The American Revolution? Resources?
#1
What is a Catholic to think of the American Revolution, and what are some reliable sources that I might be able to read up on it? Thanks!
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#2
(06-26-2009, 12:11 AM)Quaesumus Wrote: What is a Catholic to think of the American Revolution, and what are some reliable sources that I might be able to read up on it? Thanks!

What is a Catholic to think?

It wasn't perfect.

The Revolution was against a heretical nation, and by people who had no ties to the Church and some to groups that are unacceptable to the Church. I would call it a natural turn of events which removed the religious compulsion of the British.
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#3
Thomas Woods, a traditional Catholic, is very positive about it. It was not a revolution per se, but a reaction against the King whom they viewed as breaking the oral traditions of the British Constitution. They were not anti-monarchial or anti-Christian like the French Revolutionaries. Though not perfect there was no organized or legal terrorizing of the citizens nor mass executions or coups. It was relatively bloodless and civil. And in the end the Catholic Church was granted complete freedom to flourish in the country. Now what do you think?
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#4
(06-26-2009, 12:11 AM)Quaesumus Wrote: What is a Catholic to think of the American Revolution, and what are some reliable sources that I might be able to read up on it? Thanks!

I read "The Long Fuse" by Don Cook, which is suppose to be the tome on how the British lost the American colonies from the British perspective, but honestly it didn't tell anything new other than going through the British Parliament process during that time. Essentially you had the colonies being ruled by the Whigs (very light hand, laissez faire type of thing) from the end of the 17th century right up to G III's start. G III didn't like Pitt (Whig leader) and immediately maneuvered to have him quite so a pro crown government could be installed. G III wanted to actually rule, not just reign. But supposedly his temperment that he brought to the table was just wrong and totally upheaval of previous colonial policy. The primary issue revolved around "external" and "internal" taxation. The British colonies had been, up to this point, taxed via external taxes or consumption taxes of British goods. The pro crown governments deviated from this by implementing internal taxes in only the American colonies (stamp act). This was a first and essentially the first time that Parliament had made any active attempt to regulate internal affairs of the American colonies. The economic boycott caused the British merchants to pressure Parliament to remove the stamp act. The problem though was that instead of learning a lesson Parliament maneuvered to take revenge by new taxes and other internal regulation policies, which further inflamed separatists ideals.

But it was also noted that Independence was inevitable at some point due to the American colonies vast potential to out strip the Mother country. The thirteen colonies combined were just shy of 3 million people, while Britain was just over 11 million. The issue of fitting in under the British mercantilism system was also very chaffing for such a large colony. A good number of MPs that had been to American realized this and championed for American Independence since they would rather have a very close ally of America instead of an alienated one that would prefer French or other countries economic ties.
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#5
Well I am a Catholic and I kinda like it. :P
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#6
(06-26-2009, 12:24 AM)didishroom Wrote: Thomas Woods, a traditional Catholic, is very positive about it. It was not a revolution per se, but a reaction against the King whom they viewed as breaking the oral traditions of the British Constitution. They were not anti-monarchial or anti-Christian like the French Revolutionaries. Though not perfect there was no organized or legal terrorizing of the citizens nor mass executions or coups. It was relatively bloodless and civil. And in the end the Catholic Church was granted complete freedom to flourish in the country. Now what do you think?

This is correct. The colonies had been regulating themselves via colonial assemblies with Royal Governors as executives for close to a century. The whole taxation without representation had to do with the new internal taxes (to pay for the British F-I War debt and fund the on going maintenance of 10,000 British soldiers in the American colonies, which was also a new departure from past policy as this was the largest number of troops every permanently station in the colonies up to that time) that Parliament enacted arbitrarily without consultation with the colonial assemblies. This was a major shift in colonial policy. The colonial assemblies were willing to accept this if they were aloud to have elections for MPs in the British Parliament, but since Parliament viewed the American colonists as second class British subjects they rejected such a notion. Prior policy would of been Parliament requesting the colonial assemblies to raise internal taxes to provide funding for whatever was necessary. Example, French Indian War the colonies raised 25,000 man militia and financed the militia, large part of the 6-7,000 British Army contingent and all logistical supplies and fortifications. The colonies also provided the non military labor needed. As an example, the colony of Pennsylvanian went into debt of 5 million colonial dollars just for the F-I War which wrecked their economy due to heavy inflation, but they were the front line of the war essentially and they were happy to do this.
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#7
Quaesumus Wrote:What is a Catholic to think of the American Revolution

Whatever you want to. Read as much as you can, not just three or four books, but 10 or 20. Then reread them and draw your conclusions. Therefore,

Quote:and what are some reliable sources that I might be able to read up on it?

