American Revolution - how did the Founders survive?


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Fletchette
June 13, 2006, 12:50 AM
One thing that has me puzzled, as it never seems to be addressed in various history books, is how did the Founders of the American Revolution escape prosecution? The British knew who was behind the unrest, as John Hancock and company wrote him a letter about the subject.

Why didn't the British simply burn the estates of the Founders to the ground?

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Hoppy590
June 13, 2006, 01:44 AM
from my understanding they did burn many homes and threaten familys. i couldnt really say why they didnt go further but, war at the time was a gentlemans affair. two armys would meet on the battle ground and slug it out in lines. american militia-men did introduce gurilla warfare, but the majority was still fighting in lines. so maybe the brits played the gentleman and avoided such "uncivilized" means

obviously they enemys of our past were more reasonable and civilized than the enemys of our present. elsewise the brits would have been beheading and torturing.

Diamondback6
June 13, 2006, 01:50 AM
Actually, most of the signers did end up poor or dead IIRC. I think part of the reason many escaped from the Crown's "justice" *snort* was that back then, ID was more difficult to prove/disprove and that it was easy to "go to ground" when necessary, just hide out and overland hike/ride to an AO where you were less notorious if you had to. Plus sympathizers ready to hide them when necessary.

Just my best guess.

pipoman
June 13, 2006, 02:53 AM
ID was more difficult to prove/disprove and that it was easy to "go to ground" when necessary,

I have pondered that too. I think there was a movement for independance which, while not all encompassing, created sympathisers, spys and a working underground network.

dmckean44
June 13, 2006, 02:55 AM
Five signers were captured by the British as traitors and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons in the war, and another had two sons captured. Seventeen of the 56 fought in the war and nine of them died from wounds or the hardships of the war.

PinnedAndRecessed
June 13, 2006, 10:11 AM
I have this note in my files:

Declaration of Independence
Fifty-six men signed the Declaration of Independence. Their conviction resulted in untold sufferings for themselves and their families. Of the 56 men, five were captured by the British and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons in the Revolutionary Army. Another had two sons captured. Nine of the fifty-six fought and died from wounds or hardships of the war. Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships sunk by the British navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts and died in poverty. At the battle of Yorktown, the British General Cornwallis had taken over Thomas Nelsonís home for his headquarters. Nelson quietly ordered General George Washington to open fire on the Nelson home. The home was destroyed and Nelson died bankrupt. John Hart was driven from his wifeís bedside as she was dying. Their thirteen children fled for their lives. His fields and mill were destroyed. For over a year, he lived in forest and caves, returning home only to find his wife dead and his children vanished. A few weeks later, he died from exhaustion.

hillbilly
June 13, 2006, 10:18 AM
Something that gets glossed over in the school textbooks is just how brutal and nasty and violent and bloody and awful the American Revolution really was.

Look up the sarcastic term "Tarleton's Quarter" for an example.

Check out info on the prison ships anchored in Boston Harbor.

It wasn't just a bunch of patriots giving speeches and winnig glory and freedom.

There was a whole lot of killing and dying and suffering and burning and breaking and oppressing and torturing and hanging.

hillbilly

Brian Williams
June 13, 2006, 10:45 AM
They did not. It should be the Land of the Free because of the Brave.

oweno
June 13, 2006, 10:59 AM
Whenever a question like this pops up, I like to recommend:

"A Few Bloody Noses - The Realities and Mythologies of the American Revolution" by Robert Harvey.

Your library can get it for you, I actually bought my own copy it's so good.

Owen

"A few bloody noses" is what King George thought would be all it would take to put down the Revolution - he was wrong. Also, he was not insane at the time, that came much later.

gopguy
June 13, 2006, 11:00 AM
The sacrafices of the founders are misunderstood, not appreciated and poorly taught, hence this thread. The public schools should be ashamed.:fire: It truly is sad how few in this country know anything about the founding of the nation. Most of what I know I read on my own and did not learn in grade school or college. Thank goodness for the history channel running their series on the revolution..since most people these days have to be spoon fed by TV this may make a dent..the vast sea of ignorance in the land is disheartening.

