Thursday, October 9, 2008

Don't Tread on Me

Do you think you have rebel blood in you? I've just discovered I do. My book club is reading the Pulitzer Prize winning biography of John Adams and to go along with it Lyle and I and the big kids have just finished watching the HBO series based on the book. The beginning of each episode starts with blood-pumping music set to images of Revolutionary war flags with sayings such as, "Don't Tread on Me," and "Unite or Die", and "Appeal to Heaven." Surprisingly, for the first time it really struck me that despite the wigs and tights, the founding fathers were truly rebels. If things didn't swing their way, which often seemed likely, they would have been swinging from the gallows.

Lyle and I wondered if we'd lived in that time if we would have been rebels.

Statements like "Liberty or death" might have seemed a bit extreme to me. I think I would have presented King George with something more like, "Liberty or.....maybe just treat us a little nicer. Whichever is more convenient...."

I love Abigail Adams. I love that she was every bit as much of a rebel as her husband. She wrote to John saying, "You cannot be, I know, nor do I wish to see you, an inactive spectator....We have too many high sounding words, and too few actions that correspond with them." She wanted him right in the fray. No wishy-washiness for this family.

This morning I pulled out my big dusty genealogy binder and found much to my delight ancestors of that time period naming their kids "America" and "Liberty" and "George Washington". How cool is that? No Tory blood here. We were rebels through and through.

And then half of my ancestors went and fought for the Confederacy, rebels of a different sort. I guess I can't expect the ancestors to bat 1000.


Lori Lynn said...

I read this book a few years ago and was so excited to watch the HBO special. It amazes me how our ancestors could communicate and debate in such a logical and passionate fashion. Today's society seems so "dumbed down" in comparison. I love to read historical novels and this book is so great because we still have all those letters that were written between John and Abigail.

On another note, regarding "pulling out that sewing machine", I have to admit that I was motivated to begin sewing when I saw a fellow adoptive mommy make her daughter a beautiful creation. So, maybe it's contagious.


Jen Bay said...

I think one might aspire to bat 1000.... if memory serves... I'm sure it's a typo. I found that I had ancestors that fought against the revolutionaries as well... but they were from Canada, so they couldn't really be held accountable, could they?

Eileen said...

I knew that looked weird! It teaches me to use sports allusions in my writing!

But really, OF COURSE it was a typo!

Lisa said...

No way! Eileen! John is watching this series too! I usually love the HBO docudramas, but these days, I've been way too addicted to the computer to sit with him and watch them...bummer! Now I will have to watch by myself. I loved this post...especially the part about what you would have said to King George (ditto) and also about those pesky confederate relatives. :) Loved it. You funny, woman. funny!!!!



PS Am also jealous that you have a geneaology binder. So jealous. I don't even know my great grandparents names. :(