Every now and again I find some bit of history that highlights the subjectivity of everything I think I know—at once engrossing on its own merits, but discouraging in its implications to my (and most people’s) education. You know the feeling, I’m sure.
This is a brilliant essay, from a Telegraph writer:
“The men who raised that standard believed that they were fighting for their freedoms as Britons — freedoms that had been trampled by a Hanoverian king and his hirelings. When they called themselves Patriots — a word that had been common currency among Whigs on both sides of the Atlantic long before anyone dreamed of a separation — they meant that they were British patriots, cherishing the peculiar liberties that had come down to them since Magna Carta: jury trials, free contract, property rights, habeas corpus, parliamentary representation, liberty of conscience, and the common law.”
“It did not occur to any of the actors to treat the conflict as being between two nations — at least, not until the French became involved in 1778. Indeed, the whole affair would be better understood as the Second Anglosphere Civil War — the first being the one fought across England, Scotland, Ireland, and America in the 1640s.”