In our modern lives, we rely on the police and the powers of government to protect our property and our most important institutions. When crimes occur, we expect our elected officials to take action and secure the peace. Consider how you would feel if your town were taken over by criminals, thugs, and miscreants? Now think about it again because that is exactly what happened in Boston in 1773-75. Where were the police?Back in England, of course. They had been sent home after the French and Indian war. But they are coming back!
One of the great myths of the American Revolution is that most of the people welcomed independence. The reality is that in America we had just fought a war with France, had frequent Indian wars on our frontiers as settlers pushed into new lands, and had pirates and privateers marauding all along the eastern seaboard. Independence was a scary proposition!
Meanwhile, as part of the British Empire, the largest and most powerful in the world, Americans experienced great prosperity. Sure, there were taxes and in the late 1700’s these taxes grew significantly but in general Americans were happy loyal subjects of King George. This loyalty did not immediately change just because a few rebellious New Englanders started feuding with Parliament.
So how do you behave when the Redcoats march into your town? Are they here to subdue you are they here to protect you? Are they agents of YOUR king, sent to protect your rights as Englishmen, or are they vassals of a foreign parliament sent to take away your freedom? It wasn’t always clear. So most Americans didn’t take sides. They didn’t engage in the rebellion. They waited to see who would prevail.
In times like these, the best thing you can do is go down to the tavern, hear the news, and see if one side is going to prevail over the other in this 2nd English Civil War. Of course, while your here, you might as well have a beer.
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