“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Preamble of the Declaration of Independence.
Yesterday Americans celebrated the 234th anniversary of the approval of the wording of the Declaration of Independence (not its signing as is commonly believed). We celebrate this as the beginning of our country, although there were many years of hard fighting to go before the United States of America existed as separate from mother England.
In spite of our problems as a country, it is extraordinary that we have been as successful as we have been at living up to these principles of all “men created equal” with equal right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And I’m filled with pride at how well we have done, though it has taken 234 years to get this far and we still have a way to go. Discrimination is still practiced, I’m sad to say.
But today for Risky Regencies, I’m thinking about what it must have felt like to those “colonists” who considered themselves Englishmen and suddenly found themselves forming a separate nation. They could not have known that this country would succeed. How much trust could they put in this fledgling government? It must have been a very exciting but hard time for all.
During the Regency, in addition to the Napoleonic War, England fought in America again, in what we call The War of 1812. This time the United States of America declared war on England for impressing American citizens into the Royal Navy and for England’s military support of Native Americans who were preventing American expansion into the Northwest. Ironically it was this war that really solidified America’s independence from England. After America’s victory, England respected America’s sovereignty.
A few years ago I attended the annual Battle of Bladensburg (of the War of 1812) reenactment at Jefferson Patterson Park in Maryland with Mary Blayney (see her interview here July 18) and I took a photo of this authentic British reenactor!
I wonder how many people in the US still had split loyalties. Were they all solidly American, as we would like to believe? Or did some of them hope the War of 1812 would put this country again under English rule? One also wonders what would have happened if Wellington had been sent to the US instead of Spain.
Another question. Why aren’t more Regency Historicals using the War of 1812 in their stories?