Perhaps one day they will be more than just a bunch of "dead white guys" or derided as a bunch of dead white slave owners.......that one really torks me off.:banghead: :cuss: :fire:

Ira Aten
June 13, 2006, 11:37 AM
Had they known their sufferings and sacrifices of them, and of their families would ultimately result in a country whose current crop of Political Heros would; Bar the excercise of religion in any public place; Bar the right to assembly, along with free speech; Completely mischaracterize the meaning and reasoning behind the right to keep and bear arms; and con us as a People out of the guarantee of public trials overseen by juries, in exchange for a plea bargaining system decided upon solely by a single government employee in cases of repeat child killer/rapists) I doubt seriously if they would have made the same decisions.

When you even try to type out the names of those Gentlemen, next to the names of our current crop of Political Heros in Washington, it is borders obscenity. They knowingly gave up everything with the exception of their Sacred Honor and hold that still, to this day.

I find it hard to imagine men like Samuel Adams, Benjamin Franklin, et al, exposing themselves to nineteen year old interns or drunkenly driving off bridges and staggering home drunk leaving a young female intern trapped underneath their carriage to drown, and the voters re-electing them to a public office.

Can you imagine someone such as Thomas Jefferson stuffing ninety thousand dollars in bribe money in say, his ice box and upon being caught red handed be backed by both his party leaders, and the OPPOSITION PARTY in a demand he be excluded from the search of his PULBIC OFFICE in a Felony matter because he is a member of Congress?

I doubt very much they would be pleased with sacrificing all they had for a country full of people more interested in who wins some nationwide TV talent competition show than they are in making it mandatory their Political Heros act somewhat better than a bunch of "Animal House" fraternity brothers.

gopguy
June 13, 2006, 11:51 AM
Ira, Thank you. I could not have said it better myself. I often think my ancestors who fought in the Revolution would be rolling in their graves if they could see what has happened to the Republic they created.:banghead:

TallPine
June 13, 2006, 11:51 AM
"A few bloody noses" is what King George thought would be all it would take to put down the Revolution - he was wrong. Also, he was not insane at the time, that came much later.
Strange how history repeats itself ..... :uhoh: ;)

JesseJames
June 13, 2006, 12:09 PM
This country was unusually blessed with more than its fair share of men of genius at its inception.
These were men of reflection. They thought DEEP. They would still put the majority of modern day politicians to shame.
They put their lives on the line. Put it ALL on the line.

I am rather saddened to some extent that we have come from "I regret that I have but one life to give for my country!" and "Give me liberty! Or give me death!", to "Dude! Where's my car?".

Yeah, dumb joke but you get what I mean right?

cuervo
June 13, 2006, 01:24 PM
Here are a couple of general summaries:
http://www.celebratelove.com/whathappened.htm
http://jczone.com/signers.htm

And here is a short biography of each of the signers:
http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/signers/index.htm

Bartholomew Roberts
June 13, 2006, 01:35 PM
Had they known their sufferings and sacrifices of them, and of their families would ultimately result in a country whose current crop of Political Heros would; Bar the excercise of religion in any public place;

I don't know I would agree. Given some of the commentary of the founders on religion, I can see where they might be less sympathetic than you think. For example:

"The Christian priesthood, finding the doctrines of Christ levelled to every understanding and too plain to need explanation, saw, in the mysticisms of Plato, materials with which they might build up an artificial system which might, from its indistinctness, admit everlasting controversy, give employment for their order, and introduce it to profit, power, and pre-eminence. " - Thomas Jefferson, letter to Alexander Smyth Jan 17, 1825

"I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of...Each of those churches accuse the other of unbelief; and for my own part, I disbelieve them all." - The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine, pp. 8,9 (Republished 1984, Prometheus Books, Buffalo, NY)

""During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity, in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution." - James Madison, letter to William Bradford April 1, 1774

Bar the right to assembly, along with free speech;

You mean like the Alien and Sedition Acts (http://www.bartleby.com/65/al/AlienNSe.html) that were passed in 1798 and did just that? These laws made our modern day complaints about freedom of speech look tame by comparison.

Con us as a People out of the guarantee of public trials overseen by juries, in exchange for a plea bargaining system decided upon solely by a single government employee in cases of repeat child killer/rapists)

The guarantee of a trial by jury is made to the INDIVIDUAL facing trial. Any of the people who ask for a plea bargain have the alternative to request a trial by jury instead. The guarantee of trial is not a guarantee to those of us not on trial that all defendants will face a jury trial and it never has been. As to plea bargaining, it is mostly a 19th century invention (http://www.bsos.umd.edu/gvpt/lpbr/subpages/reviews/Fisher1103.htm) that has its roots in American law around the time of the founding fathers.

