Talk:American Revolution

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Former good article American Revolution was one of the History good articles, but it has been removed from the list. There are suggestions below for improving the article to meet the good article criteria. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
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Category discussion[edit]

Outdated American propaganda[edit]

Much of this article is based on outdated American propaganda that every American has been taught since childhood, for 300 years.

  1. No mention of the huge sums of money and British men dying, to protect the Colonists from mono-religious France and Spain in the 7 years war and afterwards, for which taxes were needed to keep that protection for the Colonists, against these strict mono-religious states of France, Spain, and Catholic Netherlands.
  2. No mention of the court case rulings against slavery, in Scotland, then England (which have always had different legal systems) in 1771 and 1772, that led the Colonists to fear their only chance of livelihood and survival would disappear.
  3. Hardly a mention of the "Black Loyalists" slaves owned by the Founders, who escaped to British Canada, and to freedom, who were called "Those fugitives from these States" by Thomas Jefferson.
  4. No mention that soon after the French entered the war, and the Spanish in Europe and Caribbean, that the British, in their faster copper-bottomed boats chased down the French, Spanish, Dutch (Catholic coalition), and sunk their navies to the bottom of the ocean, changing the course of history forever (eg. The dictator Napoleon had no navy to speak of, and that gave the British the advantage over him when they and the Prussians defeated him, because they only had to focus on land battles. Napoleon could not take to the ocean to fight. )
  5. No mention that Washington had no money left to pay his troops, the French and Spanish had gone, and the British drafted the Peace Treaty with the French and Spanish without even consulting the Americans, and forced Washington to the table.
  6. No mention that the treaty demanded trade and business from the Americans, but that they should cause no more aggression, or the British would come back. In 1812, the Americans attacked British Canada, so the Brits came back in and burned the White House to the ground. The Americans behaved themselves after that. (except when they had to kill 600,000 of their own people 70 years later in order to put an end to slavery, which most places had already simply outlawed or voted out of existence.)
  7. The Colonists went to war to keep their slaves. That was the reason.

Read "The American Counter-Revolution" by Professor Gerard Horne of Houston Uni. to educate yourselves, instead of just regurgitating the propaganda and brain-washing that has infected the American psyche (and beyond) for 300 years. [UNSIGNED]

Read American Revolutionary War, which is the article about the actual war. This article covers the revolution as a whole. JOJ Hutton 18:51, 5 July 2014 (UTC)
I think you are mistaken. The article you refer to is only about the military actions (although it doesn't mention the virtual annihilation of the French, Spanish, and Dutch navies, one of the most significant military victories in human history, and which was the actual war, of which the American Revolution was just a regional battle. ) The article this "Talk" page refers to says "This article is about political and social developments, and the origins and aftermath of the war. " — Preceding unsigned comment added by Two Wrongs (talkcontribs) 19:13, 5 July 2014 (UTC)
Items 1-3 and 5-7 are badly garbled and false. (#4 makes a good point forthe post-Yorktown period even though it says the Dutch Protestants were Catholics.) As for Horne: he himself says near-unanimous verdict of scholars stands in opposition to his speculation--Wikipedia follows the scholars not the fringe theorists.Rjensen (talk) 19:42, 5 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Unsigned blather, the lack of a signature being a red flag for in-authentic, ad hominem critique of this, overall well-written and well-edited article. The citation of the revisionist historian Gerald Horne is another glaring red flag. 10stone5 (talk) 21:11, 6 July 2014 (UTC)

huh — Preceding unsigned comment added by 107.207.224.238 (talk) 01:46, 5 September 2014 (UTC)

Infobox needed[edit]

How does this page not have an infobox? Surely it should have one. Jbeyerl (talk) 02:57, 12 September 2014 (UTC)

American Revolutionary War has one. This is a different sort of article. Rmhermen (talk) 19:40, 12 September 2014 (UTC)

My edits[edit]

I don't understand what is wrong with my edits.

