Template talk:American Revolutionary War

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Sister city projects removed, been here since the template's creation in 2011[edit]

The same editor who is the only editor to remove sister city projects from templates has recently removed those projects from this one. They've been there since 2011. He uses a questionable result of an RfC to do this. As far as I know no other editor removes these extremely useful links from templates. They, eventually and with faith in common sense, will be returned. Randy Kryn 15:58, 2 May 2017 (UTC)

To Randy Kryn: It is done. Happy Holidays!  Paine Ellsworth  put'r there  18:53, 17 December 2017 (UTC)

German allies?[edit]

This template includes "German allies" under the Kingdom of Great Britain in the list of combatants. Did the states that provided mercenaries actually ally themselves with Great Britain against the revolutionaries, or did they simply lease out their troops? The article linked to suggest that an alliance was signed by Hesse-Kassel and a treaty by Anhalt-Zerbst, but this is sourced to an 1893 German publication. If the Germans only leased out troops, then at the state level, they were not participants in the war and technically not allies. If this is the case, shouldn't the template refer to them as "German mercenaries"? Factotem (talk) 20:36, 3 May 2019 (UTC)

I have no qualms with the change you suggest. Others might disagree for reasons I'll explain below. It is entirely possible this is my responsibility, but I can't be certain because of the somewhat complex way the template has evolved. I can see that on the day I moved this template from sandbox space to live template space the potential link existed exactly where it links now. I originally wanted to use the term Hessians, but after some reading decided they could not be represented as the only Germans involved. My reading was that the arrangement was at least quasi-allied; one wouldn't lease troops to potential enemies. Finally, I wouldn't have wanted to link "German mercenaries" to a pagespace section which doesn't itself include the word "mercenaries." That might violate the spirit of what we now call MOS:SUBMARINE (the MOS read a bit differently then). Even today the page watchers of Germans in the American Revolution seem to assert some form of de facto alliance. So while the troops were certainly mercenaries, there exists no article or subsection which meets appropriate link transparency. I'd be glad if I were shown to be incorrect. BusterD (talk) 21:32, 3 May 2019 (UTC)
That all seems reasonable enough. But, the link now leads to a section that says, "...several German-speaking states contracted soldiers to the British Army. Although the leasing of soldiers to a foreign power was controversial..." (my emphasis), and discusses the patriots' view of them as foreign mercenaries (though I concede that scare quotes are used, and the term may be characterised as a POV rather than a formally recognised appellation). Given that, would it be so egregious to use "mercenaries" instead of "allies" for the link? Factotem (talk) 21:40, 3 May 2019 (UTC)
I have stated my position, with my rationale and concerns. I wonder what other template shepherds might think. BusterD (talk) 21:54, 3 May 2019 (UTC)
I asked at Talk:Germans_in_the_American_Revolution#Allies_or_mercenaries?, but got no response, and no-one else has chimed in here, so I went Bold and changed "allies" to "mercenaries". Factotem (talk) 18:52, 28 May 2019 (UTC)
I've responded on Talk:Germans_in_the_American_Revolution#Allies_or_mercenaries? and I'll reiterate here so no one has to click around. There are two problems with the term "mercenaries" as used here. The first is that the word implies individuals acting as private citizens for personal gain. This does not at all describe the Germans allies of Great Britain in the American War of Independence. If you read the section this template links to, you'll see that Great Britain negotiated treaties with the various states, who then recruited or conscripted soldiers to fulfill their treaty obligations. When was the last time you heard of a mercenary being drafted? Second, calling them "mercenaries" is a very strong violation of Wikipedia:NPV, because it was a propaganda term used by Congressional advocates. The Declaration of Independence referred to German soldiers as "mercenaries," but it also referred to Native Americans as "merciless Indian Savages." Would Wikipedia tolerate that phrase? I will acknowledge that many Americans still refer to them as "mercenaries" because that's what they're taught, and the argument is that money changed hands between Great Britain and several German states. However, if this is the standard, we must also refer to many modern soldiers as mercenaries based on the money they earn and the massive amounts of money exchanged between nations for mutual defense. Canute (talk) 13:13, 31 July 2019 (UTC)
Fair point, but the term allies is also misrepresentative. As far as I am aware, the German states involved did not themselves declare war on the colonists/United States, become part of the conflict at a state level or politically align themselves with the British on the issue. They simply entered into a commercial transaction with Great Britain to provide the British with troops. I've already intimated that how Americans viewed the German troops is likely POV, and concede that point without argument. Factotem (talk) 14:22, 31 July 2019 (UTC)
Follow-up: the article Hessian (soldier) refers to these soldiers as "Auxiliaries." I'm not sure that's the best word either, as it can imply irregular units or non-combatant forces, neither of which describe the German units that fought along side the British. But even though I don't think the word is appropriately applied here, apparently some historians have used it as a compromise term. So if you really don't like the word "allies," perhaps this is an alternative. Canute (talk) 14:20, 31 July 2019 (UTC)
That looks like a reasonable solution to me. Factotem (talk) 14:24, 31 July 2019 (UTC)
While the term Auxiliaries is a neutral term it is also a very general term, that sort of smooths over the fact that the Hessians were paid for their efforts and had no heart felt concerns about American independence as did the British Crown. I agree that "allies" can misrepresent the Hessian involvement also. Seems like mercenary is the best way to go. That, or just use the term German Hessians, with no reference to allies or mercenary. References to British combatants in the template is general, yet specific: i.e.Parliament — British Army — Royal Navy. However, "German auxiliaries" seems a bit vague and implies that soldiers from all over Germany were involved, when in fact most came from Hesse-Kassel and Hesse-Hanau and a few other small states in Germany. Imo, German Hessians would be best, as this is the term used by most sources. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 20:24, 31 July 2019 (UTC)