Thoughts on revolution, rulers and democracy by Donal Kennedy

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EVENING ECHO, CORK 26.1.2016

I understand that the American War of Independence succeeded because the rebels’ gallant allies from Europe had temporary command of the seas. Had the Battle of Yorktown gone the other way, George Washington would have dangled at the end of a British rope and other rebels would have shared the same fate as the Irish at Ballinamuck in 1798.

Just as goodness had nothing to do with Mae West’s Diamonds, democratic elections had nothing to do with the outcome of the American War of Independence.

Popular support for the American rebels was not tested by universal adult suffrage or universal male suffrage. The aboriginal population, the so-called Indians, were not on electoral registers. Neither were black men or women, most of whom were the property of rebels such as Jefferson, Washington and other apostles of liberty. Indeed the first draft of the Declaration of Independence wrote of “life, liberty and the enjoyment of property”.

But, as the slave owners were appealing to the conscience of the world they thought better about being quite so frank about their objectives.

I’ve read that among white Americans a third supported Independence, a third opposed it, and a third was indifferent. When things were going bad for the rebels some leading businessmen were very ready to treat with the British.

After the British conceded defeat, the empire loyalist ‘Tories’ were not uniformly embraced as brothers by the victors or their hangers on and  many left, embittered ,for Canada.

A descendent of one of those loyalists, Hamar Greenwood, was Britain’s Chief Secretary for Ireland when Lord Mayor MacCurtain was murdered, his successor Terence MacSwiney died on hunger strike and Cork City Hall and the Carnegie Library were destroyed in Cork.

Donal Kennedy,

LONDON

 

 

5 Responses to Thoughts on revolution, rulers and democracy by Donal Kennedy

  1. fiosrach January 29, 2016 at 11:19 am #

    And there was no Roman Catholic church to knife them in the back as there was in 1916 when the then dissidents made their play.

  2. MT January 29, 2016 at 5:53 pm #

    The American War of Independence waa mandated by the Second Continental Congress, made up of representatives of the thirteen colonies. So it did have democratic legitimacy based on the standards of the day. It was 1776, after all.

  3. Donal Kennedy January 29, 2016 at 11:19 pm #

    I’m sorry MT. When did an American President first advocate Democracy? Aristocracy, Plutocracy, yes but a Slave-Owning Democracy? A silly SOD? Don’t make me laugh.

    Pearse, Connolly and their comrades were Altruists. None of then reckoned “What’s
    in it for me.”

    • MT January 30, 2016 at 8:15 am #

      Didn’t you read what I said? I said based on the standards of the day. It was 1776, not 1976.

      You won’t make a very good historian if you judge events based on anachronistic standards.

    • neill January 30, 2016 at 1:27 pm #

      Pearse, Connolly and their comrades were Altruists. None of then reckoned “What’s
      in it for me.”

      Yes killing people is obviously an altruistic act.