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Saturday, July 5, 2014

American Independence...The British Perspective?

Yesterday America celebrated our independence from England and the freedoms that we developed after that.  This is obviously a very big deal to us, as we wouldn't even have a country if not for the events in the late 1770s.  Our history as an independent country starts with these moments and events so we place singular importance on what happened to cause us to fight against England for our independence.
It's easy to see how much we still remember and revere our "Founding Fathers".  For example, just look at that phrase.  In the US it's generally capitalized like a proper name.  We have portraits of these important people on our currency, they frequently feature in the media.  Two hundred years later and names like Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, and Adams are part of our collective culture. 
But what about other countries, especially Great Britain?  I was wondering about this today, and trying to think of it from the other side of the issue.  I honestly do not know what importance or relevance is placed on the independence of the American colonies in British schools.  But I'm sure it doesn't take up a large part of history texts like it does here in the US.  And I doubt that British students study George Washington as much as they do King George.
My curiosity is now piqued, and I'd honestly like to hear from people outside of the US, particularly England.  I know that I have plenty of international readers so I'm looking for you to make comments and help me gain a different perspective on these issues.  It's often said that history is written by the victors, and America did win (with French help) against England in this war.  What is said about the founding of America from a British viewpoint?
I look forward to hearing from my readers!


  1. I left UK when I was 13 and have lived in NZ since but easy answer is nothing. I know the names and see many movies quoting "four score years. And by the people, for the people"" etc, but never really understood it. I know there were battles with the French but not sure when, or why so much of Canada is French? I am gradually learning more by reading Diana Gabaldon whose latest novels focus on life through the 1770 era, and the colonial militia....which is set after Last of the Mohicans. So my very sketchy knowledge is all self taught...All fiction based too!.but to be fair I don't suppose many people know about the Maori Wars and our Treaty of Waitangi either. Another colonial tussle but we remain aligned with the Uk. We very nearly became a French Colony.

  2. One of my (American) friends moved to London a couple of years ago. I saw that one of her new English friends wished her a "Happy Treason Day" on Facebook on the 4th. It made me chuckle.

  3. We don't learn a thing about it here. Like the person above, I learned a bit about it through films and TV, but it doesn't make an appearance in our history lessons here. Kinda meant that assassins creed 3 lost most of it's impact on me :-/.

    Love the blog btw!

  4. Karissa, that's hilarious! Good sense of humor.

    Shazia, I hadn't even thought of the knowledge affecting the play of a video game like that. Good point, and really does show how America-centric pop culture really is.


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