In 1776 a group of rowdy colonials met in Philadelphia and decided to send a strongly worded letter to their king basically telling him to go bugger off. I sometime wonder about what it must have been to live in those times. Having lived in Philadelphia myself for the past decade I often have found myself walking by the very spot where those men met. I even often sat in the park in front of Independence Hall lost in all manner of thought. For the most part I have been on the side of the colonials. At one point or another in my life Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin were both sources of inspiration. And while this all still may be the case, I can’t help but wonder if maybe they were wrong.
Of course here in America we are always taught in school about how good of a thing the revolution was. But our teachers are quick to pass over the fact that these men were in fact committing treason. And even if our teachers are so kind to mention this fact, it often stops there. The analysis never goes any deeper.
I find myself questioning if what they were doing was the right thing. Of course everyone likes the idea of freedom and independence, but what if in the long run, say hundreds of years later being under the crown rather than self governing would turn out to be the better option?
How did most average colonists feel about what was happening in Philadelphia? Were they supporting the idea of an independent America or were most people perfectly fine with the status quo? Was the country divided? Did this group of men in Philadelphia force the rest of their colonial neighbors into an unwanted war? Because of the actions of a small minority were the lives of thousands of others who had nothing to do with the desire for independence adversely affected? Basically, were the founding fathers a bunch of jerks that did what they wanted and didn’t care about the desires of the people they claimed to represent? Were they in fact acting out the tyranny they claimed to be fighting against?