Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Remember When . . . Things Weren't What You Expected?

As I'm researching this Revolutionary War story, as I'm reading a few other novels set in the same era (though concerning very different aspects of the time and places far removed), I'm learining so much! And it's challenging some of my basic perceptions.

I knew going in that when push came to shove with England, many folks living in the colonies couldn't bring themselves to openly revolt against the crown. I knew many of the soldiers in those snazzy red coats were in fact from America. I knew that.

But still it didn't really show me how, outside the seats of Patriotism, the Glorious Cause was not only unpopular, it was deemed a ridiculous idea. I think this is the first time I've really studied what went on in New York instead of in the war in general, so it's the first time I've really looked at how they perceived things. But the citizens of New York were, for the most part, firmly against the Patriots. When Washington fled the city and the British marched in, they welcomed them as liberators.

That said, over the years of British occupation, the harsh rule of those liberators did cause most Loyalists to revise their terminology and call them oppressors. But did that make them turn Patriot?

A few, maybe. But in general, no. They may have begun to think, "Hmm, the Patriot tyrants couldn't be any worse." But they still didn't believe in the cause. They were still pretty sure Washington wouldn't be able to mount another campaign, that this "United States" would crash and burn.

It's one of the many things that gets blurred over in school when we're learning about our nation's glorious founding, about the Sons of Liberty and the Boston Tea Party, the boycotts and the Declaration. I'm glad I first learned about the dream. But it's been really interesting to get a glimpse at the head-shakers.

Is there anything about our nation's history (or your nation's, if you're not in the U.S.) that it surprised you to learn?

Sidenote: I'm the blogger on Colonial Quills today, so come on over to hear what happens when the one church in town has to hit the road!


  1. This is fascinating, Roseanna. I'm sure there are huge gaps in my knowledge of the Revolutionary War.

    A couple of book recommendations if you haven't read them already:

    Johnny Tremaine--I actually read this in school, and it fueled my interest in that era

    Washington's Spies: The Story of America's First Spy Ring--I haven't read this one, but my daughter did as research for a college paper, and she found it fascinating


    Cindy @Cindy's Book Club

  2. Washinton's Spies is the one I just finished, Cindy! It was great. I got it from the library but then just ordered it so I could keep it forever. =)