“Patriot” (by Ott)

Notions

The origin and essence of the conflict between England and the colony

KEYWORDS: Seven Years’ War, treasury empty, taxes, the Brits “protected” the colonies, unnerving situation, persecution, Townshend Act, fierce resistance.

The Brits had waged a Seven Years’ War with France over the colonies. Eventually, they won, though the war left the British treasury almost empty-handed. So, they started taxing the colonies justifying the war with the excuse that the British were only trying to protect the colonies from the French. These taxes led to an unsettling situation where the English supporters were persecuted by the colonists and vice verse depending on the region. One of the most controversial acts was the Townshend Act which just practically took more money from the colonies. This, amongst many acts, was met with fierce resistance.

Boston Tea Party of 1773

KEYWORDS: protest in Boston, targeted at the Tea Act of 1773, EIC selling tea without paying taxes introduced by the Townshend Act, violation of their rights, an entire shipment thrown overboard, harsh response led to the American Revolution, Sons of Liberty.

A political and a mercantile protest in Boston, 1773. The protest was organized by an organization named Sons of Liberty. The target was the Tea Act of May 10, 1773, which allowed the British East India Company to sell tea, bought from China, without paying any taxes. This Tea Act was introduced to help the EIC through financial instability. These initial taxes were imposed by the Townshend Act which was largely seen by the European Americans as a violation of their rights. So, many protesters disguised themselves as Native Americans and they destroyed an entire shipment of tea brought by the EIC. The shipment was destroyed by throwing it overboard into the sea (Boston Harbour). The British government responded harshly and so the American Revolution was born.

A painting named “Boston Tea Party” made in 1789. https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Boston_Tea_Party_w.jpg#mw-jump-to-license

Declaration of Independence July 4, 1776

KEYWORDS: Second Continental Congress, Pennsylvania State House, thirteen sovereign states no longer under British rule, formal explanation of why to declare independence.

The United States Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Second Continental Congress meeting at the Pennsylvania State House. The declaration regarded the thirteen states, who were at war with Britain, as thirteen sovereign states no longer under British rule. The declaration was basically a formal explanation that explained why Congress had decided to declare independence from Britain. Because of that event, Pennsylvania State House received the name “Independence Hall”.

Revolutionary War 1775-1783, reasons, outcome

KEYWORDS: American War of Independence, Great Britain vs Thirteen Colonies, the reason being the heavy taxation, taxes->protests->armament->war, allied with France, allied victory, Britain recognised independence, ended all offensive operations.

American Revolutionary War, also known as, the American War of Independence was the 18th-century war between Great Britain and the Thirteen Colonies who had declared independence from Great Britain. The main reasons were the taxes imposed on the colonies. These heavy taxes led to protests which led to armament which led to war. During this war, the Thirteen Colonies were allied with France. The war ended with the allied victory. Britain recognized American independence and ended all offensive operations in America. The allies: Spain got Florida and wanted Gibraltar but didn’t get it, France got only small bits and for the Dutch, this was a lost cause.

Articles of Confederation of 1781

KEYWORDS: an agreement between the 13 states, served as the first constitution, Second Continental Congress, approved between July 1776 and November 1777, came into effect in 1781 (was ratified by all 13 states), independence and sovereignty, a war-time constitution, limited central government, Continental Congress -> Congress of the Confederation.

This was an agreement between the thirteen states. This agreement served as the first constitution of America. The Articles of Confederation were approved by the Second Continental Congress between July 1776 and November 1777. It came into effect in 1781 after being ratified by all 13 states. The main principle in the articles was to preserve independence and sovereignty. These Articles were a war-time constitution with an extremely limited central government. They also named the Continental Congress the Congress of the Confederation.

Constitutional Convention of 1787

KEYWORDS: 15.05-17.09.1787 in Philadelphia State House, supposed to draft changes of the Articles of the Confederation, formed a new government and created a new system of government for more strength, the Constitution of the United States.

Took place from May 15 to September 17, 1787, in Philadelphia State House. The convention was supposed to revise the league of states and the first system of government under the Articles of Confederation. But instead of fixing the existing government, they decided to form a whole new government led by the one and only – George Washington. The aim was to create a stronger central government. They reached an understanding that there should be a totally new system of government, not simply a revised version of the Articles of Confederation, though the last option was the one goal that everyone attended the convention for. So eventually, the Constitution of the United States was signed.

A painting named “Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States” made by Howard Chandler Christy in 1940. https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Scene_at_the_Signing_of_the_Constitution_of_the_United_States.jpg#mw-jump-to-license

US Constitution and the Bill of Rights

KEYWORDS: supreme law, 7 articles at the start, a new system of government (stronger), came into force in 1789, Bill of Rights created in 1789, ratified in 1771, 10 amendments, Anti-Federalists’ objections, more power and freedom to the people.