I find it hard to imagine men like Samuel Adams, Benjamin Franklin, et al, exposing themselves to nineteen year old interns or drunkenly driving off bridges and staggering home drunk leaving a young female intern trapped underneath their carriage to drown, and the voters re-electing them to a public office.

Actually Franklin had quite a reputation with the ladies even after marriage (http://www.time.com/time/2003/franklin/bfwomen.html) and I am sure that the guy who wrote "Beer is proof God loves us and wants us to be happy" probably has a few drunken espisodes to his credit, even if they haven't sunk to Teddy Kennedy levels. Franklin wasn't alone among the founders either...

I doubt very much they would be pleased with sacrificing all they had for a country full of people more interested in who wins some nationwide TV talent competition show than they are in making it mandatory their Political Heros act somewhat better than a bunch of "Animal House" fraternity brothers.

We pretty much agree here. I doubt that any of them despite their faults would be impressed to see the degree of apathy the citizens of the United States have developed with regard to their own government. It amazes me to see higher voter turnout for elections where voting meant stopping work (no pay), riding for several days on a horse to the county seat and staying in an inn for a few days (expense) just to exercise the right.

Despite all that, the founding fathers were men just like the rest of us and there were flaws, scandals, and events that we have largely forgotten.
__________________

The Dan in Black
June 13, 2006, 01:39 PM
I foynd this on Snopes a while back. It outlines some of the history. Take it for what its worth.

http://www.snopes.com/history/american/pricepaid.asp

- D

Fletchette
June 15, 2006, 12:29 AM
Very helpful, and interesting guys. Thanks.

I wonder why history books (especially those intended for schools) purge all the exciting stuff out of them. I think kids would find history much more interesting if they were told the whole, bloody story rather than simply memorizing a bunch of dates.

It would also give them a sense of what is important.

PinnedAndRecessed
June 15, 2006, 07:25 AM
I don't consider snopes to be credible. Granted, they are right sometimes. But I consider it coincidence. Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn, periodically.

JohnBT
June 15, 2006, 08:31 AM
How did they survive? Here's one example. www.ushistory.com/jouett.htm

"The year was 1781. On the night of June 3, Jack Jouett was sitting outside the Cuckoo Tavern in the town of Louisa, VA when he heard the sounds of riding cavalry. He crept softly to the roadside where he saw Col. Banastre Tarleton with a detatchment of troops, known as the Green Dragoons, riding toward Charlottesville, VA. Jack knew at once whom they meant to capture there. Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, Benjamin Harrison, and Thomas Nelson, who had all signed the Declaration of Independence and were all members of the Virginia legislature, were together at Monticello having fled from Richmond on the approach of Gen. Charles Cornwallis. Jack knew he had to warn them, and there was no one else to do it.

He saddled and bridled his bay mare, Sallie, and rode the forty miles from the Cuckoo to Charlottesville. He could not take the only road, for fear of being caught. Instead, he rode across meadows, through thickets, woods and footpaths. There was only the moon to light his way. Branches tore his skin and clothing but his determination kept him going. The troops did not know he had seen them and stopped three times along the way: once to rest their horses, next to burn an American wagon train, and the third time at Castle Hill where two legislators were sleeping. Here, they arrested them in their nightshirts.

Jouett rode through the night and arrived at Monticello just before dawn. He pounded on the door and warned those inside that Tarleton's men were on the way to capture them. At Monticello that night were Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Nelson Jr., Richard Lee, Benjamin Harrison, Patrick Henry and Edmund Randolph. Before they fled, Jefferson was able to hide the state papers that the British had hoped to find. Tarleton reached Charlottesville two hours later and found his "quarry" gone.

Jack rode on to his father's inn, the Swan, where other assemblymen were staying. He warned them also, and a few militia rushed to hold the British at the river. Several members of the Assembly were taken to General Stevens, who had been wounded and was too weak to ride. The Jouettes disguised the General in a ragged cloak and helped him mount a nag, while Jack put on a fresh uniform and borrowed his father's fastest horse. When Tarleton saw the bright red coat with epaulets and braid, he thought Jack was an officer of high rank. Jack Jouett led the British on a chase while General Stevens slipped away.

