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July 04, 2011
Revolutions Are Messy

8th Grade US History remains a cardboard reflection of the reality of history. On the 235th birthday of the United States, a whole lot of supposed idealism that lead to the Declaration wasn't quite nearly so ideal. It also underscores that the United States really isn't a democracy but a Republic. Many of the founders understood democracy's failings as they themselves had exploited them.

On May 1, 1776, the people of Pennsylvania voted "no" to independence. Sam and John Adams then set about to undermine and overthrow the validly elected state government of Pennsylvania. William Hogeland chronicles the events leading up to this day in 1776 in Declaration: The Nine Tumultuous Weeks When America Became Independent, May 1-July 4, 1776.

I'm constantly reminded of this chapter of history on two fronts. First, Adam Savage tweeted today, "When I read about the vitriol of Washington's cabinet. How Adams, Jefferson & Hamilton FOUGHT, it makes me feel better about things nowadays." When one looks closer one finds that in most arenas, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Second, as a person who tends to lead changes in society, I run into those who have an idealism that no compromise or means that isn't ideologically pure is acceptable. Those nine weeks and the amazing document show that some means that don't match ideals are often the only way to achieve a greater goal.

It's hard to argue with 235 years of prosperity and expanding freedom.

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