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Blood of Tyrants: George Washington & the Forging of the Presidency
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PRESIDENTIAL SERIES > 9. BLOOD OF TYRANTS ~ October 7th ~ October 13th ~~ CHAPTERS 27 - 29 ~ (238 - 257) No-Spoilers

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Bryan Craig Chapter Overviews and Summaries

Chapter Twenty Seven: Band of Brethren


America was looking to change how to govern. In Europe, the Crown demanded allegiance, but Americans wanted the Crown to protect their rights. It did not happen, so the American leaders emulated ancient Greek citizenship of democracy. Well, white men only could really participate. The government protected the rights of citizens and Washington worked to defend those rights during wartime.

Recent arrivals to America were seen as suspicious and the patriots saw Loyalists as citizens, but in the minority. They expected Loyalists to follow the majority or be punished, and some of them were not treated well. One Loyalist, Jonathan Boucher, faced a mob, like others did and Congress did not act to curtail mobs.

Chapter Twenty Eight: Poison & Peas

In 1776, a woman told Washington that she saw one of his guards poisoned his peas. Washington and his friends investigated the matter and 40 people were arrested. New York's royal governor, William Tryon, was behind it as well as the appointed New York City mayor, David Mathews. The guard, Thomas Hickey, was arrested and hanged.

Washington let the civil authorities handle Mathews, but New York did not have any treason laws on the books, so Mathews waited in jail. Mathews bribed the guards to gain his freedom. However, the incident hardened Americans toward Loyalists.

Chapter Twenty Nine: America's Defender

Loyalists caused a big influx of new laws, while more mobs started attacking Loyalists. Washington kept out of the legal battles and the mob violence. He tolerated Loyalists and really wanted to focus on Loyalists who were commissioned in the army. Washington was not successful 100% of the time. A former soldier, turned would-be spy named Thomas Shanks was caught and a military commission found him guilty and executed him.


message 2: by Bryan (last edited Oct 07, 2013 06:34AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Bryan Craig Here is a interesting quote about democracy:

"Thus, American citizens were expected to fulfill their civic duties, which included remaining informed and actively improving their republic. Self-government meant hard work, but along with these duties came privileges." (p. 240)

Do you see a general decline in citizenship today? What privileges do you think Logan had in mind?


Todd (todsisson) | 18 comments "Aristotle defined a citizen as 'he who has the power to take part in the deliberative or judicial administration of any state." (p.238)

While American citizens don't have a total say in how our country is run, we do still have the chance to have our voice heard in how we vote and who we put in office.

I think sometimes it's easy for me to lose sight of how great this is. We live in a country that works hard to make sure everyone has a voice. That doesn't mean it's always pretty; but just reading the brief little bit about the European Feudal system helped me to appreciate what we have.


message 4: by Mark (last edited Oct 08, 2013 06:38PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mark (mwl1) Bryan wrote: "Here is a interesting quote about democracy:

"Thus, American citizens were expected to fulfill their civic duties, which included remaining informed and actively improving their republic. Self-go..."


I have recently been reading "Democracy in America" by Alexis de Tocqueville. there are multiple places throughout the book that he references a similar expectation of citizenship and involvement; particularly in regards to voting. I don't agree with everything de Tocqueville says on the matter, but he stresses the idea is that uninformed participation does not benefit the democratic process. Despite the technology we have access to now, being informed is not easy. We obviously have some great examples of well informed revolutionary characters, but I wonder how much hard work average people of the day put in to be informed when compared to today.

As far as privileges go, I think being able to have a voice and an impact in what your country is doing would be a great privilege. It may seem a bit trivial today, but I imagine that the idea of having something similar to the Greek and Roman governments was awe inspiring to revolutionary characters at the time.

Democracy in America  by Alexis de Tocqueville by Alexis de Tocqueville Alexis de Tocqueville


message 5: by Lewis (new)

Lewis Codington | 291 comments Christopher wrote: "Hello Everyone,

For the week of October 7th - October 13th, we are reading Chapters Twenty Seven, Twenty Eight, and Twenty Nine of Blood of Tyrants.

The ninth week's reading assignment is:

Wee..."


Christopher,
I am one of the recipients of this book, and I am in agony because my copy seems to have gone into hiding and I can't locate it. I apologize that I have not yet participated in the discussions and still hope that I will be able to jump in shortly. I have participated in a number of these book selections recently so am disappointed to be missing this one so far. Have been enjoying the discussions of "Roosevelt's Centurions" at the moment, which we are soon to be completing.
Lewis C.


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G Hodges (glh1) | 901 comments I apologize for not answering the question on Citizenship (my local meet the candidates had fewer than 4 'citizens' in attendance) but this quote struck me 'Congress recommended that local authorities disarm all those who were "notoriously disaffected to the cause of America..."' P.243

This from a country that gave us the Second Amendment. In my mind a very interesting fact leading up to property rights and citizenship regulations.

Lewis, if by any chance you have a Labrador Retreiver puppy, I can tell you where the book is.