English colonization of North America began in the 17th century, with the first permanent settlement established in Jamestown, Virginia in 1607. The colonies that were established along the coast were governed by charters granted by the King, each permitting a substantial amount of self-governance. Crown colonies (Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia) imitated the "mixed monarchy" constitutional structure of Great Britain. Each had an elected assembly which constituted the lower house of the legislature, a council appointed (except in Massachusetts) by the crown constituting the upper house, and an appointed governor with executive powers representing the King. All laws had to be submitted to the home government for approval, but otherwise there was little interference. Proprietary colonies (Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland) also had elected legislatures but the proprietors, not the crown, appointed the governors. Charter colonies (Connecticut and Rhode island) elected both legislatures and governors and did not have to submit their laws for approval.

Britain controlled the foreign relations of the colonies and, as far back as the time of Oliver Cromwell, maintained that the British parliament could bind the colonies with their acts. In practice, Parliament usually only legislated regarding matters of an imperial concern. The Navigation Acts of the late 17th century restricted colonial trade in accordance with mercantilist theory. Other acts would impose custom duties, establish a postal system, restrain paper currency, forbid manufacturing, and authorize the seizure of private property for debt payments.

The French and Indian War broke out in 1754 over conflicting claims of the British and French to the Ohio country. The war ended in 1763 with the conquest of French Canada and the virtual expulsion of France from mainland North America. A major consequence this, foreseen by the French foreign minister,[1] was that the American colonists could now afford to challenge British rule without the fear of leaving themselves at the mercy of France. British policymakers were nonetheless determined to push for various reforms. They wished to maintain a standing army of 8,000 in the colonies, impose taxes so the colonies would share the defense burden, and make the crown-appointed governors and judges more independent of the assemblies which paid their salaries.

What exactly about this is open to dispute?

CJK (talk) 17:01, 3 October 2014 (UTC)

The article is already long, but this is not a bad summary if citations are provided and redundant information in the article removed. Much, if not all, of this is already covered. Shoreranger (talk) 17:38, 3 October 2014 (UTC)
what's wrong?? 1) the edits do not deal with the American Revolution--it wastes the time of readers interested in Am Rev; 2) it does not cite reliable secondary sources--adding Lecky from 1880 makes that obvious; 3) is is full of old-fashioned misreadings and errors (such as charters usually did not deal with self-govt; "virtual expulsion" is wrong; Brits never made use of Cromwell's precedents because they considered him illegitimate); 4) the French quote is misleading (the Americans did not think that because they had always protected themselves from the French); 5) historians all start with the 1760s not with this scattershot of older events. Rjensen (talk) 22:25, 6 October 2014 (UTC)

Thank you for responding.

1) The edits deal with the constitutional background to the American Revolution much like the Origins of the American Civil War article discusses the background regarding slavery.

2) Lecky is a secondary source, there is no Wikipedia policy placing a time-limit on sources. If you think otherwise please cite the relevant policy.

3) The charters certainly provided much self-government, I don't know anyone who disputes this. The French ceded everything on the North American continent to Britain and Spain except two islands in Newfoundland, so "virtual expulsion" is correct. Cromwell's laws were deemed binding on the colonies by Charles II, who expanded upon them.

4) The Americans defended themselves, true. But that was because the French never made any serious effort to conquer the colonies, and the reason for that was the implicit British protection.

5) A brief sketch of pre-1763 events does no harm and is found in many histories.

CJK (talk) 16:38, 7 October 2014 (UTC)

A brief sketch of pre-1763 events does no harm --that's the rub--it does harm. It wastes the time of readers who come for info on the Am Revolution. Lecky is secondary all right but his 1880s work is no longer considered reliable by any historian (his approach was upended by the Imperial School of 1900 and scholars like Charles Andrews, Osgood, Beer). Where CJK gets all his ideas--he keeps secret about that--he does not get them from modern reliable sources which talk about quite different topics (like ideas--liberalism, republicanism; like slavery and ideas of freedom; like local elections & juries; etc etc . That is not allowed when challenged. Historians start the textbook chapters & the monographs in the 1760s and that is the standard model --changing it is fringe and OR Rjensen (talk) 17:53, 7 October 2014 (UTC)

