A Revolution & beliefs
A Revolution is most certainly a clash of beliefs. The fact that the beliefs lead to armed or otherwise combats between two sets of population bears testament to the fact that both the sides have much at stake. Like all facets of life, there are never clear demarcations of black and white but a lot of areas of grey. In most cases, a Revolution is the labor pangs of an idea whose time has arrived in the midst of a society which is hell bent on denying the legitimacy of its birth or existence.
The Revolutionary War is perhaps the most important epoch of modern history which provides a deep insight into the various aspects of any revolutionary movement. On one side was an aging empire trying to cope with the growing demands of geographical distances while holding on to its concepts of supremacy and legitimacy. On the other was a society which was waking up to its potential of international greatness and was being driven towards lofty ideals fresh and admirable to all mankind.
As with most facts that usually are stranger than deliberately created fiction the best accounts f the Revolutionary war come from the most improbable of sources. The defense and the necessity comes form an English man while the counter argument supporting the continuation of the colonialism comes from an American who was a key player of his society.
The pamphlet pithily named Common sense by Paine and the account of the revolutionary war which provides the most damaging account of the war by Oliver are two definite counter points which help historians in particular and any person fascinated with the queer making of history in general reconstruct this most important event of the modern times. Thomas Paine was always interested in the subversions that huge empires propagated on the general public to pursue their agenda which according to him did not need much beyond common sense to be declared wrong.
On the other hand Oliver lived and flourished in the established rules of the empire which let people of substance, ambition and perseverance (like himself and his brother Andrew) to prosper to a position of power and prestige. The essential difference between the two being that Paine was a thinker who used his thoughts to fuel action while Oliver was forced into thought and defense because of actions which upset his (what he must have considered) pre ordained life. The most influential work during the revolutionary war “Common sense” was published as a pamphlet and went on to credit Paine as the father of the American Revolution.
Paine’s life is replete with instances where his strongly held beliefs on human dignity, freedom and his antipathy to any kind of dictatorship either monarchy or otherwise have put him at loggerheads with the governments and the rulers of his time. He was accused of libel and slander and his views were considered partisan during his life time, that when he died in the country which he helped name as United States of America, it is said that only six people attended his funeral.
“Though I would carefully avoid giving unnecessary offence, yet I am inclined to believe, that all those who espouse the doctrine of reconciliation, may be included within the following descriptions: Interested men, who are not to be trusted; weak men who cannot see; prejudiced men who will not see; and a certain set of moderate men, who think better of the European world than it deserves; and this last class by an ill-judged deliberation, will be the cause of more calamities to this continent than all the other three. “1
These famous lines divide people of America of the time and influence most people to start identifying with the lofty ideals of the greatness that awaits America and the its propagation of human dignity and democracy. ‘We have seen them also rising, by easy gradations, to such a state of Prosperity & Happiness as was almost enviable, but we have seen them also run mad with too much Happiness, & burst into an open Rebellion against that parent, who protected them (upon their most earnest Entreaties & humble solicitations) against the ravages of their Enemies”2
Wrote Judge Peter Oliver of Massachusetts, who was a loyalist to the core because his life had taught him only the benefits of being a apart of established monarchial democracy which had its old world charm and a predefined path of growth and prosperity to those who were willing to live within the confines of its regulations. The irony in the case of these two great men who steadfastly held on to their beliefs even when faced with mortal danger is that the British Paine died in USA and the American Oliver died in the United Kingdom where he lived in exile as he was up for impeachment as the chief judge of Massachusetts.
Common sense is a great source to learn of the motivations of a budding nation to take on the old order and try and define its future much to the chagrin of the existing super power. On the other hand Oliver’s “Origin and Progress of American Rebellion” is a great indicator to understand why the American Revolution had to lead to a bloody and prolonged war.
With the benefit of hindsight it is easy to understand why American Revolution was a logical inevitable. But with the aid of Peter Oliver’s works it is possible to recreate the political climate of the times which must have made the change from one form of governance to another such a painful and not so attractive option. It is a very important source to understand the human reluctance or insecurity towards change though it is the only constant
Both these works might be products of philosophical or pragmatic bias of the writers but it is essential to understand that they are the truest accounts of History unfolding. While Common sense is like the commentary of the opening ceremony of the Super bowl, Oliver’s work is like a derogatory account of a parent whose child has sidelined his life for the attraction of a Super bowl. Both the viewpoints are necessary to understand the influence of the popular cultural event in its complete perspective.Sample Essay of EduBirdie.com