Bryan Craig Todd wrote: ""Aristotle defined a citizen as 'he who has the power to take part in the deliberative or judicial administration of any state." (p.238)

While American citizens don't have a total say in how our c..."


I think this helps us remind ourselves how fragile the revolution is and how lucky we are to have a democracy.


Bryan Craig Thanks, Mark. Yeah, I agree, finding balanced reporting on our issues and keeping up to date on the world is not easy. We have a information overload. What source do you trust, lol? Much like what GW faced with his generals, Loyalists, etc. Who do you trust?

Good job on the citation, just turn the author image around, it comes first, then author link:

Democracy in America  by Alexis de Tocqueville Alexis de Tocqueville Alexis de Tocqueville


Bryan Craig No problem, Lewis. All the threads remain open for some time, so if you find it, keep reading and posting.

No worries.


Bryan Craig G wrote: "I apologize for not answering the question on Citizenship (my local meet the candidates had fewer than 4 'citizens' in attendance) but this quote struck me 'Congress recommended that local authorit..."

Interesting, G. The U.S. Constitution comes directly from the revolutionary experience (and the recent past of British rule). I guess disarming your opponents, even ones who don't wear a uniform is pretty standard, but maybe the legacy left by the British helped formulate a certain attitude for the Second Amendment.


David (nusandman) | 111 comments The assassination attempt on Washington was very interesting and an area I hadn't heard much on in the past. That story alone could make a good book.


Bryan Craig I'm with you, David, I think it would make a great book!


Bryan Craig During this episode, it is interesting that states were behind in creating treason laws. I think this happens quite a bit: something happens and the law scrambles to catch up.


Robyn (rplouse) | 73 comments I agree with the earlier comments about the lack of citizenship. I'm getting the impression that many folks are voting based on emotion. I agree that it's really hard to be informed on the issues since we have so much information overload. It seems like some of the sources have a bias also which makes it even more difficult. Personally, I read about the same issue from several different local, national and even international sources - the "truth" is somewhere in the middle.

Lewis - As for lab puppies, as the mom of 2 chocolates if it doesn't look like a ball, it probably wasn't the lab eating the book ;).


message 15: by Bryan (last edited Oct 09, 2013 07:11AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Bryan Craig Newspapers were very biased in GW's time. So, if you were a Federalist, you generally read a Federalist newspaper. Jefferson had to create a Republican paper in D.C. to get his voice heard.

But there were less of them, then there is now. But I get the impression that citizen expectations were a little different during the revolutionary period. This would wane by the next generation, but at the time frame of this book, it was different.

Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson


Donna (drspoon) So interesting to think about the idea that, as they began to rebuff their position as subjects of the King, Americans were reviving ancient Greek/Roman concepts of citizenship. Also interesting to contemplate the conflicts that arose as they tried to deal with American "citizens" who were Loyalists. And, as Logan reiterates, GW was a staunch defender of the rights of American citizens - be they Patriots or Loyalists.

Yes, Bryan, I agree that citizen expectations during the revolutionary period were different as the very idea of what it means to be a citizen was evolving. Increasingly, as the revolution played out, one had to take a side and the consequences thereof were dramatic.


message 17: by Bryan (last edited Oct 10, 2013 06:34AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Bryan Craig Well said, Donna.

So, Logan states about the attacks on Loyalists: "This was also a civil war, after all." (p. 242)

A civil war. This concept is also not really talked about in the history textbooks. It is usually described that the Americans were for the most part united and fighting the British, not one another.

Do you think the American Revolution was also a civil war?


message 18: by G (new) - rated it 4 stars

G Hodges (glh1) | 901 comments The American revolution was fought to create a non aligned union of the colonies, which was a change in the organizational structure and a civil war is usually a fight between existing factions of a government with proximity to each other. But even so, somehow, and I don't know enough to explain why, I think it was both a revolution and a civil war. A loyalist vs patriot (and I use the terms only in context) scenario seems to imply a civil war while a Colonies vs the Crown scenario implies a revolution, in my opinion.


Bryan Craig Thanks, G. Your comments make sense. You could say the British suffered a civil war if you count the Americans as British subjects even though they were not in close proximity.


message 20: by Katy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Katy (kathy_h) Bryan wrote: "...

So, Logan states about the attacks on Loyalists: "This was also a civil war, after all." (p. 242)

A civil war. This concept is also not really talked about in the history textb..."


This sentence in the book made me really ponder the idea of a civil war. I have always looked at the War for Independence from the US perspective and honestly never bothered to see it from a different angle. I imagine that the Loyalists felt that they were indeed in the midst of a civil war among British subjects.


Bryan Craig I thought it was interesting that GW waited for civil authorities on David Mathews.

"the legislatures and civil courts refereed their fellow Americans to courts-martial, confiscated their property, executed them, and did a host of other nasty things to them. But Washington let the civilian leaders make those decisions." (p. 252)


Bryan Craig So true, Kathy, this book reminds us that other things were going on, not so nice things.


