RevWar Revolutionary War Book Club discussion

An introductory question on our RevWar

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message 1: by Wilson (new)

Wilson Hines (wilsonhines) What is the most important events or actions that led to the American Revolution. Why are these your choices?
If you've read 1776 especially, but I think the question is very valid with our current selection of "The Road to Guilford" as well, what do you think of my question. What are the most important events?
I think, personally, you have to define when the war started. Was it at Lex/Conc, Bunker Hill, or even tense Boston Massacre way back in 1770? Since the Rebels didn't necessarily want to cede from the Crown until the resolution of the Second Constitutional Convention, I wonder if you can say the war started until July 4th.

message 2: by Steve (new)

Steve Boothe (Smoothe_1) | 49 comments Mod
Great question, Wilson! I think there are a lot of answers to this question from a lot of different angles. I'm not sure my answer will qualify as the most important event, but I have recently begun (while reading a bio on General John Stark) to respect its importance in leading up to the RevWar. It is the French and Indian War (aka The Seven Years War). Despite the fact that colonials fought with the British against the French enemy, I think this conflict contributed to the eventual breaking of the colonial British with the mother country.

The sheer cost of this war (combined with the costs for the many wars in preceding decades) led to Britain's economic policies that so bitterly angered the colonies. Winning the war gained Britain much territory in North America, but with those spoils came the high costs of its protection (along with the other parts of the worldwide empire).

From a military perspective, numerous colonials who fought in this conflict later served the Americans in their fight for freedom from Britain...sometimes engaging commanders they served with during the F & I War. This conflict tested them for battle on a grand scale, rather than the occasional indian wars that had previously kept them busy. Washington himself started this war's hostilities in the North American theater. The thought that kept going through my head as I was reading the Stark bio was this: there is no way there is a RevWar if the F & I war had not occurred.

Trying to pin down when the RevWar started is hard to define. Lex/Conc is sure to be up there. But for me, the point of no return was the battle of Breed's/Bunker Hill. Certainly, if the British had brought their "A" game with them that day, it's quite possible that the rebellion would have been crushed immediately. However, even in defeat, the Americans withstood two waves of assault by the world's superpower of that day and heaped up a British body count that was so dreadful that Gen. Howe wrote that "the success was too dearly bought." The result was one that would be repeated in years to come...a British victory at too high of a price. Breed's Hill solidified the intentions of Britain in the minds of the patriot leaders as well as boost the confidence of the ragtag Americans who saw that the British regulars were not supermen and infallible.

Thanks for posting this fascinating topic. I had a lot of fun answering it and look forward to seeing what others think.

message 3: by Wilson (new)

Wilson Hines (wilsonhines) For me, the "Proclamation Line" declaration from the King and then the Sugar Act was the beginning of the hostil feelings. The Americans wanted to move West, but the King didn't want to piss the Indians off. The Sugar Act was the first in a series of taxes to pay for the F&I, so you are right. I don't think there's a snowball's chance the RevWar would have ever started without the F&I.

Funny thing is, both the Proclamation Line and the Sugar Act actually makes sense to me. I think the Pats should have respected the Indians territory and helped pay for their survival from the F&I, which was bloody expensive.

message 4: by Steve (new)

Steve Boothe (Smoothe_1) | 49 comments Mod
I've had similar thoughts about the Sugar Act. It doesn't seem unreasonable to expect some contribution from the colonies for their defense. However, I can surely sympathize with the colonists that were upset over the their lack of a voice and the heavy-handed method Britain used to attempt to cover these costs.

It would be interesting to see what would have happened with the Proclamation Line had there been no RevWar. I think it was inevitable, no matter who was in control of the colonies, that the Indians would have been displaced. For centuries, might has won the day especially when land and riches were involved. This is something even the natives understood as they had wiped out whole tribes in their own wars of conquest (ex. the destruction of the Erie by the Iroquois in the mid 1600's).

message 5: by Todd (new)

Todd Andrlik (raglinen) | 4 comments Having read many newspapers from 1763 to 1766, I definitely witness the anger and animosity boil over with the Stamp Act. The emotion spills from the pages with details of tarring and feathering, forced resignations, destruction of personal property, etc. Plus, it's important to note that hints of the stamp duty arrived on American soil at the same time as news of the Sugar Act (May 1764), so any demonstrations following the Sugar Act were likely also motivated by the impending internal stamp tax. Then, when the resistance resulted in repeal, imagine the excitement and confidence boost in the colonists! And the printers! That was also when the press firmly established itself as a "trumpet of sedition". So, knowing the role that newspapers played in starting the war, fighting the war and determining its outcome, I would say 1765-1766 certainly deserves the spotlight as a key cause.

If you're interested in reading more about the arrival of the sugar/stamp tax news, including one of the earliest American newspaper reports of the stamp duty, check out my Rag Linen blog post.

Personally, my favorite time periods of the American Revolution are 1765-1766 (Stamp Act thru Repeal) and 1774-1775 (Post-Destruction of the Tea to Lexington). Talk about raw energy and emotion. Goose pumps!

message 6: by Wilson (new)

Wilson Hines (wilsonhines) I live in Mount Olive, NC, about 20 miles north of Kenansville and 60 miles N of Wilmington. The guy commissioned by the Crown to distribute and collect in regards for the Stamp Act was a Kenansville (Duplin County) country doctor and surgeon William Houston.
The Sons of Liberty paid him one single visit to his house and quickly talked him into resigning.
I don't know about elsewhere, but there was never a stamp sold in NC.

message 7: by Todd (new)

Todd Andrlik (raglinen) | 4 comments From the sounds of my readings, stamped paper rarely if ever made it ashore or into circulation. The stampmen were all forced into resignation so there was no distribution method. The Sons of Liberty were definitely effective. One winter night in 1766, in New York, a docked ship with 10 boxes of stamped paper on board was raided at midnight by armed men who took the boxes by boat and soon broke them into pieces and torched them. Somewhat Boston Tea Party-esque with an evening ship raid to destroy cargo. The New York Stamp Party, if you will.

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