Sunday, August 15, 2010

Week 2 of the Revolution

I tried to tackle quite a bit of Revolutionary stuff this week. Besides some proceedings-type things from the Continental Congresses, here are some of the highlights:

"Remember the Ladies" letters between Abigail and John Adams. This famous letter from Mrs. Adams reminds her husband that as long as they're going to talk about independence, they ought to remember that women would like some too. Adams replied with a light-hearted attempt at fobbing her off, but I was surprised to learn that at the same time, he wrote another letter to James Sullivan pointing out that there was no real reason to exclude women from the vote.

Thomas Jefferson's 1774 essay "A Summary View of the Rights of British America," which was educational but I don't have much to say about it.

John Adams' 1776 piece "Thoughts on Government"--more of a letter than a real essay, but lays out a system of checks and balances and has a lot of good stuff to say.

At this point in my Founding America book, everything becomes a reaction to Paine's Common Sense, which of course I had never read. So I went and found it. It's not a difficult read at all, and has a lot of very good sense in it (although the first chapter attacks the English checks and balances system). If you're looking to read just some of the really important selections, this is a good one to include.

And I also read several more speeches from Native American leaders--I particularly liked one by Pontiac. Of course they were not concerned at all with all that independence stuff, but with the power struggles between the French, English, colonists, and themselves.

This week it's on to the Declaration of Independence and the war.

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