Current US Political Strife Holds Strong Similarities to Divisions During the American Revolution
More than 200 years after independence, the United States is fractured on how to move forward as a country
With each passing day, it seems that the United States fractures a little bit more down party lines of political affiliation. Seemingly more than ever, lines are being drawn in the sand and few are budging from their entrenchments. As these divisions continue to grow, it’s getting harder to ignore the political similarities of today compared with what happened during the American Revolution.
When North American colonists sought to shed themselves of English rule and oversight, they quickly split into two camps — the loyalists (those loyal to the Crown but expected eventual independence for their fealty) and the patriots (those seeking self-governance and independence for England). While the political agendas from the two eras are obviously apples and oranges, there are some striking parallels.
Loyalists wanted to continue things the way they were; seeing proposed changes and growth as a threat to their way of being. They were also champions of law and order, even housing British soldiers in their homes when they were sent over to quell unrest. If any protests were to occur, they were expected to be peaceful and respectful.
When it came to chaos and the power of the mob, loyalists were unequivocally frightened as such behavior ran counter to the order they expected in life and society. In particular, they saw “the mob” as a surging crescendo, which would ultimately lead to tyranny if left unchecked. They failed to recognize that it was a means to an end in a desire for change and not a product of greed and destruction.
Loyalists also believed that things were generally in good shape. What needed improvement was not dire and could be achieved organically by patience and natural progression. Trying to force change was a desire of the radical — borne out of self-serving interests that would ultimately wreak havoc.
Democrats and Republicans are far apart, both ideologically and in tolerance for the other, which has left little room for bipartisanship. The upcoming presidential election will only serve to strengthen those divisions more. With the country at a crossroads and in the midst of very uncertain times, the similarities of what is going on today versus the Revolution is both intriguing and sobering, and leaves many wondering what the future may hold.