July 5, 2013

Thank You King George

The Grand Union Flag, first used by George Washington on January 1, 1776.
This modification of the 
British Red Ensign became in effect the first national flag of the United States.

It is always a joy to read an article penned by Daniel Hannan; youmay not agree with him but he certainly stirs the pot in a most agreeable manner. Read the whole thing, it's well worth the time.

From the UK Telegraph:
Why Britons should celebrate the American Declaration of Independence

We all know the story of American independence, don't we? A rugged frontier people became increasingly tired of being ruled by a distant elite. A group calling themselves Patriots were especially unhappy about being taxed by a parliament in which they were unrepresented. When, in 1775, British redcoats tried to repress them, a famous Patriot called Paul Revere rode through the night across eastern Massachusetts, crying 'The British are coming'. The shots that were fired the next day began a war for independence which culminated the following year in the statehouse of Philadelphia, when George Washington and others, meeting under Betsy Ross's gorgeous flag, signed the Declaration of Independence.

It's a stirring story; but it's false in every aspect. Neither Paul Revere nor anyone else could have shouted 'The British are coming' in 1775: the entire population of Massachusetts was British (what the plucky Boston silversmith actually yelled was 'The regulars are out!') The overall level of taxation in the colonies in 1775 was barely a fiftieth of what it was in Great Britain, and the levies to which Americans had objected had been repealed before the fighting began. The Boston Tea Party, which sparked the violence, was brought about by a lowering of the duty on tea. George Washington wasn't there when the Declaration of Independence was signed. The flag which the Patriots marched under was not, except on very rare occasions, the stars-and-stripes (which probably wasn't sewn by Betsy Ross); it was the Grand Union Flag, which incorporated the flag of Great Britain.

The men who raised that standard believed that they were fighting for their freedoms as Britons – freedoms which had been trampled by a Hanoverian king and his hirelings. When they called themselves Patriots – a word that had been common currency among Whigs on both sides of the Atlantic long before anyone dreamed of a separation – they meant that they were British patriots, cherishing the peculiar liberties that had come down to them since Magna Carta: jury trials, free contract, property rights, habeas corpus, parliamentary representation, liberty of conscience and the common law.

[...]As the Virginia-born Lady Astor later put it, the war was fought “by British Americans against a German King for British ideals.”

More here.


LL said...

The rights of free people are inalienable and those rights were not accorded by a distant monarch who felt that the world should kiss his ass. The lesson is not lost through history, and those in the present need to remember it.

sig94 said...

LL - We are thankful that George V was such an a**ole. Undoubtedly crazy too.

We are indeed on the verge of losing those hard won freedoms and we have no one to blame but ourselves.