Posted by travric View Post
Perhaps but you know I think there were plenty of Loyalists in the colonies at the time. each colony had them and in somce cases they were vociferous inn their allegiance to the Crown. That was another factor besides the British, the army, it's supplies etc that Washington had to contend with in his strategy to defeat the English. It is interesting to see how he fought the war. It had to be a complicated affair with the British all over North America. It apparently came to him that he just had to hold on and not get his army annihilated when meeting the British in battle. I'd think Congress, of course, was in on the strategy as well. The colonial governments apparently had to tread lightly in those hard and difficult days. In hindsight, the lack of some decisions were tough on Washington and his army but in hindsight go-slow approach sure looked to win the war for the Continentals. Bagging Cornwallis' army at Yorktown was a masterpiece. I don't know. Could a bureaucratic central 'government' think that one up as opposed to an individual???...;-)...
Without doubt, Washington's ability in military strategy was a major factor in the win. And the early parts of the war were not fought with offical soldiers, but local militia. They fought until they couldn't and dissapeared home. No doubt the training provided by the German ally later made a huge difference since Washington could not have pulled off some of his plans without the discipline.

In addition to Loyalists, who were often burned out and sometimes killed, the part of the Revolution nobody mentions in history books, a larger portion didn't have a side. They hung on and tried to hold things together. Eventually they supported the rebels but because they were winning. Or maybe they knew what happened to the loyalists.

The war in the north and south were different, too. In the North, eventually, it became more disciplined and professional. In the south it began and ended as guerilla/indian style war. Even after the northern cities were largely under Washington/the Congress's control, the long ranging chase in the southern region went on. Neither side was winning. What did end it was Parliment. Seeing a situation which couldn't be won and continuing to drain monies needed elsewhere, they cut off funding for the war. The southern guerilla fighters didn't catch them, they just left. (sound familiar, anyone???)

We tend to study a very sanitized war, but in reality it had the bad points of a revolution as well, and it was not a good place to be a Loyalists. It was much meaner and dirty than the strategy and battles led by Washington, and quite fascinating if you look at it fully.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-04-2013, 01:18 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
48,317 posts, read 20,247,862 times
Reputation: 20737
In that the revolution was launched in an attempt to escape from the authority of an existing strong central government, we cannot simply assume a strong colonial government and take it from there, we have to consider how most would have reacted to an attempt to create such a thing for the colonies in rebellion.

I could easily imagine Thomas Paine cranking out one of his essays where he deplores the idea of fighting to accomplish nothing more than trading one oppressive master for another. Support which was lukewarm for the Confederation setup used to fight the war, would certainly evaporate entirely if it was being called upon to pledge loyalty to a powerful Federalist system.

Consider the process by which we replaced the Confederation with the Constitution, one taking place in peacetime, after independence had already been established and after the British loyalists were suppressed or exiled. It was still a near run thing in those far more favorable circumstances, so this suggests that trying to achieve the same thing while the war was still taking place, before it was known that the end result would be victory, and before loyalist sentiment had been vanquished, would have been incredibly difficult.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-04-2013, 02:17 PM
 
Location: Cushing OK
14,545 posts, read 18,690,108 times
Reputation: 16866
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandstander View Post
In that the revolution was launched in an attempt to escape from the authority of an existing strong central government, we cannot simply assume a strong colonial government and take it from there, we have to consider how most would have reacted to an attempt to create such a thing for the colonies in rebellion.

I could easily imagine Thomas Paine cranking out one of his essays where he deplores the idea of fighting to accomplish nothing more than trading one oppressive master for another. Support which was lukewarm for the Confederation setup used to fight the war, would certainly evaporate entirely if it was being called upon to pledge loyalty to a powerful Federalist system.

Consider the process by which we replaced the Confederation with the Constitution, one taking place in peacetime, after independence had already been established and after the British loyalists were suppressed or exiled. It was still a near run thing in those far more favorable circumstances, so this suggests that trying to achieve the same thing while the war was still taking place, before it was known that the end result would be victory, and before loyalist sentiment had been vanquished, would have been incredibly difficult.
I can see Thomas Paine writing common sense two as well. He died in France fighting the good fight again. Even today, his absolute stand is considered radical by some. Someone as an experiment in the sixties rephrased it into modern English and asked people to sign a petiton in support. Some did with great enthusiasm, and others were horrified at the thought. The 'extreme radical' portion of the revolution was looked upon with some distrust by some of its leaders who anticipated trouble later should they win.

Wars are personal, and causes can be large but to the individual they are about what they see when they walk out the door. In colonial days, if you were a Bostonian, that was the world. Not even the rest of the colony was your place. If you lived in a southern state, in a rural area, Boston was in another universe. People lived intensely local lives then. To those who supported the revolution it was through the eyes of home. Any attempt to make loyalty to a general government over the personal one then would have instantly failed.

In a sense the loyalists helped the revolution by becomeing an open target. Quebec was settled by refugees who ran to save their lives. For those who believed the British were out to enslave the Americas, they were the target you could reach. This is why colonial demands always mention the King, a single man who was easier to point at then the whole of Parliment. Actually it was Parliment who had passed the laws that inflamed things and the king had little to say about it, especially in that he was known to be 'mad'. But he was the symbol. To the Bostonian, acts against Boston were acts against their percieved America, and the King being the symbolic head was held as responsible as a symbol.

I'd imagine the founding fathers knowing the power of that symbol would have tread very lightly on associating with the symbolic target.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-04-2013, 02:35 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
48,317 posts, read 20,247,862 times
Reputation: 20737
Quote:
Originally Posted by nightbird47 View Post
This is why colonial demands always mention the King, a single man who was easier to point at then the whole of Parliment. Actually it was Parliment who had passed the laws that inflamed things and the king had little to say about it, especially in that he was known to be 'mad'. But he was the symbol. To the Bostonian, acts against Boston were acts against their percieved America, and the King being the symbolic head was held as responsible as a symbol.
.
My read on why the colonists switched the flavor of their propaganda from anti Parliament to anti George is that they managed to delude themselves for a number of years that George was some benevolent paternal figure of good will for the colonies, but whose true desires were being ignored or frustrated by the British legislature. The perception was one of Parliament holding sway in England, but George governing the empire. Parliament was George's child, but so were the colonial legislatures. And why would they not think that? Most of the colonies existed under royal charters, issued by the crown, not by Parliament.

George did not become a tyrant until the fall of 1775 and he responded to the Continental Congress' "Olive Branch Petition" with the Proclamation for Suppressing Rebellion and Sedition which declared the colonies in rebellion and officially removed them from the King's protection, their charters revoked. That was a shocker to the majority of the rebels, learning that Father George was supporting their enemies rather than them. The consequence was a sense of betrayal and the shifting of the center of their dispute from being one with the short sighted members of Parliament to one with the Great Tyrant who occupied the throne.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-04-2013, 02:56 PM
 
28,900 posts, read 48,714,011 times
Reputation: 46236
It would have ended really fast had we had Stukas.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-04-2013, 03:11 PM
 
31,371 posts, read 33,526,165 times
Reputation: 14925
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandstander View Post
My read on why the colonists switched the flavor of their propaganda from anti Parliament to anti George is that they managed to delude themselves for a number of years that George was some benevolent paternal figure of good will for the colonies, but whose true desires were being ignored or frustrated by the British legislature.
However you slice it the monarch of Great Britain is the head of state, not the Prime Minister nor anyone in Parliament it may seem like an irrelevant distinction given the constitutional status of the sovereign but isn't as inconsequential even to the most republican members of his/her Majesty's government.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > History
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2020, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Contact Us - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37 - Top