Anything by Gordon S. Wood or Eric Foner is worth a read. They are probably that most respected American historians alive today.

Topically, if you read about those months from about Lexington and Concord untill Bunker Hill (April - June 1775), I've found such works tend to give in a microcosm a good summery of the military, political and philosophical goings on which would more of less stay constant throughout the war.

Tho. Woods has an interesting take on things. It is one I have see a number of Evangelical Protestants make vis-a-vis the American Revolution not being a revolution. There definitely was a lot of discussion in Revolutionary America as to how far to break from England. Some wanted to have England honor the rights of Englishmen in America, and they were content to go on as colonists. Some had something in mind like creating something similar to Canada's Parliamentary system. Then some, like Jo. Hancock and Sam Adams, were real radicals (I love the person of Sam Adams, a real American archetype). This national discussion created a number of rather peculiar examples, such as Rhode Island's militia marching to help tighten the Patriot siege of Boston. When men were mustered up, their charter had these Patriot's going to war "In honor of the King!" One even finds men like Adams writing on occasion in complementary verse about King Geo. III. However - and this is where Wood's point falls flat - ultimately the American Cause gave way to the radical position of a complete break with England. This in turn would spawn other uprisings elsewhere, revolts who looked to America as an example.
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#8
In relative terms, good.

In absolute terms, bad.

Class dismissed.
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#9
For Catholics, good: if we had stayed with England, it would have been another 60 years till Catholic Emancipation.
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#10
It's worth adding here that the Revolution was better for Great Britain, anyway. They were losing profit from the colonies.

For those who truly believe in "subsidiarity", the American Revolution (as well as, I would admit, the War Between the States) makes sense. The British government generally allowed the colonies to manage themselves (and/or starve themselves) until they were caught in George II's and George III's imperialist interests during the Wars for Empire; a small part of which we Americans call the French and Indian War, after which the colonists generally felt like they were being treated like small children or as conscriptable cannon fodder for the King's coffers. (Did you know that Massachusetts lost about 8% of its entire male population during "King George's War" [War of the Austrian Succession] in the year 1745 alone? One wonders if the people in that Massachusetts even knew where Austria was on a map, much less care about their dynastic disputes.)

Certain trad columnists blow the "social experiment in Masonic ideals" out of proportion because, in reality, both the war and our government was produced largely from compromise due to conflicting cultures. Not only did colonial culture have less and less in common with mother England as the generations passed, but each colony was practically a different country than the next. Monarchy, strong republic, weak republic, and every other form of government you can imagine was deliberated by the Founding Fathers. Of course, we tried our hand at confederation for a few years under the Articles, but it didn't really work out. As such, we should remember that the Constitution was ratified essentially because it was the least disagreeable... not because it was part of a social engineering plot.

One final thought: the aforementioned trad columnists typically attempt to paint the American Revolution as a rebellion against God the same way the French Revolution was. There are many reasons why this is simply implausible. 1.) The average colonial American in the 1770's was far more "religious" than the average Briton. America, then and even now, has typically been viewed by Britain as being made up of religious fundamentalists; after all, the colonies were founded by all sorts of religious extremists. 2.) America wouldn't have won the war without the support of two Catholic monarchies: France and Spain. And if you believe like I do that Louis XVI was a fairly good guy and a serious Catholic, it only lends credence to the righteousness of the American cause. Indeed, Louis XVI is one of our Founding Fathers. 3.) The patriots' most important financial benefactor was Catholic founding father Charles Carroll, the richest man in all thirteen colonies.

And finally, contrary to the belief that the First Amendment was a major step in secularization, all it did was prohibit Congress from establishing a state religion. It left individual states to determine their official religions. Congress couldn't declare the entire Union to be Anglican if Massachusetts was Puritan. Actually, the colony of Maryland, which was founded by Catholics, is notable for being the first colony to establish a policy of neutrality in religion.

Some states maintained established churches until the Civil War. This isn't too far from what the British state does. For example, the monarch might be head of the Church of England, but the official church of Scotland is the Church of Scotland, of which the monarch is only a normal member. Likewise, the Church of England was not the official church in many of the thirteen colonies.
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