The patriot

Pildiotsingu George washington tulemus
George Washington in his commander uniform

http://www.ushistory.org/valleyforge/washington/george2.html

Rationale:

I chose the painting of George Washington as my visual because I think he is definitely one of the most known individuals of that era. Even though he was a hypocrite with owning slaves and advocating for liberty, his deeds are still remarkable. In the picture we can see him standing near a battlefield standing straight with a firm look in his eyes. Washington is holding a spyglass and does not pay attention to his horse who is clearly upset about something. The murky environment in which he is depicted tells us that he lived during a difficult time. There were constant wars and the future was always uncertain. Standing beside the battlefield sends the message that he fought many wars and the fancy outfit indicates to his high prestige achieved in battles. Despite the conditions, his calm look betrays that he knows he has done everything to help win the war. He knows his tactics are solid and that the enemy has to surrender because they cannot compete with his strategic thinking. The spyglass in his hand might mean that he is already planning his next step and thinks about several turns ahead of him. Again conveying that he was a great military leader. Him ignoring his uneasy horse can tell that he did not care if there were many who were incredulous and criticised him. George Washington still kept on doing what he thought was the best. In the end, he could prove the skeptics wrong.

Critical response to film “The Patriot”

“The Patriot” is a film about American Revolutionary War. It tells a thrilling story how in every American’s heart, there’s an unabated wish for independence. It shows how far people are willing to go for their cause. The movie does a great job in capturing the audience’s attention with flashy fighting scenes and constant action. However, it gives quite a bigoted view of the actual historical events and characters of the Revolutionary War.

Firstly, the main character, Benjamin Martin, who is based on Francis Marion, is shown in an overly positive light.
“In the movie, Martin is a very sweet and caring man, but history shows that Martin was actually known for killing many Indians and raping his female slaves.  ” (1) This glorification of the main character is probably apparent due to marketing strategy. Already in ancient Greece it was argued that it is better to live a glorious and short life, rather than a long and tedious one. Ordinary people enjoyed reading about heroes who have done marvelous deeds. They liked hearing about adventurers in order to escape from their less intriguing lives and be able to dream of something greater. In my opinion it is also a case in our society. Often, people are stuck to their mundane jobs with no excitement in it. Similarly to their ancestors a few thousand years ago, they want to make up for their boring life by experiencing another hero’s magnificent one. It gives them hope that there is a possibility to succeed and live a perfect life. Something to strive for. However, when the hero is portrayed as a regular person, or with an even worse than average personality, it strips away the viewer’s hope for ideal. People usually do not wish to watch something that makes them feel desperate and creates the feeling that life is meaningless. (Except for realists). Thus,
if Benjamin Martin would have been shown as coldhearted as the person he was based on, less people would have gone to watch the movie and less money would have been made off of it .

Furthermore, an additional disturbing historical inaccuracy occurred with reference to slavery. ” In the movie, 5 shillings for every month of service and freedom were given to slaves who fought for the Continental Army. This did not happen during the war.  ” (2) That false fact might have been put to the film to idealize the Americans even more. There were various instances when the Americans were described as utterly pure whilst the English were shown in derogatory light. In my opinion, it gives the viewer a false understanding of history. In reality the slaves’ conditions did not improve until the Civil War. If we were to believe that the Americans were willing to free slaves right away, we create an illusion. An illusion that gives credit incorrectly to someone who has not deserved it.
With this logic we might as well say that for example colonists never killed the indigenous people. The point is that it teaches us a naive worldview which is not going to be beneficial in any real-life situation and will only make us look foolish.

To conclude, “The Patriot” is a film worth watching for its interesting plot. However, the historical facts in the movie should definitely be taken with a grain of salt. It would be a great idea to do a little research about the period after watching the movie. That way, the inaccuracies can be overlooked and an overview of the era would still be obtained.

