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Topic: The Social Environment

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The Social Environment

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Social Environment

ColonialTavern.jpg

The Village Tavern by John Lewis Krimmel

The Social Environment that spawned the Revolution was not that of a Rosy Christian Nation seeking self-governance and liberty so as to follow God's will as conscience dictated but, rather, one that had so much liberty that it had deteriorated into riotous degeneracy. Simply consider that most of the major cities in the colonies - such as Boston - were nothing more than port-of-calls for sailors who had been at sea for several months and you begin to get a clearer picture of life in colonial America.  Every vice imaginable was running unchecked and rampant through most of these cities. The long arm of the British Law was not quite long enough to span the Atlantic, so pretty much anything and everything could happen and usually did. The Quartering Act was actually an attempt to rein in this lawlessness which only succeeded in making matters worse and alerted the Crown that a Revolution was inevitable, allowing them to begin their plans for controlling and winning the war.

There were, literally, Taverns on every corner (of the brothel variety) and most Churches (of the Protestant variety) had a bar next door so that the faithful church goers could have a drink before and after their 'worship' experience (Russell) which, for the Puritans, may have included burning Catholics (or witches?) at the stake (Cath. Ency.) or mutilating Quakers (Farquhar, I, pg. 4) and all the colonies participated in the annual burn-the-Pope-in-effigy celebrations which is not surprising since the infamous Mayflower Compact itself was actually the result of a Mutiny on board (ibid, pg. 2). Of course, there was also the practice of slavery, including white slaves, mostly from Scotland, who had the ill fortune to be homeless or vagabonds summarily packed in the stinking hold of a ship where many of them died during the trip (including children) and were tossed overboard.  The Plymouth Colony (so James Lafond, Real White Trash) worked a dozen of these Duty Boys to death the first winter in the land of the Pilgrim's pride.

TheMayflower.jpg

The Mayflower in Plymouth Harbor by William Halsall

Estimates indicate that most Americans over the age of fourteen consumed about 66 Gallons of Alcohol a year or about the equivalent of a pint of vodka every day. Rumor had it that when the Dutch got to the New World they built Forts and when the Spaniards got here they built Churches but when the English arrived they got their priorities straight and built taverns.  I am of the decided opinion that most Americans spent the entire war drunk off their asses. 

This "torrent of vice" overflowing the streets of America spawned a huge population of unwanted children who had no recourse but a life of homelessness on those very putrid cobblestone streets that crisscrossed the colonies and, eventually, the entire country, from sea to shining sea so that by 1852 there were an estimated 10,000 homeless street urchins in New York City alone (McNeal, pg., 112).

It was this environment that led John Adams to conclude that most Americans deserved death more than they deserved liberty.

DutyBoys.jpg

Duty Boys by  an Unknown Artist



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