The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law nowadays. At the start, it had 7 articles. Originally, it created a new system of government that would ensure a stronger central government. The constitution came into force in 1789.
The Bill of Rights was created in 1789 and was ratified in 1771. It comprises ten amendments of the United States Constitution. This bill was written to address the objections raised by Anti-Federalists. These amendments add to the Constitution specific guarantees of personal freedoms and rights, clear limitations on the government’s power and a declaration that all powers not specifically assigned to the Congress are reserved for the states or people.

The role of George Washington

KEYWORDS: political leader, Founding Father, 1st President, commander-in-chief, example, Mr President, 2 terms, the capital city.

George Washington was born in 1732 and died in 1799. He was an American political leader, Founding Father and the first president of the United States of America. George Washington was the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army during the Revolution War. He suffered both great defeats and enjoyed many victories. Though he resented accepting to be the first President of the United States he, in the end, agreed. George Washington set the example for future presidents. He valued authority and also started the tradition that the President should be called Mr President and a President shouldn’t be in the office over 2 terms. Nowadays, the capital city of the USA is named after George Washington.

The portrait of George Washington made by Gilbert Stuart in 1797. https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gilbert_Stuart_Williamstown_Portrait_of_George_Washington.jpg#mw-jump-to-license

The role of Thomas Jefferson

KEYWORDS: Founding Father, DoI primary author, 1st Secretary of State, 2nd Vice President, 3rd President.

Thomas Jefferson was born in 1743 and died in 1826. He was a Founding Father and the primary author of the Declaration of Independence. Though the Declaration of Independence emphasized freedom and rights, Thomas Jefferson himself had many slaves. Thomas Jefferson was also the 1st Secretary of State, 2nd Vice President and the 3rd President of the United States of America.

The official presidential portrait of Thomas Jefferson made by Rembrandt Peale in 1800. https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Official_Presidential_portrait_of_Thomas_Jefferson_(by_Rembrandt_Peale,_1800)(cropped).jpg#mw-jump-to-license

Visual

I chose two videos as my visuals. In my opinion, these are the two most interesting and funniest history-related videos. They are about the American Revolution. The first video is part 1 and the second video is part 2. So, they are connected. I have watched them countless times. Whenever I see them in my YouTube recommendations, I instantly waste another 30 minutes rewatching these videos. They are just so simple and so fast-paced. At the same time, they have humour and animations included. It’s just a wonderful combo of things. Should we have a free lesson in stock, I insist we watch these videos because they give a superb overview of the American Revolution – how it started, how it developed, how it resulted. The videos talk about various events while also introducing the main characters. I cannot stress enough how much I enjoy watching these videos. I chose them because they are so closely related to what we learn and when rewatching, I think I even recognized some events and some people to be in the film “Patriot”.

Essay

The Patriot: a historical failure

“The Patriot” is a 2000 film made in the USA depicting the American Revolutionary War. The film, starring Mel Gibson and Heath Ledger, contains history, drama and action. It is 158 minutes long. “The Patriot” has received fairly mixed feedback, especially about its historical integrity. Regular users have liked the film but most of the film critics have absolutely ravaged the film’s reputation.

One more neutral reviewer has said: “It’s obvious that no one’s going to make a movie that would depict its hero as a proponent of slavery.” (Mitchell, 2000) This quote hints perfectly to some inaccuracies while depicting the 18th-century American society. For example, Native Americans are depicted working as free men. There is also only one man in the whole bunch who shows his racist beliefs and even he eventually comes to respect the only slave in the group. So, slavery in “The Patriot” was shown as “nonexistent in South Carolina and really not that bad” (Von Tunzelmann, 2009).

The film seems very unreal if one thinks about the possibility of these events happening in real life. There are many illogical scenes where the main characters can be seen just breezing through the enemies. So, the fights seem also quite unbelievable and thus the historical value shrinks even more. One extremely critical review has phrased its verdict like this: “Truth is the first casualty of Mel Gibson.” (Von Tunzelmann, 2009) I think that Mel Gibson personally had nothing to do with the script but the script is still historically a failure. Battles and characters are made-up or thoroughly changed composites of several real ones. The cruellest deeds are all made-up as otherwise, the Americans would have not forgotten them. Characters and relations between them are similar to every other action film out there. “The Patriot” has also been named as “more flag-waving rot” (Von Tunzelmann, 2009).

“The Patriot”, while containing lots of action and drama for the average viewers to enjoy the film, is historically a failure. The film depicts unreal fights scenes, partially or completely made-up characters and events, typical relations and character roles. Thus the film is left only with dramatical value and actually plenty of it.

  1. Mitchell, E. 2000. ‘A Gentle Farmer Who’s Good at Violence’, New York Times. Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2000/06/28/movies/film-review-a-gentle-farmer-who-s-good-at-violence.html (Accessed: 13.05.2019)
  2. Von Tunzelmann, A. 2009. ‘The Patriot: more flag-waving rot with Mel Gibson’, The Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2009/jul/22/the-patriot-mel-gibson-reel-history (Accessed: 13.05.2019)

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