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Go Back   Armchair General and HistoryNet >> The Best Forums in History > Historical Events & Eras > American Age of Discovery, Colonization, Revolution, & Expansion > American Revolution

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American Revolution 1763-1789 The birth of a new nation - to commence at the Proclaimation of 1763 to the end of the Articles of Confederation.

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  #61  
Old 04 Mar 16, 11:33
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The concept of just war has to be filtered through the lens of evolutionary psycology. The anthropological evidence suggests that war has been practice by most people everywhere in the world. As Steven Pinker points out the chance of dying a violent death was probably lower in the 20th century than at any time in the history of modern man going back at least 40 thousand years. To get a broader perspective I recommend Ian Morris's War! What Is It Good For?: Conflict and the Progress of Civilization from Primates to Robots

What we can conclude is that war has been good for at least two seemly contradictory things. The rapid dispersion of humans across the globe and the formulation of states. For a variety of reason a moralistic perspective is simply not instructive. If we look at our closest relatives the chimpanzee we can observe that they engage in war only when there is practically no risks to the initiator. Culture partially breaks this pattern by replacing biological fitness with the fitness of abstract ideas. Some of the pattern is retained however as cultures, which can be thought of loosely as analogous to multi celled individuals, do not often engage in wars they expect to lose. Some of the confusion regarding the morality of war comes from seeing the world through the lens of biological fitness.

While societies must have fitness at the biological level to maintain the population their ultimate fate is more closely tied to their relative fitness to other societies. In the interplay between biology and culture it is important to remember that culture was a prerequisite for modern humans to emerge not the other way around.

It is not surprising that the concept of human rights emerged in Western Europe and not in other parts of the world where concepts such as Caliph and mandate of heaven predominated. These system are predicated on obligations not rights.

You can think of the small states and provinces of war lords following the collapse of the Roman Empire from a cultural fitness point of view. The remaining societies returned to something analogous to the egalitarianism of hunter gather societies. In most hunter gather societies anyone wanting too much power is quickly dispatched. Contrast that to the larger agrarian societies where the planning mechanisms that are inherently needed depend on a hierarchical system. The larger the system the more concentrated authority it requires to operate efficiently.

In small constantly warring tribes we see both a need for the right of authority to be constantly reinforced and a tendency for warfare to be ritualized. The rights of kings and the obligation of the mandate of heaven should not be confused. In this way we can see the enlightenment growing not so much out of accumulated wisdom but out of the need to find solutions to the constant upheaval among geographical constrained warring tribes. We may also observe the natural aversion to the concentration of power in tribal societies.

That brings us to the modern age where it is clear that international law progressed not by way of altruistic instincts but the effects technology imposed on the cost of war and how technology such as improved communication clarified those costs. In other words war had lost it's fitness benefit.

Arguments to the contrary are rendered somewhat mute by the fact that the eglatarian societies of Russia, China and Cambodia account for more violent death than the two great wars in the 20th century.

I think we can now go back and ask what the American Revolutionary war was good for. It separates two fundamentally distinct cultures to pursue there own course. It isolated the Americas from European conflicts allowing the U.S. to develop rapidly without the drain on men and materials that wars require. It ultimately provided a replacement to the British Empire as a world peace keeping force. It provided an early experiment in limited egalitarianism to work as a model for other nations. It rapidly opened up resources to the world making the world safer through the process of discounting the fitness benefit of warfare. It clarified the link between material wealth and the peacefulness of a people. It provided a reservoir of intellectual freedom in a world inclined toward dictatorial egalitarianism which is reemerging in Europe.
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  #62  
Old 04 Mar 16, 12:14
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Originally Posted by Arnold J Rimmer View Post
You have to remember that we ended a winning streak. Back in the 1700s British troops surrendering and the Empire being ejected was a novelty.

I the 20th Century it became routine, but back then it was news.
Lol your wrong on all counts
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  #63  
Old 04 Mar 16, 12:44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arnold J Rimmer View Post
You have to remember that we ended a winning streak. Back in the 1700s British troops surrendering and the Empire being ejected was a novelty.

