My mother-in-law sent us the first two CDs in Michael Medved's The American Revolution First Person History Series. The first disc explains why they fought and the second covers the Boston Tea Party. We've finished the first one and are half done with the second. (Thanks, Mom!)
These discs are nicely done. The target audience is adults, which is good. There isn't anything offensive for children, but it covers the myriad of issues to give a broader (more complicated) view of what was happening in those days. My boys may not understand how all the details intertwine fully, but I think them half understanding the full story beats them fully understanding the half story. Does that make sense?
I blogged a few years ago about not being sure if I would have supported the American Revolution. The Boston Tea Party, in particular, seems to be more an act of shameful vandalism than noble civil disobedience. These discs have changed my mind and helped me to understand better how the colonists went from being loyal British subjects to insurgents.
The primary theme I took from Disc 1 was that the colonists fought to preserve their way of life, not really to make a new social order. England, in massive debt after the French and Indian War, turned to the comparatively wealthy colonists to pay what really was their fair share of the cost. But England's methodology was tyrannical, and the colonies balked at having their autonomy taken away.
Right now, our government is poised to vote on a massive "stimulus" bill. Besides the billions of dollars in pure pork, there are other questionable provisions, most especially the ones involving government interference in health care. The Democrats seem gleefully eager to rush money in every direction finally seizing an opportunity to shove down America's throat a tablespoon of bitter elixir guaranteed to cure every ailment. They would do well to tread more lightly. I do not think the American spirit of independence, including freedom from governmental interference in our daily life, is quite dead.
As Medved said on his first disc, a people are always more willing to fight to defend their way of life than for new ideals. Socialists may "hope" for big changes and may see their measures as fair, reasonable, or good. In the 1770's England thought their taxes were fair, reasonable and good as well. And the more they insisted on telling the colonists how it was going to be, the angrier the colonists became. It will be interesting to see how insistent our Congress gets in the next few years. And just as interesting to watch how resistant the average American gets.