Mechanical

The American Revolution

Just out of curiosity, how do my "non-American" friends view the American Revolution? Also, what view is presented by your country's history books, if any?

In the US, the common view is "the greedy Brits taxed the hell out of us and didn't allow us to have any input in the matter. The British government's behavior was so oppressive that a popular uprising to throw off the yoke of tyranny ensued."

Of course, a bit of reading of history reveals that this is not the case, but that's pretty much what I was taught growing up in Texas.
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;) Well yes

There's a reason why History is such fun, you can turn it to your own devices wonderfully. :D
Really it doesn't feature much in our books at all, and it is certainly not taught at school. I guess the view we are given is that we had the right to the tax and that you were cheeky in thinking it could be any different.
I had to admit it really isn't a subject I know much about though
That pretty much sums up what I was taught. I remember a quote from a woman saying the colonists were not even allowed to make "so much as a fur hat" without the fur having to be shipped to Britain, then back to America.

We were bad, you rebelled, we lost. Although there is an unspoken subtext that we weren't *too* upset to have lost, and that King George (can't remember which one) breathed a small sigh of relief at having gotten rid ;)
I'm not sure what is taught in other provinces, but in Quebec, there is a short section on the American Revolution as it affects my province.

During the American Revolution, the US tried to invade Quebec City, still the province's capital today. I believe Benedict Arnold had gained control of Lake Champlain and Ticonderoga and this cleared the way to enter the province, which they thought to invade to secure this section of their gains in North America.

Richard Montgomery and Benedict Arnold headed the invasion, which failed, partly because Quebec City was will fortified, and it was winter time. Inside the fortifications, people had enough food and were protected from the elements. Outside on the Plains of Abraham, the American soldiers were exposed to the elements. As far as I remember, a lot of it was a waiting game.

Many of the British Loyalists who left the US after the revolution moved to Upper Canada (Ontario), as well as other parts of Canada.

As far as I remember, before the invasion, Congress (or its precursor) invited Quebec to join the revolution via a network of people in what is now my city, Montreal.
Speaking as someone who studied Latin in school instead of History, all I really know about the American revolution I learned by playing Colonization :-)

("Colonists hold Jamestown Sugar Party!")
That's pretty much the same thing I was taught. What specifically do you disagree with?
I disagree with the (typical) one-sided presentation of it. For example, part of the reason the British taxed us is because they felt we should pay our share of defense costs. Also, there were many colonists who were loyal to the crown and did not want a rebellion. Further, may of the folks who fought for independence did not want a democracy in this country, or at the very least, did not want anyone other than the rich to have much of a say.

Those portions of our history are fairly easy to research, but if that's all that was presented, it would again be a one-sided affair, but this time slanted toward the British. I would object to that, too.

There's also the problem of misrepresenting our heroes. Patrick Henry appears to not have said many of the dramatic things he's allegedly said. Columbus' history of genocide is becoming fairly well-known. There are, of course, many other instances of well-known history being taught in a most lopsided fashion.

It's not that I think we can teach our children a very comprehensive view of history -- there's only so much information we can present -- but to deliberately teach them a slanted view of history is not fair to them.
Mr. Revisionist Kissy Kissy
Oh, now that you're gonna be knighted, suddenly the Empire doesn't seem so bad? Next we'll be reading apologetics for invading the Falklands! ;^)
(Anonymous)
In India too that's pretty much what is taught. I remember we had a two page chapter on it which had some of the significan events and the background. Am not sure what they teach now though.
Lafayette
(Anonymous)
From my French teaching, I believe the focus was mainly on the dichotomy in
population between the colonies and the UK (in matters of religion, income, and
so on); the idea of independence and democratic government coming from the
XVIIIth century's enlightenment philosophers; the political tensions between
France and Britain, leading to the Lafayette episode (yes, French-centric :);
the influence of the new born republic on the French revolution. This was not
detailed, I had to read a few books afterwards to get a grasp of this part of
history. (-- rafael garcia-suarez)
There was some tea thrown in the river. Or sea. Or something like that. Didn't it have to do with taxes?


Honestly? We Brits aren't taught about the American Revolution at school. When your country has spent most of it's history opressing one nation or another, there's just too much to cover.


(On the other hand, I was taught a lot about early american 'wild west', from the culture of the American Indian thru to the Donner Party eating each other. Go figure.)

We are taught about it if we choose to continue with history, and if our school chooses the right syllabus, and if the teacher finds it interesting. Or at least, it was covered by some of my contemporaries who did A-level history. I dropped history at that point though, and my formal history learning about north America consists solely of the words "Columbus" and "Leif Erikson". Which is, I suppose, odd, considering how much time we spent looking at the Spanish and Portuguese empires.

As for how I view the American revolution - throwing off monarchy can only be a good thing. That they then went on to make a right royal (if you'll pardon the expression) fuckup of their next form of government is regrettable.
I took history until I was 16 and we were taught about the history of medicine, the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, the Arab Israeli conflict, the French Revolution, and World War I. Nothing about America except passing references to trade and resources such as potatoes. The modules were optional and chosen by the teacher though. I know the other group at school did get taught about the American Civil War and the American West because that was what their teacher was interested in.

Everything I know has been gleaned from university lectures on American artists, Wikipedia, television, and my mother.