Textbook: Mba Mbulu's Introduction to White History: The History of White America. Click here for purchase information.
Click Here and read the extract from Mba Mbulu's Introduction to White History: The History of White America for this class. Also read Chapter 21 of the textbook, Mba Mbulu's An Introduction to White History. Think about what you read and be able to respond to the following questions.
(1) What is meant by the title "That's Why They Fight
(2) Based on how things looked, did the American settlers have a chance of defeating Great Britain?
(3) What were some of the major obstacles facing the colonies?
(4) What was George Washington's track record like as a military officer?
(5) What did the colonies have in their favor that the odds makers might have overlooked?
(6) Were the colonies lucky to win the war, or did they win the war because they placed themselves in a position to take advantage of favorable but unexpected developments?
On paper, there was no way the American colonies could win
a war against Great Britain. The British army was the most powerful
in the world, led by the best trained military leaders of the
time. The British army, which was made up of experienced fighters,
had left their mark throughout the world as they converted a small
English nation into the huge British Empire. The British navy
was the mistress of the seas, and struck fear in opponents that
were much better able to defend themselves than the American colonies.
And the British government was one of the most organized and best
connected in the world. Of all of the countries of contemporary
Europe, the British were the best at devising a series of strategic
activities and raising the money needed to finance those activities.
Great Britain was the Goliath of contemporary Europe; a Goliath
with brains, experience, technological superiority and wherewithal.
The American colonies, on the other hand, were David without a
slingshot. On paper, the American colonies did not stand the slightest
chance of emerging victorious.
Additionally, there was a great deal of support for Great Britain in the colonies. Some colonies were close to the English crown, and many, like the Quakers in Pennsylvania and Delaware, were advocates of peace. Meanwhile, many of the individuals who played major roles in the colonial effort were more concerned about their personal cause than any other. As a result, John Hancock, the president of the first continental congress, wavered back and forth, sometimes siding with the rebellers, sometimes leaning toward selling out to the British. Dr Benjamin Church, another member of the continental congress, was an outright traitor; one on a long list of prominent American "heros" who were actually passing on vital information at vital times to the British. We must remember: traitors and scoundrels are part and parcel of every nationalistic movement. The war for American independence, and countless other conflicts, are proof that success can be had in spite of them.
The following is an understatement: the American colonies were not prepared to fight a war. To begin with, they had no ammunition. Nor did they have an ammunition source, a business or government they could rely on to supply them with ammunition. In the colonies, from the very beginning, all able-bodied men had been required to bear arms. This helped when hostilities broke out, but the men in the colonies did not maintain arsenals or produce ammunition in quantities that were needed to conduct and sustain a war. A war is a group effort, not an individual one; it is a concerted process. Individuals who own guns do not an army make.
In addition to not having arms, the colonies had no support infrastructure. They had no one to supply them with the non-fighting materials needed to conduct a war, nor anyone to co-ordinate such an effort. They had no source of clothing or uniforms, no food supply, no blankets, no mules and horses, no means of transportation, no organized means of communication. If the native Americans had been sufficiently organized, and were the British to not interfere, it is doubtful that the colonies could have defeated the original occupants of the land. In that regard, it was ludicrous to think they could defeat the British.
But even worse, the colonies had no army and no worthwhile military experience. George Washington, the man who was named general of the colonial army, had never played a prominent role in any successful military engagement. Worse still, in those where he played a major role, it would be an understatement to say that he had failed. The term failure does not begin to describe how pitifully he had represented himself, how utterly incapable he had proven to be. In a military sense, George Washington was so stupid that he built a fort at the foot of a hill during the French and Indian War; AT THE FOOT OF A HILL! How could he be expected to lead a rebellious collection of colonies to victory?
The colonies did not know, in concrete terms, what their relationship was to each other.
If their choice had been strictly a logical one, the colonists never would have moved in the direction of war. But historical developments are much more than paper predictions, much more than research, analysis and logical conclusions. History is the harnessing and release of varying degrees of energy, and logic is not the only powerful factor that needs to be taken into account. Myriads of beliefs, emotions, misfortunes and indiscretions come together and remind logic of its limitations. Factors that are entirely alien to the issue at hand intercede as well, forcing a redeployment of resources, obscuring the time line and changing the relative value of relied upon assets and liabilities. Before one realizes it, the issue begins playing out in a way that is much different from what the paper had anticipated. That is why winners insist on resolving the issue that way. As they say in sports, "that is why they play the game." In politics, that is why they fight the war.