Monday, August 15, 2016

Why I am Interested in the Revolutionary War Period of History

I grew up just outside the village of Suffern, in the Town of Ramapo, in Rockland County, N.Y.
In John Suffern's tavern, George Washington had his headquarters more than once, with  generals Lafayette and Clinton also present.  Aaron Burr had been the commander of the garrison of troops in present day Hillburn, N.Y., guarding the Ramapo Pass, which was a 14-mile land route through the Hudson Highlands.  Rochambeau's army, plus other continental army and militia soldiers marched down the current Route 202/Haverstraw Road--about 50 yards from the house I grew up in.  In addition, Stony Point, in northern Rockland County, is the site of a winning battle that was led by Anthony Wayne.

In light of the politics of today, it is very informative and a stark contrast to read about the values and virtues of our founding fathers and why they fought--first and foremost among them is George Washington, the very personification of what it meant to be an American, with Adams, Hamilton, Jefferson, and so on, right behind him.  As well, in light of racism in America today, I find it enlightening to learn about the attitudes of the various founding fathers regarding slavery.   It is much more varied and interesting than you think.

As well, so many people like to mouth-off about what they insist the U.S. Constitution says/means, and I end up thinking that many of them lack a sufficient understanding of the history that led to the Constitution.  The Declaration, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights did not suddenly appear from the abstract thought of philosophers sitting in an ivory tower somewhere.  Rather, to understand the founding documents, one must understand the history of the life experiences, thinking, and vested interests of the developers of those documents. That history is an important aid in thinking critically about all of the political issues of today.

In addition, I find the stories about our Founding Fathers as military, political, diplomat, family, and civic leaders to be outstanding case studies for learning about what it means to be a leader.

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