Saturday, March 11, 2017

Revisionists of the One-Third Thesis

I learned relatively early, perhaps even in high school some 60 years ago, that one-third of the white American colonists supported independence, one-third supported Britain, and one-third were confused moderates.

From this review of a book on the American Revolution comes a counter, arguing that the support for the Revolution was only about one-sixth and:
In their light, the Revolution looks less like a popular uprising than a coup d’etat. The always-mystifying questions of how a band of ragtag rebels dared challenge the mightiest martial power on the planet and how they succeeded in doing so loom even more mystifyingly in the light of such modest popular support. And the role of coercion and violence in the maintenance of the war effort seem more than ever in need of serious examination.
Looking at the Revolution in the context of modern use of violence, maybe one-sixth is more accurate.  Certainly a lot of revolts seem to have been the work of minorities (i.e., the "Troubles" in Ulster, Tunisia, Libya, Syria, etc. 

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