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Tea Party Winners: Carla Gade's winner is Becky Dempsey, Andrea Boeshaar's winner Caryl Kane, Gina Welborn's winner Jasmine A., Carrie Fancett Pagels' winners book copy -- Lynda Edwards, teacup and saucer -- Wendy Shoults

Monday, June 13, 2016

Reflections on Colonialism and Independence

As a citizen of a country getting ready to celebrate the 240th anniversary of its independence, I think it bears stopping to reflect on exactly what that means ... and where we came from.
While researching for my piece on the famed Kentucky rifle, I was also reading a bit on the history of warfare, and the two converged in some strange ways in my brain.
                Here at Colonial Quills we celebrate not just the material history of the colonial American era, but also the spiritual legacy. Entangled with both is a political and sociological legacy that moderns are made to feel increasingly ashamed of because of the apparent social and cultural inequities of the time. Even the term “colonial” has been turned into a Bad Word, as the evils of European Colonialism are discussed everywhere.
                What is colonialism, and why did it happen? Since nearly every empire in history made a name for itself by claiming lands that weren’t originally theirs, it’s unfair to lay all the blame for modern woes at Europe’s door. And people groups in general have migrated here and there almost since time began.
                Over the centuries, people ventured here for diverse reasons. Some came seeking profit, but just as many came because they felt they had few other options, or were brought here against their will. Various efforts have been made, at least as we can extrapolate from our own recorded history (recorded in English, that is), by those who settled here to at least attempt to get along with native peoples. Sometimes the natives were amenable (even when they possibly shouldn’t have been) and sometimes they weren’t.
Athens and her fellow Greek city-states were constantly trying to annex each other
                It’s also noteworthy that all major European nations practiced colonialism from about the 17th century until at least the late 19th century. North America was the particular focus of Great Britain, the Netherlands, France, and Spain. When the dust of the Seven Years’ War settled (known on this side of the pond as the French and Indian War), Great Britain held most of the continent.
                By the time America declared its independence from Britain, the Crown was attempting to contain westward expansion. I’ve mentioned before how the overmountain settlements—anything west of the Appalachian Mountains—were essentially illegal under both the British and Continental governments. Jefferson is credited as the president who most aggressively pursued westward expansion, with the Lewis and Clark Expedition and the Louisiana Purchase, but it can be argued that settlement across the American continent was as much an individual endeavor, or that of family groups, as it was a governmental enterprise.
                Other issues that came out of America’s colonial heritage, such as the government’s treatment of the native peoples, and that of slavery, can be addressed as separate from any particular nation’s quest for supremacy, in my opinion. Others may disagree, but regardless, I feel it’s time that popular culture stopped flailing us as Americans for something that’s been a phenomenon of kings and governments since before Rome, Greece, and the Mongols.
                We may not have gotten here by superior military might (it was more that we wore out Great Britain), and we may or may not be here by the grace of God (although I’d argue we are), but ... we are here. And as a republic, we are one of the most unique nations ever. Do we have things to answer to God for as a nation? Of course. But we’ve also enjoyed a great deal of blessing, all things considered.
                And to quote a popular comic book series, With great power comes great responsibility. May we rise to that, again!

10 comments:

  1. Enjoyed your post Shannon.
    Blessings, Tina

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    1. Thank you, Tina! You're so faithful to always stop and say hi!! <3

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  2. We are unique with a unique role in the world. I want to believe in all the good things we are!
    Thanks Shannon!

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    1. And thank YOU, Debra! It's hard seeing the wrong choices our leaders have made--all the way back to the beginning, because modern politics sure don't have a corner on stupidity, LOL--but I do believe God has had us here for a reason. :)

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  3. Well said, Shannon! It's good to remember that America is "the great experiment." We've only survived because of the outright genius of our forefathers. They set this country up to be a shining city on a hill. By the grace of God, we still can be.

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  4. Great post and love the graphic Shannon!

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    1. Thanks! It's amazing what you can find on Wikipedia. LOL

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