The American Revolution betrayed

by Justin Raimondo
July 03, 2015
Antiwar.com

As we celebrate Independence Day, honoring the American colonists’ successful fight to be free of the British crown and establish their own sovereign state, it is instructive to note that the US is, today, the greatest enemy of sovereignty on earth. When the British surrendered at Yorktown, the redcoat band played “The World Turned Upside Down,” in recognition of the overthrow of the Old Order and the inauguration of the New. As we enter the Bizarro World of the twenty-first century, however, one notes with a mixture of sadness and outrage that things have been turned on their heads once again, and the Old Order is back with a vengeance.

This historical inversion began in the wake of World War II, when the US emerged as the preeminent world power, taking the title from the British, who were in no position to fulfill its manifold duties. In placing the burden of empire on our shoulders we put history into reverse.

The American Revolution was a war fought for liberty against a distant and tyrannical authority, but it was also a battle for independence – that is, for the right of a people to assert their natural sovereignty against a colonial despot. After the success of the Revolution, the young American republic had to contend with the intrusions of the European powers on North American shores: we were encircled by the British revanchists up in Canada, the French imperialists in Louisiana, and the Spanish testing our boundaries in Florida. Yet we survived by staying out of the intrigues of Europe, and standing aside from the power politics that obsessed the Old World.

While abjuring intervention in the internal affairs of other nations, the Founders gave rhetorical support to the battles of oppressed nations against monarchical aggressors: but there they drew the line. When the Greeks revolted against their Ottoman overlords, in 1821, they sent out an international S.O.S. addressed to the Americans. Secretary of State John Quincy Adams answered their call in a speech delivered on July 4 of that year:

“Let our answer be this – America… in the assembly of nations, has invariably, though often fruitlessly, held forth to them the hand of honest friendship, of equal freedom, of generous reciprocity. She has… without a single exception, respected the independence of other nations, while asserting and maintaining her own. She has abstained from interference in the concerns of others, even when the conflict has been for principles to which she clings.

“Wherever the standard of freedom and independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. She will recommend the general cause, by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example.

“She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself, beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom. The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force. The frontlet upon her brows would no longer beam with the ineffable splendor of freedom and independence; but in its stead would soon be substituted an imperial diadem, flashing in false and tarnished lustre the murky radiance of dominion and power. She might become the dictatress of the world: but she would be no longer the ruler of her own soul…”

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