The sources:

  1. http://www.tasteofcinema.com/2016/the-10-most-historically-inaccurate-movies-of-all-time/2/
  2. http://thepatriotassianment.weebly.com/historical-accuracy-of-the-patriot.html

The Patriot notions:

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

1756-1763 In Europe it was the 7 years war and at the same time in America the British participated in the war against the French. The Spanish, Brits and the colonists won the war against French and drove them from the continent. The war was beneficial for colonists as their economy flourished at the time. However, it was devastating for Britain (debt doubled) so they had to force high taxes onto their colonies including America. Also, since the beginning of the war, there was a constant loathing against eachother between the colonists and British because the British were arrogant towards the colonists and disparaged them. In return, the colonists were hostile against the Brits and the civilians did not want to accommodate the English soldiers.

Boston Tea Party of 1773:

A political protest at Boston Massachusetts. Britain had imposed taxation without representation (Colonists payed taxes but had no political voice in British Parliament). To make the matters worse, the Boston Massacre enraged the colonists even more. In order to defy British rule, the colonists sank 342 of British tea in the harbour. Even though the British had repealed the other taxes, they refused to do it with tea one as colonists drank a lot of tea.

Declaration of Independence  July 4, 1776:

Congress asked Thomas Jefferson to write a document in order to declare why they needed to separate from Britain. Declaration stated the right to be free, to seek happiness etc. If government does not protect citizens rights, there’s a right to form a new government. Ideas from John Locke. Declaration is important because it should state the core values of USA’s government even today.

Revolutionary War 1775-1783, reasons, outcome:

American 13 colonies’ patriots fighting for indpendence and in the end attaining it. Already 10  prior years had been leading up to this. In 1774 Continental Congress including representatives from different colony’s states came together to discuss the situation but did not think of independence yet. In 1775 the skirmishes in Lexingtion and Concord had already kicked off and from there the war grew further. The French decided to help the colonists in 1778 which meant it was no longer a civil war. The Spanish also joined in 1779 with colonists. In 1783 with the Treaty of Paris, Britain signed peace treaties with French and Spanish and recognized America as an independent country.

Articles of Confederation of 1781:

An agreement to serve as the first consitution. It was approved in 1776-1777. Came into force on March 1st 1781. It was to preserve independency and sovereignty of the states. The initial government turned to be ineffective so it was replaced by a new system in 1789 with federal government instead of the government under the articles.

Constitutional Convention of 1787:

The initial Articles of Confederation had to be modified because it gave congress little power. USA was seen as “a third-rate republic” by Europe and by 1786 they were more or less bankrupt. Troubles between the colonies and congress unable to repay debt caused protests. On 25th May the Continental Congress came together to make amendments. It was soon realised that the system needed to be changed completely. At that time G.Washington was also chosen to be the president for his deeds (writing the convention and winning wars)

US Constitution and the Bill of Rights:

The Bill of Right means the first 10 amendments to the consitution. They were written by James Madison. It’s Based on earlier important documents. Bill of Rights was the result of debates between Federalists, who didn’t think it’s necessary, and anti-federalists, who wanted power to remain within state and local governments.

The role of George Washington:

1732-1799. Commander in chief of the Continental Army (1775-83) and served two terms as the first U.S. president. He fought in French and Indian war as a recruit and in the Revolution became national hero by leading forces to victory. In 1787 wrote the Convention that helped write the U.S constitution. When becoming the first U.S president, he was aware of the fact that his actions in presidency determine how the following presidents will operate. This is why he worked hard to set an example of fairness, prudence and integrity. He favoured neutrality in foreign matters (something that USA has done ever since).

The role of Thomas Jefferson:

1743-1826. Wrote declaration of Independence. Governor of Virginia during the revolution. U.S minister to France and USA secretary of sate. Vice president under John Adams and 3rd president of the USA. Significant act as a president was purchasing Louisiana Territory from France. This doubled the size of the U.S. Corps of Discovery was also conducted during his presidency which explored the Western areas of Northern America. Jefferson tried to keep America away from Napoleonic wars but it failed and hurt USA’s economy instead.

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