Jan 24, 2020 in Exploratory

History

The sustainable progress of any national is impossible if it is dependent on another one. This paper elaborates on the history of American Revolution using the History Channel’s video “America, the Story of Us: Revolution”. The major ideas and elements of the narrative will be examined. The key inclusions and exclusions will be mentioned. The impact on the popular perception of earlier American history will be assessed. The American Revolution was successful due to effective leadership, training, intelligence, and devotion of American people.

The film is arguing that the origin of the revolutionary spirit was observed during the meeting of 50 delegates from 13 colonies in Philadelphia. They exchanged their opinions on the current challenges and decided to fight for the complete independence of the country. It was the only way of practically implementing the ideas of liberty and prosperity. The delegates included Jefferson, Franklin, Adams, and other prominent figures of the early America. The consensus between these future national leaders was crucial for consolidating their efforts and adoption of the Declaration of Independence. It was stated that “all men are created equal”, and all individuals possess some “inalienable rights”. The delegates stressed that people’s rights and liberties are not granted by the government but constitute the highest value.

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Britain decided to suppress the rebels through sending around 400 ships to North America. New York was under the attack in September, 1776. Americans were unable to resist the best army of that time. It was the first defeat of the General Washington. However, he made the necessary conclusions from it and implemented a new tactics that was based on militia. In this way, the British army was unable to demonstrate their best qualities. It became evident that the Revolutionary War would take a long time, and British soldiers would be unable to complete it within 6 months.

The number of Americans supported the Revolutionary War tended to increase. One of the reasons was the destruction of the New York City as the ¼ of the city was burnt. The British were also very cruel in relation to rebels. The prisons were characterized by very difficult conditions, and 9 of 10 prisoners died. Almost all farmers were also the enemies of the British army due to the experienced destructions and losses. Gradually, the American nation consolidated in their War against Britain. They became able to resist the oppression and increased the amount of resources directed to confronting the British invasion.

The new military tactics implemented by Americans was successful. They used militia for surprise attacks and began targeting officers. As the order of the British army depended on the high role of its officers, it was possible to have a significant impact on its military power. In one of the battles when the British officer was assassinated, the British army lost around 1,000 soldiers. Militia used tress for blocking the roads and creating problems for the British army’s mobility. British soldiers were able to move only around a mile per day. Americans also used several innovations that allowed demonstrating the unprecedentedly high accuracy of fighting. In general, the guerilla war was highly successful at the first stages of the Revolutionary War.

Additional challenges were associated with the spreading of diseases during the War. Washington had to organize houses for his soldiers as the climate was severe, and a large number of soldiers had no shoes. Around 2,000 soldiers were seriously ill. The major problem was the infectious diseases emerged due to smallpox. The mortality rates were very high (around 40%). Inoculation was used to contribute to the development of soldiers’ immune system. Although it also creates some risks (1 of 50 soldiers died), the general effects were mostly positive. The number of ill soldiers declined from several thousands to several dozens.

After the implementation of crucial reforms, Washington was able to create the effective fighting machine. With the help of military professionals, the order and discipline were established among American soldiers. The reform included not only the new tactics and weapon but also the new professional attitude towards military functions. The soldiers understood that they had the common goal of achieving the independence from Britain. It was necessary for promoting the ideas of liberty and implementing them in the United States.

Washington developed a complex system of spies that informed him about the major plans and tactics of his opponents. Spies often used a special ink that could not be identified by the British. The whole network of spies was established. It allowed receiving the information on time. Washington made the corresponding response actions to neutralize the British forces. For example, spies allowed saving the French fleet. Washington moved his forces to New York and prevented the large-scale British attack. Finally, the successful military operation in Virginia in 1781 demonstrated that American forces began to dominate over British ones. The subsequent peace negotiations led to the recognition of American independence by all developed countries in the world.  

The only aspect that is missing from this narrative is the collaboration between the United States and France. It is mentioned that France helped the US, but any details are not provided. Therefore, the role of France in the Revolutionary War cannot be determined from this video. It is highlighted and emphasized that the American military forces were the “melting pot”, but the effective leadership allowed maximizing the general positive effect. It is not highly important that the collaboration with France is not mentioned because the War was won by the entire American nation, and French assistance was not crucial in this context. 

The major implicit argument made by the film is that people can reach any objectives if they fight for their freedom. British soldiers were well-prepared, but they fought for their king. Americans were in a disadvantaged position, but they were able to overcome all difficulties as they aimed at achieving their freedom. The inclusions and exclusions allow determining the balance of powers at different stages of the Revolutionary War. 

The film shapes the popular perception of American history as it demonstrates numerous details of the war that are unknown to the general public. For example, the strategy of targeting and assassinating officers is explained. Moreover, the general public may understand better the high social consequences of this war. Around 25,000 people died during the Revolutionary War, and even a higher number of soldiers were wounded. However, the achieved results were also significant. The new independent nation was born. It was the first and only case when the country received the independence from Britain in a military way.

It may be concluded that this film presents a significant amount of valuable historical information. It shows various aspects of American attempts in fighting for their freedom. It may be helpful both for professional historians and all people interested in the early American history. Although some details require further elaborations, the film describes the spirit of that period very well. Many issues are also highly relevant nowadays especially in the context of neutralizing all types of aggression in the modern world.

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