This article is largely consumed with constitutional questions: the jurisdiction of Parliament, rights of Englishmen, the formation of new state and federal constitutions, etc. So why ignore the colonial constitution? The reader is kept completely ignorant of the nature of how Britain ruled its colonies. A Revolution is defined as a change in the constitution, how on earth can you describe the change without mentioning what things were like originally? Lecky is not being used for his opinion, but simply facts. Do you have any evidence that the facts I cited are wrong? As for where I get my ideas, here is an online library of the American Revolution. [1] It lists Lecky along with hundreds of other authors. I never have questioned the influence of ideas, nothing I wrote contradicts that. Wikipedia does not operate like a textbook, and many histories have no problem with briefly discussing the background.

The English Civil War article provides a good example of what I am talking about. It gives a brief overview of the powers of King and Parliament before the controversy in Charles I's reign.

CJK (talk) 19:49, 7 October 2014 (UTC)

there are hundreds of good scholarly sources on constitutional issues but zero are used or cited here. Any college student who wrote that when the topic was the American Revolution would flunk. Rjensen (talk) 21:16, 7 October 2014 (UTC)

The constitutional background to the American Revolution is just as relevant as the constitutional background to the English Civil War, both deal with similar subject matter. The facts that I mention are widely known to historians of the era, if you want a different source you can submit one.

CJK (talk) 22:36, 7 October 2014 (UTC)

CJK has not read or cited any of the constitutional studies. "Facts" need reliable secondary sources, which he lacks. He points to a website with hundreds of thousands of pages of pre-1900 books which he has not read either. Rjensen (talk) 22:39, 7 October 2014 (UTC)

Are you arguing that my edits are factually inaccurate, or are you just criticizing the source used? You need to provide some proof that it does not meet WP:RS. Even supposing it doesn't, the edits in question report facts that are not remotely controversial among historians. I reiterate that the English Civil War article contains a brief overview of the constitutional background, so this article should too.

CJK (talk) 00:30, 8 October 2014 (UTC)

I am arguing your edits are a) off the main topic according the practically all the main books & textbooks--it is fringe to cover that material which is MUCH better covered in the colonial articles; and b) do a poor job of summarizing the constitutional issues involved because you refuse to use any modern scholarship whatever of the last 98 years. It is not true that "facts" were fixed before 1900--historians had to work though the sources, which Lecky for example did not do but which scholars like Andrews & Osgood did accomplish after 1900. Rjensen (talk) 01:00, 8 October 2014 (UTC)

History textbooks are fundamentally different than Wikipedia. Textbooks will cover information in different sections, but Wikipedia has self-contained articles. The readers of Wikipedia are not students and they shouldn't be forced to read the colonial articles to understand this article. You have also not shown how modern scholarship differs from what I wrote.

CJK (talk) 02:02, 8 October 2014 (UTC)

Wikipedia does not have self contained articles on major history topics. Instead the articles here all overlap and support each other. For example there are many stories and each of the 13 colonies has a history section that covers its experience in the Revolution. Singling out Virginia suggests falsely that there is a typical story as exemplified by Virginia. That is false history. All the RS on the AM Rev start in the 1760s, so let's hear why Wikipedia -- which relies on those RS-- should be radically different?? And why so much attention to Jamestown--no constitutional issues are mentioned. Likewise the section on French & Indian war is garbled (it depends on a mistake made by the French who knew little about American thought) is not about constitutional issues. Rjensen (talk) 07:06, 8 October 2014 (UTC)

You admit they "overlap" yet you seem to want zero overlap in this article. I only mentioned Jamestown because that is when the first colonial government was established. The French and Indian War is widely recognized by historians as the precursor to the American Revolution.

I repeat myself: how are you supposed to write an article about a revolution (defined as a change in constitution) when you don't even describe what the constitution was originally.

