The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines a civil war as “a war between opposing groups of citizens of the same country”. According to James Fearon of Stanford University, he defines a civil war as "a violent conflict within a country fought by organized groups that aim to take power at the center or in a region, or to change government policies”. Also back in the day, in my junior high social studies class, my teacher said to us that only roughly 1/3 of the population supported the rebels. Another third supported the king and the remainder just wanted to be left alone and live their lives.
As we all know one of the cores of the conflict that led up to the Revolutionary War was the idea of taxation/governance with representation. So the Rebels, to some degree, had tried to come to an accommodation with the King and his ministers that would allow them representation and say in how the colonies were run. They worked in the system with Ben Franklin as their representetive, but he was run out of the England and the colonies were told to follow government orders.
While reading this I keep thinking back to Ken Burns “The Civil War” and the many stories of brother against brother that made that conflict such a tragedy to so many families. From what little I know I see this preceded almost 80 years earlier in the conflict that gave birth to our nation. Rebel militia fought pitched battles with Tory volunteers, and many times neighbor fought neighbor and siblings killed each other.
While many revolutions if not all of the armed ones take place in the form of a civil war we tend not to regard the conflict that formed the United States as such. That’s due the fact that the plucky rebels won against the king we were able to define our path and how much history we take from our former mother country. We now think the king was a tyrant and it was all live free or die, but in every way this was a conflict between two factions that were of the same nation, at least in the beginning.
Now all of this is feeling a bit poetic due to my lack of overall knowledge of the war and the tasty Serbian wine I’m drinking while writing this. So if anyone has some good history books of the Revolutionary War to recommend please shoot them my way. I’m curious to see if my feeling is correct and frankly I know so little about the founding of the nation I live in.
Time to fix that.
Thanks for reading.