Saturday, July 04, 2009
Patriots, Tories, and Common Sense.
T.R. Fehrenbach, in his excellent history of the land and peoples of Texas "Lone Star", makes a strong case for the Scots-Irish contribution to American history.
From the time of Jamestown and Plymouth Rock, English settlers in the American Colonies had been mostly just that: English. The Colonies didn't push too far in from the coast, not wanting to get too removed from the lifeline to England that the coastal ports afforded. But in the early 18th century, the "Black" Scots-Irish immigration began. Unlike the later waves of Catholic immigrants from Ireland, these were of Presbyterian bent, many of which were a restless breed from the border area between Scotland and England. Shortly after their arrival in the Colonies, the Westward Expansion began. These were the first American Pioneers (as opposed to Settlers). But first there was the matter of the British to deal with, and their restrictions.
While the leadership of the Rebels were for the most part themselves patricians, the men who took the fight to the Red Coats in the Southern and Central Colonies were more often of this Scots-Irish cast. Fiercely independent, they chaffed at elements of British Rule that seem trivial to us today, partly because they knew what being under the thumb of a "ruling class" was like. They wanted no more of the oppression they had suffered for centuries, confined to fuedal lands, and were quick to respond against even the hint of it. These were the men (and women) who became known as the Patriots.
But the American Revolution was as much a civil war as it was a war to win Independence from from Britain. It wasn't simply Colonists against the British Army. It was Colonists against other Colonists. Some of the Colonists had no wish for independence from England. They didn't chafe at restrictions, at being second class subjects of The Crown. They wanted the comfort of the narrow coastal lands, and the presumed presence of the British Red Coats to protect them, even though that meant having to hug the coastal areas. They had no desire to push westward, into the mountains to the prairies beyond. They preferred the comfortable illusion of safety over the fearful prospect of freedom. These were the Tories.
On this Independence Day, I encourage you to do the patriotic thing. Embrace freedom. Don't listen to the Tories and their tales of fear. Resist their attempts at confinement and restriction. Rebel against the power of fear, and the false freedom of low expectation. Break out into the lane... and only look back to establish your rightful place as a free man or woman in your full lane.
Be a Patriot, not a Tory. Reject inferiority. Become a vehicular cyclist.
It's what Common Sense dictates. Happy 4th of July, y'all!