Logan Beirne | 140 comments Kathy wrote: "Bryan wrote: "...

So, Logan states about the attacks on Loyalists: "This was also a civil war, after all." (p. 242)

A civil war. This concept is also not really talked about in the history textb..."


Great point, Kathy - it is all a matter of perspective. From the patriots' point of view, the Loyalists were fellow Americans (whether they liked it or not). This afforded them rights and protections as citizens; however, when they sided with the British, it was seen by the patriots as a sort of civil war in which they were fighting against their own countrymen on top of the British invaders. They were eager to neutralize the Loyalist threat but had to be careful not to trample the liberties for which they fought.

From the British and Loyalist perspective, it was a civil war in which rebel subjects were attacking their loyal subjects. Especially in the beginning of the Revolution, the British used this notion to treat the patriots as captured criminals rather than applying the laws of war. They did not see it in the same light as a war with France, for example, with one nation honorably battling another. They refused to accept the U.S. as an independent nation, even if the patriots were acting as one.


Peter Flom Kathy wrote: "Bryan wrote: "...

So, Logan states about the attacks on Loyalists: "This was also a civil war, after all." (p. 242)

A civil war. This concept is also not really talked about in the history textb..."


Another point is that, in a revolution (e.g. French, Russian, glorious, etc) the government of the country changes but it stays one country. In a civil war (e.g. US, Sudan), there is an attempt to make two countries out of one)


message 25: by Teri (new) - rated it 5 stars

Teri (teriboop) Bryan wrote: "Well said, Donna.

So, Logan states about the attacks on Loyalists: "This was also a civil war, after all." (p. 242)

A civil war. This concept is also not really talked about in the history textb..."


I really had not thought about the Revolution being a civil war. I think I always believed that all of the "citizens" of America were fighting the British. Obviously that is not so. I think we grow up learning that people came to America to get away from their past, be it religious resasons/persecution, governmental, or just wanting to find a new life. And with that thinking, you want to believe that everyone living here would be against the British.


message 26: by Jerome, Assisting Moderator - Upcoming Books and Releases (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jerome | 4302 comments Mod
You're right, Teri, that we want to think that way; but revolutionaries are almost always in the minority when it comes to revolutions; everyone else is opposed or lukewarm to the idea. Plus the American revolutionaries were actually, at first, fighting for what they saw as their rights as Englishmen. Only later was full independence an objective.


message 27: by [deleted user] (new)

Bryan wrote: "Here is a interesting quote about democracy:

"Thus, American citizens were expected to fulfill their civic duties, which included remaining informed and actively improving their republic. Self-go..."


I think their is a significant decline in citizenship - more takers than givers.

Citizenship - you reap what what you sow. As a society I wish more people would give, service is so important. IMHO


message 28: by [deleted user] (new)

Bryan wrote: "Well said, Donna.

So, Logan states about the attacks on Loyalists: "This was also a civil war, after all." (p. 242)

A civil war. This concept is also not really talked about in the history textb..."


I do think it was a quasi civil war - so much dissension from within, could have escalated, was close.


Bryan Craig Well said Mal.


Mary Ellen | 184 comments The decision to view the Loyalists as "Americans" seemed to do them more harm than good, as it paved the way, in the logic of the day, for treating them as traitors, sometimes subjecting them to execution. A mixed blessing, indeed!


Bryan Craig Interesting, Mary Ellen. I wonder if they were seen as British, would GW respond differently? I guess being civilians, he might protect their rights, but maybe not, maybe the door would be open for more abuse...


David Thomas (phillydave82) | 18 comments The part I found interesting was the "Loyalist plot" against Washington and how Washington dealt with people like Thomas Hickey (one of his soldiers) vs. men like New York Royal governor William Tryon and loyalist mayor of New York City David Mathews. It was also interesting to learn that Washington favored justice by civil law versus military law. A man like David Mathews, even though he was charged with treason was still an American and in Washington's eyes permitted the rights of an American. Washington was not in favor of trampling those rights no matter how treasonous the charges.


Logan Beirne | 140 comments Bryan wrote: "Interesting, Mary Ellen. I wonder if they were seen as British, would GW respond differently? I guess being civilians, he might protect their rights, but maybe not, maybe the door would be open f..."

Washington and others thought they were being quite restrained in treating the Loyalists as Americans. This provided them with many more rights and legal protections than they would have enjoyed if they were deemed Brits. Many of these people were actively aiding the redcoats killing the patriots - Loyalists were a serious threat to the patriots survival but they afforded them rights.

Historically speaking, this was a surprising approach. In other revolutions, those siding with the establishment were horribly abused. While there was some of that in the American Revolution, in general, the patriots were extraordinarily restrained. While being dragged into court is not wonderful, it is certainly better than being dragged through the streets on a whim.


Bryan Craig Indeed, David and Logan, without some protections GW provided, it could have gotten a lot worse.

The Loyalists were in a very tough spot and a group of them would leave the country.


Bryan Craig Indeed, Libby, especially in a tribunal, not a true courtroom


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