The legislature, reconvening in Staunton, promptly voted Jouett "an elegant sword and a pair of pistols" in appreciation of his activity and enterprise.

Jouett moved the following year to Kentucky, married Sallie Robards, was close to President Andrew Jackson, helped Kentucky achieve statehood, served four terms in the state legislature, and prospered as a planter and horse breeder. The horse, Sallie, that carried Jack Jouett on his ride, became the ancestor of a long line of thoroughbred race horses."

Ira Aten
June 15, 2006, 01:35 PM
Quote from Bart:
"Actually Franklin had quite a reputation with the ladies even after marriage and I am sure that the guy who wrote "Beer is proof God loves us and wants us to be happy" probably has a few drunken espisodes to his credit, even if they haven't sunk to Teddy Kennedy levels."


How totally ridiculous an analogy,

To compare a man like Benjamin Franklin (who as you describe as being quite a lady's man) with some low life clown inserting a cigar into a nineteen year old intern and getting blow jobs from her while supposedly working in the Oval Office of the White House while men were dying in Somalia, is borderline lunacy.

But even more ludicrous, is your comparison of Benjamin Franlin writing down the phrase "Beer is proof that god loves us and wants us to be happy" with Ted Kennedy leaving a woman drowned in his car for seventeen hours and having the audacity to claim he is a "champion of womans rights" is absolutely, without a doubt, one of the most totally intellectually vapid statements I have ever seen delivered in the English language.

Bartholomew Roberts
June 15, 2006, 09:08 PM
Well, that is one way to interpret it, Ira. It is certainly not the way I meant it to be interpreted or the way I anticipated it would be read; but since you seem to have a talent for reading things the way you want I'll leave it at that.

kludge
June 15, 2006, 10:09 PM
JesseJames wrote:
This country was unusually blessed with more than its fair share of men of genius at its inception.
These were men of reflection. They thought DEEP. They would still put the majority of modern day politicians to shame.
They put their lives on the line. Put it ALL on the line.

Couldn't have said it better myself, the founders were studious, knew history, knew about governments, politics, monetary systems, taxation, etc. They warned against political parties, standing armies, private banks controlling the supply of money, and on and on, and today it seems all their wisdom based on studying history for centuies has been tossed in favor of the mess we have now.

Have we sold our birthright for a mess of pottage?

Tommygunn
June 16, 2006, 12:59 AM
Well, not to be too obvious, but they "survived" by winning the war....:what:

Tory
June 16, 2006, 10:33 AM
P&R declares:

I don't consider snopes [sic] to be credible. Granted, they [sic] are right sometimes. But I consider it coincidence. Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn, periodically.

As opposed to posting old (1999) and disproven drivel devoid of substantiation? :scrutiny:

I have alwasy found Snopes to be an excellent and efficient means of debunking the "pass this on to everyone you know" nonsense mindlessly forwarding by the credulous. Please cite ANY documented example of Snopes posting misinformation.

seeker_two
June 16, 2006, 11:48 AM
Couldn't have said it better myself, the founders were studious, knew history, knew about governments, politics, monetary systems, taxation, etc. They warned against political parties, standing armies, private banks controlling the supply of money, and on and on, and today it seems all their wisdom based on studying history for centuies has been tossed in favor of the mess we have now.

Have we sold our birthright for a mess of pottage?

Those in our government have....the average citizen isn't even getting the pottage... :(

Sometimes I wonder...if the FF could see what our nation has become today, would they have continued to fight against King George? :scrutiny:

Freddymac
June 16, 2006, 12:09 PM
american militia-men did introduce gurilla warfare, but the majority was still fighting in lines. so maybe the brits played the gentleman and avoided such "uncivilized" means

Does this sound anything like our current state of affairs in the middle east??? Maybe there is a lesson to be learned here.

sparx
June 16, 2006, 12:31 PM
I wonder why history books (especially those intended for schools) purge all the exciting stuff out of them. I think kids would find history much more interesting if they were told the whole, bloody story rather than simply memorizing a bunch of dates.
+1.

History was my poorest subject in HS as it was nothing but memorization of dates and their corresponding events, with extremely little "life" or "tales of..." thrown in.

