Sunday, August 23, 2009

This Day In History 08.23.09

On this day, August 23rd, in 1775, King George III set out a proclamation stating that the American colonies were at a state of "open and avowed rebellion". The official title A Proclamation for Suppressing Rebellion and Sedition was in response to the events at Bunker Hill in June of that year. King George III stated that all colonists who held up arms against the crown were now traitors.

The Battle of Bunker Hill, while it was a victory for the British, was by no means a grand one. The British lost 226 including a number of officers and had over 800 wounded. What the British also realized that day, was that the ragtag so-called soldiers brought forth by the American colonies were able to stand up to the King's troops.

American history classes tell us that the American Revolution was a war for independence. Well, it was, but not in 1775. Because of taxation and the 'Intolerable Laws' set forth in 1774 the colonists feared that their constitutional rights were being violated, and revolted. In June of 1775 the Continental Army was produced by the Second Continental Congress along with the Olive Branch Petition, which was a document sent to George III in hopes of reconciliation. It was outright refused by the King and he responded with his proclamation.

The Olive Branch Petition

What King George III didn't realize, was that rejection of the Olive Branch Petition gave John Adams the fuel he needed in order to finally make the final push towards independence. It also opened up the minds of the colonists: either they could remain loyal to the crown (Loyalist) or want for independence (Patriot or in the British view: Rebel). There was no middle ground. Everyone had to pick a side.

Recommended reading:

Common Sense by Thomas Paine
1776 by David McCullough


Jenny said...

Interesting. Is this from the book? History NEVER interested me in school, but for some reason now as an adult it does interest me more.

Christy B said...

This here isn't from the book, but a few things I mentioned are in there. The book overviews the events in the second half of 1775 that leads to 1776 and then, of course, the entire year of 1776.

And I'm the same way. History used to put me to sleep, but learning it on my own has made me love it.