This Might Upset a Few Applecarts

The science or study of primitive societies and the nature of man.

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jw1815
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Re: This Might Upset a Few Applecarts

Post by jw1815 » Wed Sep 23, 2009 2:51 pm

Minimalist wrote:
purposed confiscating all civilian owned guns.

The use of the word "civilian" is mis-leading there. The British had equipped the Colonial militia with the standard Brown Bess musket/bayonet. These were not the private property of the miltiamen. Gen. Gage had information of Colonial ammunition stores in Lexington and Concord and sent a column to confiscate those.

The notion that the Americans were using hunting rifles is a popular misconception. Militia companies from the entire area came scrambling and popped away at the retiring British. Had they been using actual rifles the miserable American marksmanship of that day would be less understandable. The muskets were notoriously inaccurate but still, they hammered the British column by sheer volume of fire.
True. A few of those militiamen-turned-revolutionaries are in the family tree. One of their immediate descendants wrote a book on the history of their town that includes the pre-revolutionary period when the Sons of Liberty were just getting started. More interesting to read about the daily lives of real people in those events than a typical history book would be. It's based on first hand oral accounts, letters, journals, and public records. Those early patriots got a little out of hand sometimes. He tells about them going around to individual neighbors’ homes with guns, tar, and feathers to force statements of loyalty from them, to remove local officials from office if they didn’t agree to join them, and about their refusal to appear in a court whose judge hadn’t pledged himself to the S of L. It got so bad that, from fear of "mobbing" and injury, neutral groups formed their own bands to surround individual homes for protection from gun-toting patriots on their way home from meetings at the local tavern.

It's a little risky to romanticize or glorify the actions of the past as if they should and could be repeated in the present, under different circumstances. And we are in different circumstances today, thanks to a governmental system that allows for a change of power without coups and armed rebellions over partisan politics. We have votes, an amendment process, an impeachment process, and courts for settling disputes. Cumbersome at times, but in the long run, much more effective than political coups that can quickly get out of hand and be followed by still more, like a banana republic with no history of self-government. I like to think that we’re better than that because our founders left us an excellent governing legacy.

jw1815
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Joined: Tue Aug 18, 2009 6:23 am

Re: This Might Upset a Few Applecarts

Post by jw1815 » Wed Sep 23, 2009 3:07 pm

In their strong concern over an overreaching, bloated, unresponsive central government the men that started this country carried their guns to taverns and made their plans.
Well, there were a few specifics involved, e.g. the lack of representation in Parliament although being taxed and governed as English subjects. Plus, the King's agreement with tribes west of the Appalachians not to expand into their territory, as growing families of colonists were eager to do. And the English government’s insistence on continuing the importation of new slaves into America because it was economically expedient for them, against the slave-owning population's concerns about being outnumbered in slave rebellions that were occurring in the Caribbean and the mainland South. That part of the Declaration of Independence was deleted from an early draft because of self-conscious awareness that slavery conflicted with the D of C's opening lines. And then there was the fact that we’d become so distant in geography and time from the homeland that we really had developed a national identity, character, and interests of our own that were better served by having an independent government.

BTW, it was the lack of a strong, central government for the new US that was a serious problem with the first national government, the Articles of Confederation. So, the Constitutional Convention was called to create a more effective, stronger central government, with a balance of powers and provisions for amendments to protect against potential abuse of power.

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Digit
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Re: This Might Upset a Few Applecarts

Post by Digit » Wed Sep 23, 2009 3:21 pm

There's nothing wrong with a strong central government, just so long as it is 'government of the people, by the people, for the people.'
Which ours fails on a number of accounts I fear.

Roy.
First people deny a thing, then they belittle it, then they say it was known all along! Von Humboldt

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Re: This Might Upset a Few Applecarts

Post by Minimalist » Wed Sep 23, 2009 3:26 pm

as it is 'government of the people, by the people, for the people.'


That lie needs to be understood as a lie when Lincoln said it the first time. The country was as driven by special interests as it is now.

Ironically, Lincoln made the remark at a cemetery dedication for soldiers who had died in a war designed to keep 40% of "the people" in that "government" at bayonet point.
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

-- George Carlin

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Digit
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Re: This Might Upset a Few Applecarts

Post by Digit » Wed Sep 23, 2009 3:31 pm

I didn't say that 'Honest Abe' meant it Min, after all, he was a politician, but as a definition of democracy it takes some beating I reckon.

Roy.
First people deny a thing, then they belittle it, then they say it was known all along! Von Humboldt

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Re: This Might Upset a Few Applecarts

Post by Minimalist » Wed Sep 23, 2009 3:54 pm

It was a democracy at the time, where only free, white, 21 and over males were allowed to vote. The Greeks would have approved!
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

-- George Carlin

jw1815
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Re: This Might Upset a Few Applecarts

Post by jw1815 » Wed Sep 23, 2009 4:22 pm

Yes, the Greeks would have approved.

But, I agree that it's a good definition of democracy. The American founders weren't gods or saints. They were flawed human beings. They compromised on the issue of slavery when writing the Constitution, knowing full well that they had only delayed the issue. I don't remember the quote verbatim, but Abigail Adams said that they'd left the seeds of discontent and division for future generations to resolve.

That they accomplished as much as they did in one generation is just short of a miracle. At least they gave us a principle for future generations to live up to in correcting the wrongs they left unresolved.

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