If only the Discovery or History channels were around back then, I'm sure I would have made better grades, but I feel that history classes should have a balance between "rote memorization of facts" and good old-fashioned non-fiction "story telling" as well. At least I feel I would have found the classes to more interesting (captivating) and know I would have learned more and scored better as a result.

CNYCacher
June 16, 2006, 12:37 PM
Dose this sound familiar to any one???

american militia-men did introduce gurilla warfare, but the majority was still fighting in lines. so maybe the brits played the gentleman and avoided such "uncivilized" means

Does this sound anything like our current state of affairs in the middle east??? Maybe there is a lesson to be learned here.

The idea of comparing the terrorists running rampant in Iraq to revolutionists in early America is so misguided, it's saddening.

The people fighting the revolutionary war were fighting for their own freedom against an oppressive government who had no real claim over them in the first place. They were fighting FOR themselves and FOR their countrymen who couldn't or wouldn't fight, to try to give power to the people, setting up a new government to empower the people.

The freaks over in Iraq, are killing their own countrymen to try to take advantage of the current political instability to install themselves into a position of power through terrorist acts. They are trying to disrupt a process of setting up a new government for the people. They are trying to prevent Iraq from becoming free, and instead trying to make themselves into a new oppressive government.

:cuss:

Freddymac
June 16, 2006, 12:54 PM
I was pointing out that it is hard to win a war when you play by the rules and the other side does not. I was not likening the terrorists with the founders! I was just trying to illustrate a point- nothing more, nothing less.

Sawdust
June 16, 2006, 01:12 PM
The History Channel is airing a series called "The Revolution" on Sunday nights that may be of interest to some on this thread. It is a chronical relation of the events of the American Revolution.

There have been two episodes so far, and the show is well done.

Very interesting to me, as I am also reading 1776 by David McCullough.

Sawdust

Freddymac
June 16, 2006, 01:24 PM
I couldn't put it down, and I'm not what you would call a "reader"...if you know what I mean?

CNYCacher
June 16, 2006, 02:15 PM
You misunderstood my post
I was pointing out that it is hard to win a war when you play by the rules and the other side does not. I was not likening the terrorists with the founders! I was just trying to illustrate a point- nothing more, nothing less.


I heard someone on the radio make that analogy recently, and so I jumped to conclusions. My apologies.

Freddymac
June 16, 2006, 02:20 PM
I could have explained myself a bit better.

Mk VII
June 16, 2006, 03:16 PM
The people fighting the revolutionary war were fighting for their own freedom against an oppressive government who had no real claim over them in the first place. They were fighting FOR themselves and FOR their countrymen who couldn't or wouldn't fight, to try to give power to the people, setting up a new government to empower the people.

What about the one third of Americans who actively fought for the British, and the other third who just wished both sides would just leave them alone?
It has been described as 'The First American Civil War'.
No doubt those who signed the Declaration would have paid the price if they had lost, as did the surviving regicides who signed Charles I's death warrant.

Kamicosmos
June 16, 2006, 03:44 PM
It has been described as 'The First American Civil War'.

Yup. The Revolution was also one of the first 'world wars' when Germany and France got involved.

Tory
June 16, 2006, 05:34 PM
The Revolution was also one of the first 'world wars' when Germany and France got involved.

Hardly. :scrutiny:

Germany did not even EXIST, still less get "involved." Germany would not exist for another century, when Prussian Prince Wilhelm was crowned in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles as Kaiser Wilhelm I, concluding the Franco-Prussian War.

Moreover, the Hessians you obliquely refer to were mere mercenaries whose services were leased to the British by their cash-poor ruler. Hardly an alliance.

France WAS an ally, as anything which bled British forces away in the colonies aided its actions on the continent and the Caribbean. Think of the French support as a sort of "proxie war," like the Chinese using the Koreans and Viet Namese. ;)

Early "world wars?" The coalition against the French revolution generally and Napoleon particularly comes to mind. Russia, Prussia and Britain, among others.

lance22
June 16, 2006, 05:49 PM
When I look at how much the signers of the Declaration sacrificed, I am ashamed for the Kennedy's, Metznbaums, Schumers, Clinton's, Moores, Fienstiens that litter our nation with their treason.

In 1775 the Brittish tried to disarm the citizens of Concord. Did they surrender arms? Was there a fight? Why do Schumer and Obama propose what the Founding Fathers fought against?

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