.. any point in history if the Indians had been treated differently by any of America’s initial visitors that I could have been speaking a dialect of one of the American Indian Nations. There are many things, which could have happened. I choose only to think about that which did occur and has helped to mold the way in which I am part of life and see life everyday. Although I didn’t really hold any biases this question made me think.
In my family tree it is traceable that I had some members of my family come to America on the Mayflower thirteen generations before, and they weren’t from any of the major nations involved in the Revolution. I guess what hit me is that at this point in time there are a variety of people in America from different cultures. I am curious to know what was going on with the other cultures and how they viewed the revolution. I find it hard to believe that those colonists, who were not English, but lived in America really cared whether or not there was a break with England. What makes this hard to believe is that if you take a group of people who are not loyal to England, and than take over ownership of that land, but those people are still there, to them what difference did it make who the next owners would be if it wasn’t going to be the country that they had come from.
I did have some prior knowledge of this subject area. I don’t feel that I knew as much about this subject as some of the others we have discussed however I was familiar with different aspects of it. The information that I had prior knowledge of was relatively accurate. It wasn’t always complete but what I had been taught was accurate. I was familiar with Washington’s background and how he had made a vast array of mistakes, including many that resulted in military losses during the French and Indian War and The American Revolution.
I did not know about Washington fighting with Braddock and bravely leading the British Army in retreat. I essentially had learned about many of the battles Washington had fought in without really learning about what Washington was able to learn and how he developed into a man and leader. I was unfamiliar with how deeply Washington desired to gain a British commission, and I really didn’t know why he had not been able to achieve this. I had learned about the various reasons that the colonists and Britain felt led to war, but I was relatively unaware of how this affected the American Indians or the slaves and Africans. I knew about the whole idea that slaves were able to purchase their freedom, and sometimes that of their family.
What I hadn’t previously understood was how they saved the money to do this and how were they able to keep track of their family. If I remember correctly from when we learned about this subject in high school, I believe that there were some slaves that tried to purchase their families freedom and found out that their family had changed hands and they didn’t know whose hands they were know in. There was a variety of information on the American Indians that I was rather unfamiliar with as well. I did not know much about how the Africans or the American Indians came to participate in either the French and Indian or Revolutionary War. I did have a small base upon which to build regarding the American Indians involvement in the French and Indian War.
I recall learning that the War was essentially because of the fur trade. I didn’t realize that their were already Indians from other nations fighting on the side of the French that encouraged the American Indians who were trying to maintain their peaceful ways to go to war in order to defend themselves and their families. This again however was the first time I really learned about how the Africans and the American Indians came to participate in the wars and what had happened to them. Much of the information about the various colonial statesman I had heard before, some of the information I had learned previously was not as thorough or easy to understand as the view that was presented regarding their various opinions of what was occurring and how that would effect the future of the colonies. I think what made this information even easier to understand was the concept of using their background and attitudes at the same time as the explanation.
In grade school when you learn about historical leaders, you learn about their background and than what they did. By intertwining the two I was better able to understand why the leaders felt certain ways about certain things much easier. Another aspect that made films such as the Liberty series much easier to follow was the whole idea of using people to dress up and historically recreate various people and incidents that occurred. I believe that when information is presented it is much easier to maintain that information that is presented in an interesting manner. By using the reenactors to act out various battles, or explain a statesman’s views in the first person, it is much easier to grasp that which is being taught. The material contained within these films is relevant to class discussions and our readings because it helps to tie all the information together. I can read Brinkley’s book and get dry facts about the Revolution and don’t tell the entire story.
I can read Zinn’s book and get a view of what happened that Brinkley forgot to include. However by only reading what happened it is still difficult to tie together all that happened in the years surrounding 1776. The films and class discussions help to tie the readings together so that it all makes sense. I feel that the information contained in these films will always be useful in the teaching and understanding of American history and more specifically the teaching of the American Revolution. There were a number of different views presented on the Revolution and it is important for future students to know the views of the people on all sides of that war.
I also feel that there are a lot of foreigners who do not know our version of why the American Revolution occurred. I have a few friends who live on the other side of the world and when speaking with them you forget that some of the things that occurred in history we consider to be good, but they might not feel that way. I feel that by using information such as that which we have viewed in these films where all the sides are presented everyone will understand why the Revolution occurred and why people fought on the sides that they did. It is my personal opinion that by getting accurate information everyone will be able to understand what happened regardless of where you live or are from. I believe that by educating people about the reasons for the various wars that occurred in history we may be able to avoid some future war.
The following are questions that I have either as a result of viewing the film or questions that were brought about by the film: 1) How did colonists not of English, African American, or American Indian decent feel about the break with England? 2) What were the French hoping to gain if anything by helping the Americans near the end of the war? 3) How many of the African Americans that fought on the side of the British died during the course of the war in comparison with how many British died in the course of the war? 4) How many African Americans were actually able to escape slavery through fighting for the British? 5) Throughout the course of the war many people questioned the concept of slavery, however they did not abolish it all over. Did the number of slaves in the United States increase after the war? And if so, why did it when so many people were already questioning the institution? 6) Why did England think so poorly of the colonists? They were made up of those strong and brave enough to make the journey across the ocean and create a life in a place they had never been before. 7) Why was it important to speak French to be an officer in the British Army? 8) When Washington screws up and admits to dashing the French diplomats head, which is an error of translation, it seems that this is something that will follow his career for a number of years and not look good on his military record. How or why do the Americans not remember this when they put him in charge of various American Army units and eventually the entire forces? To me it seems that his previous record and actions should have had some say in his placement. 9) What happened to those colonists that were caught in limbo and did not want to break away from Britain when the war broke out? 10) If the American Indians had not helped to fight the war would they have been treated as they have been, better, or worse? 11) Did the Indians know prior to entering the war on the side of the colonists that one of the reasons for the war was the fact that England would not allow the colonists to settle west of the Appalachian Mountains? History Essays.