I the 20th Century it became routine, but back then it was news.
The three great British military humiliations were
  • York Town
  • Kut el Amra
  • Singapore

Interestingly all sieges

There were some defeats but usually balanced by a bounce back so for example right after the disaster of the 1st Afghan War the British and Indian Army re-invaded Afghanistan quite successfully, Rorkes Drift, although in the scale of things a minor action, was suitably heroic as to redress Isandlwana in public opinion. What shocked the British psyche about the three great disasters was that the enemy had been portrayed previously to the British public as inferior opponents. The Continental Army had been portrayed as country bumpkins (Yankee Doodle was originally a British insult to Americans). The Ottoman Army was regarded as an inefficient and inept force only effective when fighting from behind fortifications (which on many fronts it was) and the Japanese had been stereotyped as weedy glasses wearers (which mistake the USA also made).
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  #64  
Old 04 Mar 16, 13:01
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkV View Post
The three great British military humiliations were
  • York Town
  • Kut el Amra
  • Singapore

Interestingly all sieges

There were some defeats but usually balanced by a bounce back so for example right after the disaster of the 1st Afghan War the British and Indian Army re-invaded Afghanistan quite successfully, Rorkes Drift, although in the scale of things a minor action, was suitably heroic as to redress Isandlwana in public opinion. What shocked the British psyche about the three great disasters was that the enemy had been portrayed previously to the British public as inferior opponents. The Continental Army had been portrayed as country bumpkins (Yankee Doodle was originally a British insult to Americans). The Ottoman Army was regarded as an inefficient and inept force only effective when fighting from behind fortifications (which on many fronts it was) and the Japanese had been stereotyped as weedy glasses wearers (which mistake the USA also made).
I was referring to the epic blunder that was the entire Crimean War, getting beaten by the Zulus, getting ejected from Afghan, what's-his-face getting his command wiped out along the Nile, years of hurling hundreds of thousands of lives away in pointless attacks for years, the debacle of Gallipoli, the embarrassment at Jutland, the ejection from France 1940, the ejection from Greece, Crete, the fall of Tobruk, the various humiliations of North Africa, Monty's coming in second in Sicily, his blunder in Market Garden, and the ejection from an entire Empire post-WW2.

The British soldier has always fought like hell. But he has rarely been led well, or to victory.
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  #65  
Old 04 Mar 16, 15:45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arnold J Rimmer View Post
He is the greatest Briton there ever was or could be. The height of the British people.

I would have used Flashman, the most noble Briton that people has produced, but a good image in difficult to come by. And then there is the issue of from what period of his glorious career to represent him?
What, you couldn't find an American one that could compete ?

Still, I'm with you on Flashman.
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  #66  
Old 04 Mar 16, 15:54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by panther3485 View Post
And what of the colonies that were about 12,000 miles away (i.e. Australia and New Zealand)? Would they also not, in a matter of time, want to rule themselves? Did they fight revolutionary wars to obtain self rule? Yet did they not - in common with Canada - obtain self rule without such a conflict?

Surely, there must be more significant factors at play than time and distance alone; especially given that we are now looking at roughly four times the distance, if not the same length of time?

Gun control.

The Battles of Lexington and Concord may have never happened and the Revolutionary War never kicked off, if the Redcoats had only stayed in Boston and not come out to take away our militia supplies at Concord.

Once news of dead Americans and the Redcoats having fired the "first" shot reached the other colonies and militias, it was "game on". The Lobsterbacks didn't realize how much supplies and how many guns and cannons we had stockpiled and hidden.

Now you know why we love our Second Amendment.
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Last edited by Salinator; 04 Mar 16 at 22:28..
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  #67  
Old 04 Mar 16, 16:03
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BELGRAVE View Post
What, you couldn't find an American one that could compete ?
Too many to choose from.
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Old 04 Mar 16, 16:04
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Whether The British Empire sucked or not sucked at what is for another thread.

Back on topic.

Arnold, if you persist, I will change your flag to the Union Jack.

And American flags for the Crown defenders.


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  #69  
Old 04 Mar 16, 21:57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arnold J Rimmer View Post
You have to remember that we ended a winning streak. Back in the 1700s British troops surrendering and the Empire being ejected was a novelty.

I the 20th Century it became routine, but back then it was news.
Apparently, and often reflected in their posts.
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Old 04 Mar 16, 22:17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Salinator View Post
Gun control.

The Battles of Lexington and Concord may have never happened and the Revolutionary War never kicked off, if the Redcoats had only stayed in Boston and not come out to take away our militia supplies at Concord.

Once news dead Americans and the Redcoats having fired the "first" shot reached the other colonies and militias, it was "game on". The Lobsterbacks didn't realize how much supplies and how many guns and cannons we had stockpiled and hidden.

Now you know why we love our Second Amendment.
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Old 04 Mar 16, 23:41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arnold J Rimmer View Post
Too many to choose from.
Don't believe you. I know that the this red-blooded, all-American, gun-toting, Trump-voting image of yours is really all an act ,and, in reality, you're a wanna-be Limey. Don't worry, your secret is safe with me.
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Old 05 Mar 16, 00:10
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As expected, the off-shore, tax dodging and smuggling freeloaders are airing their jealousies.