CJK (talk) 18:11, 8 October 2014 (UTC)

Revolution = constitution ???? who said that???? The Patriots said they were upholding the unwritten English constitution (because it does not allow taxation without representation). The main text covers all that very well. It means getting rid of king and parliament and the dull details of which colonies were formerly proprietary is irrelevant according to the RS. Rjensen (talk) 20:42, 8 October 2014 (UTC)

Of course the Patriots claimed they were merely upholding the constitution. Gay marriage supporters in our time claim they are simply following the constitution as well. The fact of the matter is that they overthrew the government, a mixed monarchy frequently regulated by the British parliament, and established a new independent republican government founded on the "rights of man".

CJK (talk) 21:16, 8 October 2014 (UTC)

well yes--that's all covered here. They overthrew the government in the name of republicanism, which gets left out of your background. historians only started to pay attention to republicanism in the 1960s (see Bailyn, Wood, Pocock). Rjensen (talk) 22:06, 8 October 2014 (UTC)

It is not "all covered here" because the form of government that was overthrown is left undescribed. The reader is left with the impression that American history began in 1763 and that the Patriots were conservatives who only upheld the constitution. It is also not true that people only looked into republicanism in the 1960s, contemporary British and loyalist observers frequently called the Patriots "republicans".

CJK (talk) 22:27, 8 October 2014 (UTC)

actually we have thousands of articles on American history. It's the Revolution that began in the 1760s--did you look at Lecky's book on the American Revolution? It begins in 1763. As for the Loyalists they are well covered too. Historians ignored republicanism until the 1960s, which is why it is not covered by Lecky. It takes a while for historians to discover the facts. Rjensen (talk) 22:35, 8 October 2014 (UTC)

I'm not sure how much clearer I can make this. This article is about a revolution. According to that article, a revolution is a change in the constitution. A change in the constitution cannot be described without mentioning what the constitution was originally like. The article English Civil War contains a background section on constitutional issues even though the disputes between Charles I and Parliament only began in the 1620s. Why is this article different?

CJK (talk) 00:12, 9 October 2014 (UTC)

I'd say that the focus of most American historians (and I'm guessing here as I don't know the specific historiography) is that various specific grievances and actions by and against Britain culminated in the American Revolution, and as per wikipedia policy, the article chiefly reflects that relatively narrower perspective. On the British side (and, again, I am guessing here as I don't know the specific historiography), the focus is more on the general role of colonies within the British Empire of the era, more specifically the need to finance the Seven Years War and its aftermath, the elimination of any serious external European threats, which had the effect of hugely opening up the American frontier and the subsequent "opportunism" of the American colonists, their substantive grievances notwithstanding. So, the "context" you desire here, CJK, is from a British perspective, but the article is an American one, hence the different focus as per wikipedia policy. Canada Jack (talk) 17:00, 9 October 2014 (UTC)

Wikipedia articles are supposed to be neutral, not from anybody's perspective. All I want to do is include very basic background information, which is what other articles do. It is utterly ridiculous to have an article about constitutional issues not mention what the constitution of the colonies were.

CJK (talk) 23:48, 9 October 2014 (UTC)

Major error with starting date of the Revolutionary War[edit]

There is a major historical error on this page that needs correction. This page clearly reads as follows:

The American Revolution was a political upheaval that took place between 1765 and 1783 during which theThirteen American Colonies broke from the British Empire and formed an independent nation, the United States of America.

The Revolutionary War itself begins in 1775 with the battles of Lexington and Concord. It technically becomes a revolution the following year with the Declaration of Independence. The causes of the revolution commence in 1763 at the end of the French and Indian War. In no way, shape, or form does the revolutionary war era or the war itself begin in 1765.

Citation: Encyclopedia Britannica: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/617805/American-Revolution

Please e-mail me with questions: waluzaka@gmail.com Amanda 10/8/14 — Preceding unsigned comment added by 75.118.142.36 (talk) 02:15, 9 October 2014 (UTC)

The revolutionary movement ("revolution") begins around 1765 with the resistance to the Stamp Act, the formation of the Stamp Act Congress as the beginning of unified, organized political resistance, and the subsequent formation of the Sons of Liberty. Lexington & Concord and the DoL did not spring full-fledged from Zeus' head. They were culminations, not origins. Shoreranger (talk) 16:34, 9 October 2014 (UTC)