Hey Chris, UK history Question

This is a discussion on Hey Chris, UK history Question within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; I was thinking about how we view the revolutionary war, and winning our independence from England. And even further back, about how Columbus worked to ...

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Thread: Hey Chris, UK history Question

  1. #1
    Distinguished Member Array 4my sons's Avatar
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    Question Hey Chris, UK history Question

    I was thinking about how we view the revolutionary war, and winning our independence from England. And even further back, about how Columbus worked to get a group of ships to find faster trade routs and prove to the world that the earth was round.

    These lessons were always taught from "our" perspective, the search that found our home, the struggles to carve out a new life in a new land. And then ultimately declaring our independence from the Monarchy.

    Growing up in Europe, do you remember how these events were looked at from the UK perspective.

    I was just curious, because these events in history helped shape who we are as a country at a core level. And since you are now one of us Yanks It seems like you would have a unique perspective on this.

    "fundamental principle of American law that a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any individual citizen." [Warren v. District of Columbia,(D.C. Ct. of Ap., 1981)]
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    Mike - I'll be honest here - I never was very good on history. I guess at school due to a very poor teacher plus my own lack of enthusiasm, not a whole lot went in to the old cranium! Science was my bag.

    However - that is not strictly relevent to your question but ya know, I really am not sure what the Euro and Brit thinking is on that as far as broad opinion might go. I can only describe my own which I guess is unique but I fear probably not anything like the mass opinion or thinking.

    I over the years became somewhat ashamed of Britain's ''efforts'' in trying to conquer and colonialize so many countries. I learned more and more about what they did and how they did it and overall my impression was one of their astounding and overblown arrogance!!!

    True, with exploration per Columbus - not so bad - this was just man's innate desire to stretch the envelope etc. However, once things reached the stage of redcoats laying down the law here, well - let's just say - I would have been fighting for America and not Britain!!!!

    I guess I have problems with so much that Britain did way back - all but taking over countries - look at India as one example. The ''Rhaj'' - pompous self opinionate aristocrats from England, strutting in their pith helmets as Lords of the manor. Eventually ''giving'' (how generous) the country its independence.

    Much stems from my problems of seeing a little guy get forced by the a big guy to do things against his will - and we are talking usually about force of arms.

    I doubt I have really answered your question - just babbled about my dislike of England's ''conquering'' mode in the past. One thing I do know and that is if it were not for all the Americans who came to help in two world wars, things would have been so very different. I always felt and still feel (with my old Brit jacket on) a huge debt of gratitude to the USA - all to often these days forgotten.
    Chris - P95
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    Distinguished Member Array BCurry1's Avatar
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    Very informative, thanks Chris!
    Curry

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    I don't know, Chris...

    1) In those days, as well as in all previous recorded history, Empire-building was the accepted thing to do. I'm not excusing anyone for doing what they did (not up to me to do so) - but they went looking for natural resources for their Industrial Revolution, and wound up taking over a lot of places and making them part of the Empire.

    In doing so, they brought the culture and philosophical underpinnings of the kind of "Freedom" we so cherish - Locke and Hume and the worth of the individual, all the thought that lead up to our seeing "freedom" and "individual liberty" as so important.

    That they also brutalized and killed a lot of locals is part of the record. Whether it was right or not, who can say? I certainly have no stomach for it.

    2) There is a school of thought that claims that Britain and France had the Kaiser on the run. Our entry into WWI made it a World War instead of a European war of the kind that had been recurring for centuries; made Germanys's defeat a crushing one and lead to the treaty of Versailles which was so punative that it lead, in a few years, to the rise of bitter nationalism in Germany, and precipitated WWII.

    I do not know enough History to have an opinion about this, but I do know that I personally stay out of fights as much as possible. If a friend is seriously attacked I intend to be there with pistol drawn or rifle brought to bear, as necessary - but Nations are not friends; they can be allies but these are strategic alliances, not emotional.

    Anyway, I agree that History is taught differently in different places, and usually written by the winners.

    And I wish our so-called "leaders" read more of it - a lot more - before they sent our armed forces into harm's way.

    Regards,
    Andrew
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    I can agree Andrew that there are two sides to colonization - not all bad but in the final analysis from my perspective the bad usually well outweighed any good. I am just too thinking in more recent times of the natives in say the Brazilian rain forest - modern man turns up to take resourses and if the natives get in the way - tough dodo - they get taken out sometimes because they are an ''inconvenience''.