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Old 05 Mar 16, 05:35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfhnd View Post
I think we can now go back and ask what the American Revolutionary war was good for. It separates two fundamentally distinct cultures to pursue there own course. It isolated the Americas from European conflicts allowing the U.S. to develop rapidly without the drain on men and materials that wars require. It ultimately provided a replacement to the British Empire as a world peace keeping force.
Look, you have to choose.

If you want the USA to stand aloof of world-scale wars - basically if they only bash Indian and Mexican heads - then they cannot have world influence, which is required to be a "world peace keeping force".

If you want the USA to have worldwide influence - then they cannot stay out of the world in splendid isolation and only be a regional power.

In practice, a more attentive reading of US history tells us that while isolation certainly was a temptation, and a theory that some adhered to, the USA actually never gave up a chance to stick a finger in every pie.

It is probably true that their finger was less dirty than other power's fingers. It is also true that apart from that, the supposedly idealistic motivation of some of their pie-tasting simply resonates better with us and our ideals today, than the similarly alleged lofty motivations of other powers, which might have sounded convincing in the previous centuries but were becoming outdated.

In both cases, however, behind the righteous talk there were concrete interests.
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Old 05 Mar 16, 06:15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arnold J Rimmer View Post
I was referring to the epic blunder that was the entire Crimean War, getting beaten by the Zulus, getting ejected from Afghan, what's-his-face getting his command wiped out along the Nile, years of hurling hundreds of thousands of lives away in pointless attacks for years, the debacle of Gallipoli, the embarrassment at Jutland, the ejection from France 1940, the ejection from Greece, Crete, the fall of Tobruk, the various humiliations of North Africa, Monty's coming in second in Sicily, his blunder in Market Garden, and the ejection from an entire Empire post-WW2.

The British soldier has always fought like hell. But he has rarely been led well, or to victory.
Britain was on the winning side in the Crimea, Massacred the Zulus at Ulundi, Gordon was commanding an Egyptian force at Khartoum etc etc - do put your prejudices aside and learn some history
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Old 05 Mar 16, 08:47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michele View Post
Look, you have to choose.

If you want the USA to stand aloof of world-scale wars - basically if they only bash Indian and Mexican heads - then they cannot have world influence, which is required to be a "world peace keeping force".

If you want the USA to have worldwide influence - then they cannot stay out of the world in splendid isolation and only be a regional power.

In practice, a more attentive reading of US history tells us that while isolation certainly was a temptation, and a theory that some adhered to, the USA actually never gave up a chance to stick a finger in every pie.

It is probably true that their finger was less dirty than other power's fingers. It is also true that apart from that, the supposedly idealistic motivation of some of their pie-tasting simply resonates better with us and our ideals today, than the similarly alleged lofty motivations of other powers, which might have sounded convincing in the previous centuries but were becoming outdated.

In both cases, however, behind the righteous talk there were concrete interests.
My main point was that it is dangerous to look at history from a moralistic point of view or to try to justify, condemn, or explain history that way.

There is a video series on human violence at the University of California that I recommend.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRsQDfgwP08

It would be tempting for people to say that such a position is amoral but if you watch the last video in the series you will note that scientists are not suggesting that morality has no place in human affairs. What they are saying is that history can be studied objectively to find answers to current problems.

Many of the worlds best thinkers are now coming to the conclusion that interdependence is the answer to world conflict. So what does it take to develop interdependence? They suggest free trade and less stratification in terms of power and wealth. The irony of course is that a "leviathan" is needed to enforce egalitarianism. Keep in mind that force is not limited to physical violence so you can see that there is a natural contradiction in so far as force requires a hierarchical system.

I suppose you could be an anarchist and reject all forms of statism but most of us would agree with Churchill in that "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others." These kinds of contradictions are just the nature of things.

I don't think there is any point in debating that for a considerable period of time, if you ignore slavery, that the U.S. was the most eglatarian European nation. This of course has it's own irony because what we observe in say mountain inhabiting peoples surrounded by other cultures is less hierarchical societies and a kind of fierce isolationism and relatively high levels of violence. In other words if you poke them they are likely to respond with disproportionate violence. I think the implications in terms of the revolt against Britain are obvious in that relatively isolated people with eglatarian aspirations had different "moral" codes than their continental cousins. If you try and examine those codes you cannot do so from the perspective of current standards or even the standards of other people from the same time period.
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