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Monday, July 04, 2005

July 4th, 1776

I do not know much about the detail of these early days of revolution, that I freely admit, but I do wonder what the atmosphere would have been like in Philadelphia, and around the Thirteen Colonies as the news spread, a few days later, when the heady euphoria began to fade and the the scale of the task become clear. Any who thought it would be an easy war were surely quickly shocked into understanding, but likewise those who thought it was the war that had to be won were equally wrong. That was made cruelly plain not a hundred years later, when Americans would again divide into two camps, only this second time they would slaughter each other with a ferocity so far unrivalled (thankfully) in their history.

On one level the Declaration, and the war that followed, changed very little. The main trade routes were restored, the farmers still had to be farmed, and Europe waited for the next round between England and France. After all, from a certain point of view the American Revolution is nothing more than one of a series of wars between England and France in their long battle for supremacy. If you blinker a view too much, however, you are blinded to the whole.

On one level very little changed, but the modern world cannot be understood without reference those goings on, on a July day, two and a bit centuries ago.

Happy Birthday America.

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