History of the World: Global Revolution and Australian Genocide

The History of the World Part 6 – Revolution

BBC (2018)

Film Review

Episode 6 focuses mainly on attitudinal changes occurring in the 17th and 18th century that would lead to the overthrow of royal rule in the southern half of North America, France, and Haiti.

The episode links the rise of revolutionary ideas rather simplistically to Galileo’s challenge (attributed to his invention of the telescope in the early 17th century) to official Catholic dogma placing the Earth (rather than the sun) at the center of the solar system. s revolve around the earth. They neglect to mention a Catholic cleric named Nicolaus Copernicus was the first to propose a heliocentric view of the universe 100 years earlier.

The film also oversimplifies the root causes of the US War of Independence. While they accurately depict efforts by Samuel Adams and other wealthy merchants and landowners use of the hated Stamp Tax to stir up the Boston mob, historical evidence suggests their key motivation in declaring independence was George III’s ban on settler expansion into Native American territory west of the Appalachians. As Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz reveals in The Indigenous History of the United States, the main purpose of the Stamp Tax was to finance British troops to evict settlers who were illegally squatting on Native land.

By 1789, Louis XVI had bankrupted the French royal treasury by financing the American rebels. Punitive new taxes on the middle class (the nobility, typically, refused to pay tax) would trigger a mass insurrection that removed the king from power. Yet only seven years after the revolutionaries declared France a republic, the same middle class would allow Napoleon to declare himself emperor of France.

In 1791, inspired by the French Revolution, the slaves of Haiti would revolt, overthrowing their white plantations owners and declaring their independence from France.

One of the longest segments of this episode concerns the British settlement of Australia, following its “discovery” by Captain James Cook. Beginning in 1787, British judges would sentence petty criminals (many of them children) to hard labor in Australia. Thanks to the European “Enlightenment,” it was no longer politically acceptable to hang British poor who stole food to survive.

By 1900, 80% of Australia’s aboriginal population would be wiped out , thanks to colonial policies that allowed British settlers to steal their lands by hunting and massacring them.

The film ends with a bizarre segment extolling Dr Edward Jenner for his role in promoting the use of smallpox vaccine. Historic evidence reveals that inoculation for smallpox first originated in China in 1000 AD and was practiced in Turkey and Africa long before making its way to Europe.

 

 

The Real Cause of the Revolutionary War: Preserving Slavery

The Counter-Revolution of 1776: Black Resistance and the Origins of the United States of America

Professor Gerald Horne

In this lecture about his 2014 book, African American history professor Gerald Horne exposes important events that triggered the so-called War of Independence. He makes a compelling case that the decision of the 13 colonies to declare independence in 1776 was a direct result of George III’s 1775 decision to establish all-black Ethiopian regiments to fight colonial regiments in Virginia (the colony that produced Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and other high profile members of the independence movement). Odd, isn’t it, that white historians neglect to mention this important fact in our high school textbooks?

According to Horne, there was a clear precedent for arming African troops in North America. In the 18th century, both the French (who occupied Quebec) and the Spanish (who occupied Florida) armed escaped slaves to attack the English colonies. Collaboration between the armed Africans and black slaves led to several major slave revolts in the 18th century. Two of the most important were the 1712 slave uprising in Manhattan (backed by the French) and the  1739 Stono’s Revolt in South Carolina (led by a coalition of Spanish armed Africans from St. Augustine Florida and Portuguese-speaking slaves from Angola).

Horne also believes the timing of the 1776 “War of Independence” also related to Britain’s decision to abolish slavery in 1772 – and fears King George would extend the ban on slavery to the 13 colonies.

In summing up, Horne traces how this willingness to go to war over the diabolical (but immensely profitable) institution of slavery would shape the ruthlessly greedy and mean-spirited character of the American nation. Unlike the US, Canada, which never adopted slavery nor fought two wars to preserve it, has made a genuine effort to look after its poor and underprivileged. Horne gives the example of the universal single payer health system.

Horne believes this hidden history also accounts for the special persecution of the descendents of slaves, as opposed to non-US natives with black skin.

There is a very long introduction. The actual talk starts at 9:24.