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By Thomas Fleming
Why is the parable of 1776?
To nation it in its baldest phrases: This used to be the only time in American existence whilst idealism was once really in flower. Made attainable via the purest kind of patriotism, led via a soldier whom every person cherished - George Washington - who, in flip, used to be guided by way of a caucus of political geniuses in Philadelphia - the Continental Congress - stable farmers raced from their plows to hurl themselves into clash with British mercenaries. by no means have such a lot of nice males, magnetic leaders, sprung from nowhere to steer a humans infused with a gorgeous enthusiasm for liberty.
In this ebook, long island occasions bestselling historian Thomas Fleming explodes this delusion by way of studying the entire dimensions of that yr - really the least recognized elements of the typical, fallible humanity of the boys and ladies of the Revolution.
The 12 months 1776 ended with either the americans and the British stripped in their illusions. either side have been compelled to desert the parable in their invincibility and to...
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20 a year they paid in British taxes drove them to desperation. Even if some of them were sufficiently learned to take a continental view of the situation, there was little statistical support for the charge of economic oppression. British taxes cost the 2,250,000 Americans of 1776 at most 3 percent of their overall national income - between $3 million and $77 million a year. Moreover, most of these taxes were invisible, paid by seaport merchants as part of the cost of doing business and passed along to consumers as the price of that particular item when it was sold over the counter.
The going had been bad enough for Montgomery and his men as they fumbled their way down the cliff face. But now forward movement became a nightmare. The northwest wind whirled the sleety snow around them with ominous howls. The swirling currents of the Saint Lawrence had thrown onshore “enormous and rugged masses of ice,” forcing the men to claw their way as much as thirty feet up the face of the cliff to get around them. For the two-man teams carrying scaling ladders, this was a herculean feat, beyond their strength and endurance.
There was nothing to gain and a great deal to lose in a Pennsylvanian attempt to conquer Canada. McPherson was obviously talking about America, the country that was at best a shadowy entity in the minds of the two and a half million white inhabitants of North America. At this point in time, it was little more than a word. It had no flag, no constitution, no laws, no legal existence. If there was a voice demanding McPherson’s life, it emanated from a fluctuating group of some fifty to sixty men who met each day at the Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia to pass resolutions, exhortations, and decrees in the name of the Continental Congress.
1776 by Thomas Fleming