The question this week is: If you could be present at any time during the history of our country (U.S.A.), when would we choose?
I’d have to say: during the American Revolution.
Mind you, I am more of an indoor-plumbing, central-heating kind of girl. I will not romanticize, nor do I long for, those days. I cannot imagine the physical hardship daily life brought to those who survived; and many didn’t. Many, many died young.
I know I have touched on this before [“Now It’s Independence Day to Me” ,July 2012 archive], but Cokie Robert’s book. “Founding Mothers” really brought home to me the incredible pressure which was inflicted upon the American colonists, enough to pressed them to revolt. It made the necessity of the struggle for independence very real to me.
“Founding Mothers” touches on the day-today life of the wives of the “Founding Fathers” of course, but they were more than active in the fight. There was more to it than their ‘keeping the home fires burning’, which, of course, was important, and which consisted of real work. I doubt most people realize the danger the women and their families were in, the action in which they were involved, plus the suffering and abuse women, children and men were subjected to during the fight and before the revolution even began.
To be a part of the incredibly brave choice and work to fight for independence from the seemingly ‘almighty’ British Empire would have really been something! Until recent decades, there was a famous saying : “The sun never set on the British Empire”; it meant that the British had control of lands around the globe.(No matter the time of day in Britain, it was daytime sometime over a British-held land.) The American colonists had to be strong and had to be smart to get out from under it. And they were; they had to be. They were pushed beyond endurance and as they saw it, they had nothing to lose. They could not continue with the pressure and injustices which were continually being heaped upon them.
I know I would have been part of it, if only in a small way,
or maybe in a big one, knowing my husband!
I again recommend “Founding Mothers” to everyone. It is not just a woman’s book. It truly imparts the daily life of the colonists and how the unfairness of the incredible amount of taxes, (they taxed every scrap of paper the colonists had in their possession!), the abuse from the soldiers/officials and lack of support from the British government affected every aspect of the colonists’ lives, plus it tells of what was really going on at home when George Washington, John Addams and the rest were away. And how much more was done behind the scenes by their women.
Roberts’ sequel, “Ladies of Liberty” is on my shelf but I have yet to read it. I will.
FYI: Do you know this young woman?
She was Sybil Ludington. At 16 years old, she rode forty miles in the middle of the night through a forest to warn the Militia of the British soldiers headed their way. It was twice as long as Paul Revere’s ride, (which was mainly through streets, as far as I can tell.) She gathered almost a regiment of nearly 400 men along the way to fight the advancing British troops. George Washington commended her in person for her bravery.
Sybil was a Colonel’s daughter and at the time, responsible for her eleven siblings. She had been a spy as well and became a messenger for the Revolution afterward.
I don’t know if I could have matched her, but I’d like to think I’d been ready to smuggle messages, keep the powder dry in my cellar, and maybe spy in a Tory house, at the very least.
What about you?
I just purchased Founding Mothers, and read about Sybil Ludington online. I love reading about strong women – they make the best heroines! Maybe by reading about these real-life heroines I’ll find some inspiration for my stories. I’m not sure I’d be brave enough to do some of these things these ladies did, but I’m so thankful they did.
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I would have been sure that I could not have done the things that they did,until my life got harder.I have found that you can do/face almost anything if the need is great enough or someone else will suffer. That is a definition of bravery that I have held onto:
Bravery isn’t the absence of fear, it is the knowledge that there is something more important than your fear.
I can face a lot any more.
I’ve read a lot about this period and — honestly — I don’t know what I would have done. Many families were torn apart by some members wanting to be loyal to the Crown and others wanting to be out from under their control. [of course, in those very early stages, they had rather little idea of WHAT type civilization / government they’d replace the monarchy with.]
On the one hand, I’m kind of a status quo guy — you know, “let’s see if we can work within the system to change this oppressive rule of the colonies.”
On the other hand, I would bristle at having a monarch and parliament 3000 miles distant, in which I had NO representation. [that said, the British subjects were rather used to little or no actual representation.]
It would certainly be interesting… and dangerous — to make such decisions. And to know whom you could trust.
Author Jeff Shaara has two excellent books on this period of American History. I’ve already read “Rise to Rebellion” and recommend it highly. On my stack to read is his “The Glorious Cause.”
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I often questioned the need or even the RIGHT of the colonist to revolt, but the more I read about the oppression, the incredible taxation and the lack of support from the Crown, plus the abuse from the hands of the British military upon the colonists, yep, I think I would be in there. Now, my parents would not have made waves, but their fathers would have, (one did, in another country).
After watching TURN, I’ve been much more interested in the American Revolution. I will have to check out the books you suggested.
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Oh, yes, we saw the first season or two of “Turn” and have been waiting for more to hit Netflix. Joe-the-Husband, a history major and former teacher, really enjoys it, which is unusual; he can’t stand re-written history.
I do suggest the books and fyi, “Turn” is based on a book, “Washington’s Spies”, which Joe has read and I will get to. There is some differences in the show, but not enough to bother him.
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