    Sure in those old days mineral resources were sought and found - but so much was ''take'', ''take'',''take'', - pretty much sometimes a ''rape'' of the country in point and not giving a whole lot back. So for me it was less the principles than the manner of their implementation. As I mentioned, force of arms was often the key and with that subjugation. Woe betide anyone who resisted!

    There are many ways to view history - and as you say the how and where of its teaching will affect some judgements - I have only mentioned the things that sat badly for me. I do have a problem with arrogance and the overt demonstrations of ''power comes from the barrel of a gun'' ..... in particular when controlling powers will make pretty sure the ''other side'' is disarmed.
    Chris - P95
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    "To own a gun and assume that you are armed
    is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."


    http://www.rkba-2a.com/ - a portal for 2A links, articles and some videos.

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    Senior Member Array cmidkiff's Avatar
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    I have a bit of perspective on this... My father lived in Watlington, Oxfordshire (west of London) for 7 years while working for the airlines. One of my visits when I was a teen had me there over July 4th. Dad had a big party, red white and blue party favors and all. His English friends took it in good spirits, saying that they were celebrating the day they got rid of our colonial buts. Didn't see any hard feelings at all.
    Liberty is an inherently offensive lifestyle. Living in a free society guarantees that each one of us will see our most cherished principles and beliefs questioned and in some cases mocked. It's worth it.

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    Member Array BobCat's Avatar
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    Chris,

    Agreed - about the "take, take take" and so forth - no question you are right. I did not mean to try to excuse it, and it sits just as badly with me - I was trying to see the "other"- brighter - side; that along with being invaded, subjugated, raped, and killed, the people in these places got some benefit (of ideas and technology) from the colonial powers.

    Your example of the Brazilians in the rain forests hits home because it is us (US) doing it, not the traditional colonial powers.

    All one can hope for is that the people getting hurt on eventually learn to either shoot back, or somehow make it clear that further subjugation will not be allowed. In India they apparently did this without shooting back, because they had nothing with which to shoot.

    During the Cold War, we were all convinced that the Big One was just around the corner. It did not happen, the same way that two armed individuals (who are not friends) can sit across the table from each other and try to make a deal. Both see there is too much to loose if the shooting starts. If one is armed and the other not, there is no fair dealing; the armed one takes and the unarmed one has not much to say about it. I think that is why so many Americans treasure the Second Amendment so deeply; without our arms we are at the mercy of whoever wants to take whatever we have, including our lives.

    A guy my brother knows said he didn't "believe in" guns. My brother asked him if he carried a handkerchief. The guy said he did, and my brother told him, "Good! You can help! When they are loading you into the cattle car, hold your handkerchief up high. I'll be on a rooftop two blocks away with a rifle; you can be my wind flag!"

    Regards,
    Andrew
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    Senior Member Array cmidkiff's Avatar
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    Talking

    Quote Originally Posted by BobCat
    A guy my brother knows said he didn't "believe in" guns. My brother asked him if he carried a handkerchief. The guy said he did, and my brother told him, "Good! You can help! When they are loading you into the cattle car, hold your handkerchief up high. I'll be on a rooftop two blocks away with a rifle; you can be my wind flag!"

    :D Love that one :)
    Liberty is an inherently offensive lifestyle. Living in a free society guarantees that each one of us will see our most cherished principles and beliefs questioned and in some cases mocked. It's worth it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4my son
    I was thinking about how we view the revolutionary war, and winning our independence from England. And even further back, about how Columbus worked to get a group of ships to find faster trade routs and prove to the world that the earth was round.

    These lessons were always taught from "our" perspective, the search that found our home, the struggles to carve out a new life in a new land. And then ultimately declaring our independence from the Monarchy.

    Growing up in Europe, do you remember how these events were looked at from the UK perspective.
    Strangely, I think I can help with that one.

    I got into an exchange program at the University of Maryland, it was with the British Open University. One of the courses I took was an 18 credit course called War and Society. The American Revolution was boiled down to a few paragraphs in almost 2000 years of history. (I ended up doing my junior and about half my senior year in the program.) The course covered the history of war and it's effects on society from the Peloponnesian Wars through Vietnam War.

    Later when I was teaching at a community college they wanted me to teach early American history. I realized that having taken 99% of my history through a British program, I didn't know enough to teach that....... Ended up teaching Modern European history!

    I also have to say that I liked the Open University courses a lot more than the "American" ones. Where our universities teach in 3 and 4 credit blocks, the British university taught in larger "blocks" that integrated different subjects and showed how they interact with each other.
    Rick

    EOD - Initial success or total failure

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